Living 50 Plus Magazine August/September2021

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If you’re thinking about selling your home. Maybe you’re retiring, downsizing or a major life event has made you consider a move. MarMac Real Estate has unique training and experience in helping home buyers and sellers in your situation.

Why ask a MarMac Real Estate REALTOR® to assist you? MarMac Real Estate understands that the decision to sell can be difficult.

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Selling a home can be an emotional time, potentially involving other life decisions. A MarMac Real Estate REALTOR® understands the issues facing older adults. By taking a no-pressure approach, we can help you navigate your choices and may be able to suggest alternatives that help you stay in your home.

It’s important to have a network of professionals, and that’s exactly what we’ve built over the years. Whether it’s tax counselors, financial advisors, or estate planners who can help you understand the financial consequences of selling your home, to trade contractors to get your home prepared for showings, estate sale organizers, and senior moving specialists - we’re connected to those that can help you.

We take the time needed to make you feel comfortable with the complex selling process. A MarMac Real Estate Professional understands the demands a sale can make on you, and works hard to minimize them. They will tailor the marketing process to your specific needs and be there when you need them. MarMac Real Estate will be with you throughout the entire process. A MarMac Real Estate REALTOR® is interested in looking out for your best interest through all aspects of your transition, not just the sale of your home. We’ve invested the time and resources to be knowledgeable before, during, and after your transition.

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Visit us at HOW TO REACH US For story ideas or comments: Bruce McLellan 256-340-2431 For distribution questions: Rebecca Braun 256-340-2414

For advertising questions: Baretta Taylor 256-340-2370 For website questions: Daniel Buford 256-340-2408 Published by Decatur Daily Tennessee Valley Media

ON THE COVER: Edith Garner works with Adam Vargas, 4, during the summer reading program at the Maxine Ellison Decatur Youth Enrichment Center. Photo by John Godbey. 4 Decatur Living 50 Plus

DID YOU KNOW? The benefits of leisure activities extend beyond beating boredom



eisure activities may be widely viewed as fun ways to fill up free time, but the benefits of leisure activities extend beyond beating boredom. A 2011 analysis published in the journal BBA Molecular Basis of Disease found that leisure activities have a positive impact on cognitive function and dementia. The analysis, conducted by researchers with the Aging Research Center in Stockholm who examined various studies regarding the relationship between certain activities and cognitive function, defined leisure activity as the voluntary use of free time for activities outside the home. After retirement, leisure time constitutes a large part of many retirees’ lives and finding ways to fill that time is more beneficial than merely avoiding boredom. The researchers behind the study concluded that the existing research is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions regarding the effects of certain types of leisure activities on the risk for dementia and cognitive decline, though they did note that multi-domain cognitive training has the potential to improve cognitive function in healthy older adults and slow decline in affected individuals. A multi-domain approach to cognitive training involves memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and map reading, among other activities. Aging adults who embrace activities that require the use of such skills may find that they’re not only finding stimulating ways to fill their free time but increasing their chances of long-term cognitive health as well.

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Hummingbirds are fun to watch and easy to attract by using feeders or by planting flowers in your yard.



ummingbirds are a beautiful and exciting part of Alabama summers. Hummingbird feeder etiquette is not widely known, but it is an important part of caring for the hummingbirds in and around the back yard.

WHITE GRANULATED SUGAR Alabama Cooperative Extension System Forestry and Wildlife Specialist, Wesley Anderson, said it is important to use white granulated sugar when making sugar water. “Only use white granulated sugar to make sugar water,” Anderson said. “Honey is not easily digestible for 6 Decatur Living 50 Plus

hummingbirds, and they will die from lack of nutrition. It could also encourage fungal growth that could harm the birds.” He said powdered sugar, although white, contains cornstarch to prevent caking and clumping. The additive isn’t good for the birds and can encourage fermentation of the sugar water, so it should be avoided. “White sugar has been purified to remove all of the molasses, whereas brown sugar has not,” Anderson said. “Molasses contains iron. Even though the amounts of iron in brown sugar and other foods are not harmful— and may even be helpful—to people, hummingbirds would consume enough iron from a brown sugar solution that it would be harmful.”

RESCUING HUMMINGBIRDS Many individuals encounter hummingbirds seemingly tangled in spiderwebs. Anderson said hummingbirds will actually use spider silk while constructing their nests. Larger spiders may even feed on hummingbirds. “If you come across a hummingbird stuck in a spider web and it’s still alive, you can remove it,” he said. “Remove all of the spider silk and allow it to rest. The rescuer may also offer sugar water—white granulated only—in a small cap or lid.” If the bird appears injured or doesn’t fly away, Wesley suggests finding a licensed wildlife rehabber. It is against federal law to rehabilitate an injured hummingbird without a license. Anderson cautions individuals to be mindful of the spider that wove the web. He said in Alabama, black and brown widows are the only medically significant species in Alabama that may entangle a hummingbird. For that reason, always exercise caution when removing a bird. MORE INFORMATION For more information about hummingbirds, read the Extension publication Hummingbirds in Alabama available at

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RED DYE Anderson said it is best to avoid red dye altogether. “The advice to remove red dye from solutions came out when Red Dye No. 2 was in use in the 1970s. It was a known carcinogen,” he said. “At that time there was concern it was having detrimental effects on hummingbirds, but no scientific studies were conducted. Red Dye No. 2 has since been pulled from the market.” Today, many gardeners and homeowners use Red Dye No. 40 in many foods, drugs, tattoo ink and cosmetics. Anderson said while it is labeled safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use and consumption, it is important to consider the size of a hummingbird. “Common hummingbird species, like the rubythroated, only weigh about three grams—or the combined weight of three paper clips,” he said. “They are incredibly tiny in comparison to humans, so the amount of dye they would consume would far exceed any levels humans would consume.” Since there isn’t a clear picture of the negative side effects that could cause, it is best to avoid the dye. Anderson recommends using colorful feeders and planting red flowers near the feeders to increase the number of hummingbirds that visit the feeder.

Decatur Living 50 Plus 7

MORE grandparents called upon to raise grandchildren

More and more grandparents are stepping into parental roles for their grandkids.



lder adults whose children have grown up often look forward to the next stages in life, which may involve retirement, downsizing and enjoying visits with their grandchildren. A growing number of aging adults may find themselves playing a key role in their grandchildren’s lives. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2.7 million grandparents across the country are stepping into parental roles for their grandkids. Some assist their adult children while others have become the primary caregivers. Factors like military deployment, illness, incarceration,

8 Decatur Living 50 Plus

Over 2.7 million grandparents across the country are stepping into parental roles for their grandkids.

and substance abuse are forcing grandparents to take on responsibilities they may have thought were over. PBS reports that the number of grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States rose by 7 percent in recent years. Although raising the next generation can bring about many rewards, including security, sense of purpose, a deeper relationship with family, and social interaction, there are many obstacles as well. That includes the financial strain that raising children can place on individuals unprepared for the cost of childrearing. Census figures also show that about one-fifth of grandparents caring for children have incomes that fall below poverty level. Grandparents may be rusty concerning safety requirements and equipment now needed to care for grandchildren as well. As grandparents navigate the unexplored waters of raising grandchildren, there are certain factors they need to consider. LEGAL ADVICE OR ADVOCACY Certain circumstances may require grandparents to seek legal help so they can raise their grandchildren in lawful ways. If there is neglect, divorce, arrest, or other factors, it may be a smart idea for grandparents to seek the help of an attorney or advocacy group to clarify their legal rights and ensure access to grandchildren.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF Raising grandchildren can be emotionally taxing, especially if poor circumstances led to the grandchildren being placed with family. It is crucial to recognize feelings and one’s own health when caring for others. A grandparent who is exhausted or overwhelmed may not offer the appropriate care. Emphasizing one’s own mental and physical health is essential, as is getting help and advice when it’s most needed. The organization AARP recommends compiling a list of support services, such as respite care providers, counselors and support groups. Many factors are pushing grandparents to take on responsibilities they may have thought were over.

In addition, grandparents may need certain legal documents, such as a power of attorney, citizenship papers, adoption records, or consent forms. GET EDUCATED The rules have changed since grandparents raised their own children. It is important they learn as much as possible on child safety guidelines. Consumer advocacy groups or pediatricians can help explain how guidelines have changed. New furniture and toys that meet current safety guidelines may have to replace older, unsafe items.

GRANDCHILDREN WILL HAVE FEELINGS, TOO Children, whether they are old enough to understand or not, may react to change differently. Some children may act out while others may grow detached. Grandparents can focus on providing stable environments and offer support and consistency even if grandchildren are withdrawing or pushing their loved ones away with words or actions. Raising grandchildren can be complicated, but it has become more prevalent. It can take time for these new family units to find their grooves. More information is available at in their GrandFamilies Guide.

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Decatur Living 50 Plus 9

The good news is that more people are beating cancer, but life after successful cancer treatment may require an adjustment period





ancer survival rates have improved dramatically over the last half century. According to data from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, fiveyear survival rates for all cancers in the United States increased from just over 50 percent between 1970 and 1977 to 67 percent between 2007 and 2013. The improved survival rates mean more and more people are living five years or more after being treated for cancer. Some patients have trouble readjusting to life after diagnosis as they wonder how to care for themselves after overcoming their disease. In fact, the National Cancer Institute notes that many cancer survivors acknowledge having lots of information and support during their illness while also noting that life after treatment posed some new questions and concerns.

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Life after successful cancer treatment may require an adjustment period, but the following are a handful of strategies that can improve quality of life and pave the way for a smooth transition into life as a cancer survivor. · Ditch the bad habits. Even if a survivor’s bad habits were not believed to be contributors to their disease, that does not mean they should continue to be a part of life after treatment. The NCI notes that researchers have long since linked smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption to cancer. If you quit these habits during treatment, stay the course even after you’ve beaten cancer. Doing so may reduce your risk for cancer recurrence and will lower your risk for other diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. · Eat healthy. The American Cancer Society urges cancer survivors to eat at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Fat also is vital to overall health, but the ACS

It’s vital to get back to a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk for various illnesses.

urges survivors to consume healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish such as salmon and some nuts. When choosing proteins, opt for those that are low in saturated fat, such as fish, lean meat and eggs. Choose healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads, over processed products. Processed carbs like white bread have most of their fiber, vitamins and minerals removed during processing. If your carbs are primarily processed foods, you may

suffer from nutrient deficiencies. · Get back to a healthy weight. The Mayo Clinic notes that many people lose or gain weight during cancer treatment. Regardless of which way you went, it’s vital to get back to a healthy weight, which can reduce your risk for various illnesses. · Exercise regularly. Take it slow when returning to physical activity after cancer treatment, but know that staying active has myriad benefits. According to the NCI, recent reports suggest that staying active after cancer can help reduce the risk for recurrence. In addition, the Mayo Clinic notes that evidence overwhelmingly supports the notion that exercise benefits the heart, lungs and other systems of the body. Caring for yourself after successful cancer treatment may be marked by some new challenges. Various strategies can help people who have overcome the disease live long, healthy lives after treatment.

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Decatur Living 50 Plus 11


Bill Crouch, working at a build site in Hartselle, estimates he has helped build more than 25 homes for those in need. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]


Sam Beadle, right, laughs as volunteers joke while building a Habitat for Humanity house in Hartselle. Beadle, 68, is one of 10 core volunteers for Habitat, most of whom are older than 60. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

By EMILY GRIFFITH Living 50 Plus


abitat for Humanity volunteer Sam Beadle grew up in a low-income family, so he understands the importance of a home. As the ninth out of 10 kids in a threeroom home, he knows what families in the Habitat program are going through. That makes his efforts with the program even more meaningful. 12 Decatur Living 50 Plus

Sam Beadle installs siding in a Habitat for Humanity house in Hartselle. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

Sam Beadle, right, and Keith Graham install vinyl siding on a Habitat for Humanity house in Hartselle. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

Bill Crouch works at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Hartselle. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

“I enjoy giving back to these people who need a place to stay for their family,” Beadle said. Beadle and Bill Crouch are two retirees among the 10 core skilled workers that consistently work at the Habitat build sites and provide their expertise to less-experienced volunteer groups helping out. Eight of those 10 workers are over the age of 60. Habitat for Humanity accepts volunteers to build houses for families trying to create a

Sam Beadle, working on a home in Hartselle, said “the biggest thing about Habitat is that we’re giving back something to families who have a need.” [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

better lifestyle. From the foundation to the landscaping, volunteers do it all. “They are the backbone of our construction, we couldn’t build without them,” said Landis Griffin, executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County. Beadle, a 68-year-old retired salesperson, began working with Habitat even before his retirement. He was introduced to Habitat through First Bible Church in 2016 and has been involved ever since. He enjoys the work, but most importantly, he enjoys giving back to his community. “I think the biggest thing about Habitat is that we’re giving back something to families who have a need,” he said. The income limits for families that are eligible for the Habitat homes are based on family size. For a one-

person home, the maximum income is $2,210 a month. Prospective homeowners have to learn about homeownership and budgeting, put in volunteer hours with the program and agree to a 30-year, no-interest mortgage. Owning a home is a landmark event for many people, Beadle said. He loves helping people reach this “pinnacle” of their lives. His love for children stems from his abundance of siblings. His favorite part of the build is watching the children run through their future home claiming bedrooms and exclaiming their excitement. Beadle’s grandfather was a carpenter and taught his son, who then passed on the skills to Beadle when he was young. He has put his carpentry knowledge to use throughout his life, even remodeling his own home in Ohio. STAYING ACTIVE Not only is the work with Habitat emotionally rewarding, but physically as well. Beadle said the work keeps him active during a time when many of his friends sit on the couch watching TV. He encourages his friends and family to get involved for their own well-being and that of others. “I think anyone who is healthy enough should give it a try,” Beadle said. Crouch, 64, has been “giving it a try” since the 1990s, serving on the weekends when he wasn’t working as an engineer for Tennessee Valley Authority. Crouch, who retired in 2015, estimates he has helped build more than 25 homes for those in need. “Living in a house myself, I understand the importance of having something that you can call your own home,” Crouch said. His father taught him basic building skills when he was a young boy, and he has been putting those

skills to the test with Habitat for Humanity. He said his mother showed him how to look out for your neighbors and serve your community, and he has followed her lead his entire life. “It was obvious to me that there was a need there, and I had the skills for doing it, and I wanted to help people,” Crouch said. By volunteering his skills to Habitat for Humanity, Crouch feels that he is helping the world by being productive. Three mornings a week, Beedle and Crouch venture out into the community — raking, hammering, and sawing for a cause. The activity aspect of Habitat is important to Crouch as well. He read about the importance of resistance exercise for retired individuals and appreciates the abundance of it on the build sites. According to Medical News Today, studies show that resistance exercise can prevent age-related processes such as muscle weakness, mobility loss, and even premature mortality. “It’s a great place to keep yourself active,” Crouch said. “It’s very important for retired people to have activity.” The core volunteers forge a bond through serving the community, working, sweating and laughing together. Crouch said he loves walking into a store and recognizing people that he works with. He loves the camaraderie he feels throughout the community, from the build site to the grocery store. The work is not all physically demanding, however. Beadle said that anyone can help. Whether it’s passing nails or just encouraging the workers, the Habitat program can use anyone and everyone on the sites. Those interested in getting involved can contact Griffin at (256) 340-9609. Decatur Living 50 Plus 13



ou are what you eat,” or so the saying goes. The food used to fuel the body has a significant impact on the amount of energy a person has throughout the day. While it’s true that people need food to convert to energy to complete day-to-day tasks, the amount of energy can vary depending on an individual’s eating and drinking decisions. From the start of the day, it’s vital to make food choices that don’t bring about a sluggish feeling. Katie Funderburk, an Alabama Extension specialist and registered dietician, looks at a few food and drink options that help give individuals the necessary energy throughout the day. “Smart food choices can make a big difference in

14 Decatur Living 50 Plus

your energy levels, ability to focus, and overall mood,” Funderburk said. “Plan ahead to make sure you’re eating plenty of energy-boosting whole foods rather than relying on the quickest grab-and-go options like fast food or vending machine snacks. Those can often be high in added sugars and cause an energy slump after eating.” BREAKFAST Breakfast is an essential part of any day, whether at 6 a.m. or 3 p.m., depending on life and work schedules. It’s understandable that some mornings are actionpacked and can feel like a whirlwind as parents get ready for work and get the kids to school. However, to power through the morning hours without feeling sleepy, a few scrambled eggs and some fruit will help jumpstart the day. That morning cup of coffee isn’t necessarily bad but remember that many store-bought or specialty coffee drinks are high in calories and added sugars. It’s best to

start with black coffee and then add milk, creamer, honey or sugar. Whether a coffee drinker or not, try to drink a big glass of water in the morning. Water will help metabolism, which is essential for the body to get energy throughout the day. It may be tempting to reach for an energy drink or something with sugar to get rolling in the morning, but it’s important to think about the amount of sugar many of these drinks contain. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drinks high in sugar can actually make individuals feel tired and sleepy. Drinking lots of water will also fight against dehydration, which can lead to fatigue. LUNCH After powering through the first part of the day, it is time for lunch. Making good lunch choices could be the difference between having lots of energy throughout the end of the workday or feeling exhausted when it’s time to go home. Look for something high in fruits and vegetables. They’re high in fiber, which helps the stomach feel full for longer, and rich in healthy carbohydrates for an energy boost throughout the afternoon. Several Live Well Recipes like the Balsamic Roasted Turkey Salad or the Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad pack that punch. If a salad isn’t a preferred lunch option, try the Turkey Spinach Wraps. No matter what is on the menu for lunch, try to find something with lots of fruits or veggies and low in added sugar. SNACKS Sometimes the stretch between lunch and clockout time can feel a bit long, and the stomach may begin growling from hunger again. This can be a tempting time to run to reach for a bag of chips or a handful of candy. But be strong. Funderburk has a few more ideas that may help make that midday hunger attack a bit more bearable without causing end-of-the-day sleepiness. Try bringing bell pepper, baby carrots, broccoli, or celery in a bag for moments like this.

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As an added bonus, reach in that lunch box or refrigerator for Live Well Alabama’s Spinach Dip or the Creamy Cucumber Dill Dip. The veggies and dip are a healthy snack and an energy boost while finishing out the day. DINNER OR SUPPER The workday is over, and the family is at home. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for energy to take kids to an evening school event, meet friends for a gathering or chase a toddler around the house. While dinner or supper may traditionally be the last meal of the day, it doesn’t mean it can’t give a shot of energy to get through the final push of our day. Live Well Alabama’s Chicken and Broccoli Bake combines several energy-packed foods that can help finish the day with a spark, and also may have some leftover for lunch the next day. Also try the Sheet Pan Tilapia with Asparagus from Live Well Alabama for an easy, one-pan lean protein and veggie dinner. LIVE WELL ALABAMA For more Live Well Alabama recipes or tips for overall nutrition or exercise, visit You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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Decatur Living 50 Plus 15

A few of Terry Carver’s finished products are displayed at his home in Decatur. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK Terry Carver shapes a wooden bowl. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

By TIM NAIL Living 50 Plus


hen Terry Carver retired four years ago, he didn’t want to spend all of his time relaxing. “I just like to stay busy,” said Carver, now 69. “I don’t like to sit around and do nothing in the daytime.” So, after a career in the U.S. Air Force and as a network operator for a Huntsville software company, he took 16 Decatur Living 50 Plus

TERRY CARVER TAKES UP A CRAFTY PASTIME AT 69 up woodturning as his new hobby. And after four years, Carver estimates he’s created over 500 writing pens, more than 200 bowls and about eight cutting boards out of wood ranging from black walnut to cedar. Woodturning is the art of using handheld chisels in combination with a lathe to make crafts that are symmetrically shaped around a rotating axis. For Carver, the interest originated with a friend of his, James Pruett, who had a history of woodcarving. “(Pruett) built tables, furniture, then he got into bowl turning and pens,” Carver recalled. “He was in Hawaii, and he turned wood out of koa wood, sold the products in Hawaii and had a contract with the governor to sell his pens. I always watched him do that, so when I retired … I went and bought all my equipment and just started playing with it.”

Pruett, now 86, lived in Decatur for nine years and moved away in the 1970s, but before leaving he met a 16-year-old Carver, who was acquainted with one of Pruett’s daughters. Pruett said he’s been a friend to Carver ever since, but it wasn’t until 2017 that Carver connected with him to learn his woodturning techniques. Carver called Pruett shortly after retiring from software company SAIC based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. He said he spent about two weeks with Pruett on two separate occasions, observing and imitating how his friend moved through the process. “I had a good tutor,” Carver said. “He walked in one day and took a piece of wood and started turning it. Then he said, ‘Here’s how you use the tool. You do it.’ He stood there and watched me, guiding me along the way, and that’s how I learned how to do it.”

Terry Carver works at his home’s backyard workshop in Decatur. [JERONIMO NISA PHOTO]

The two worked with pens during Carver’s initial visit to learn woodturning but have since dabbled in other projects like segmented bowls after Pruett learned the craft by taking classes. Pruett, who now lives in Tucson, Arizona, said, “He’s become quite good at it. He was a quick learner, a good student.” To shape pens, Carver begins with what he calls a “pen blank,” a cube of wood with a small hole he’s drilled in the center, which he places on the medallion on his lathe. The medallion whittles the blank into a tubular, penshaped body. Carver then takes the components of the pen and prepares them for assembly into a complete pen. Carver said making his projects takes practice to avoid breakages. He uses a mallet to hammer pen components together, but striking the pen too hard can split the wood used for the body. For bowls, he uses what’s known as a “waste block” placed in a bowl in progress while turning it on the lathe that prevents wood from being wasted. While more uncommon, another challenge is with cracks forming during the turning process. Carver said he is almost always able to recover cracked wood to finish a project using clear wood glue.

“When you glue something with wood glue, you’ll break the board before you break the glue,” he said. “Eventually I’ll go back and sand it all down and clean it up.” Formation of cracks depends on the type of wood used, he said. He noted mesquite as one example of a tough wood he’s never run into cracking when using. “I’ve only had two bowls that I know of that I’ve busted in half,” he recalled. “I was turning them on the lathe, and they busted in half and went flying everywhere, so I just picked them up and put them in the burn pile.” WOOD WITH SENTIMENTAL VALUE Other wood types Carver uses in his projects include cedar, which is more susceptible to cracking, maple, bloodwood and purpleheart. He said his materials come from Madison, Nashville, Birmingham and sometimes from family and friends. “I have pieces of tree all over the place that people give me,” he said. “My cousin cut a tree down that’s cherry, and I’m going to come cut it up and try to turn it into bowls,” he said. One project he’s working on at present is a charcuterie board for meats and cheeses that he’s making for his sister in the shape of the Alabama state outline. Another he recently finished was a collection of pens he distributed at his 50th high school reunion at Austin High. “I actually gave all my classmates a pen,” Carver said. “I had them all engraved ‘AHS 1970.’” The biggest challenge of using freshly cut wood, according to Carver, is it still has moisture present, which is indicated by the wood being a green color. This can lead to more cracking in the woodturning process, and so Carver paints the ends of cut wood to expedite moisture reduction. “You can turn a wet bowl, but it’s not recommended,” Carver said. “Wood has to be almost dry, dry before

you turn it. When you cut a board, it might almost be 25-26% moisture; you have to get it down to 8-9%.” Even old wood can be restored and remade into bowls and other crafts. “A friend of mine had in his garage for 60 years a piece of black walnut that had wormholes and holes all in it,” Carver said of a current project he’s working on. “I mixed epoxy with quartz and put it all in. Now I’m going to peel it back down, and I’ll still have some holes, but I’ll still be able to turn it into a bowl.” Carver said he often uses YouTube tutorials or calls Pruett for advice when he finds himself at an impasse as there isn’t a woodcraft community in north Alabama. WON’T MAKE FURNITURE “I do try to get (friends) involved but most of them aren’t retired so they don’t have the time,” he said with a laugh. Looking at future projects, Carver said he may get into creating opensegmented bowls, which are more complex as they feature gaps between each piece of wood used. What’s the one type of project he doesn’t want to delve into? “I’m not going to get into furniture making,” he said. “One — I don’t have a shop. I don’t have the space for doing a dining room table. And two — the time it takes.” Carver estimates the total cost of his setup to be around $2,000 for all the tools he uses in his workshop for woodcutting and turning which include a lathe and miter saw. For the personal projects he’s gotten to take on since getting into the hobby, however, Carver said woodturning is priceless. “All of my projects are my favorite,” he said. Later this year, Carver is looking to sell some of his crafts at Hartselle Depot Days and the Hartselle Holiday Market. Carver takes commissions for woodturning crafts and can be contacted at 256-221-7195 or Decatur Living 50 Plus 17

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f the 1927 song “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll and Robert A. King is correct, then the world has been a noisy place for quite some time. Though the exact origins of ice cream are unknown, historians agree this popular treat has been around for a very, very long time. The International Dairy Foods Association says the origins of ice cream may reach as far back as the second century B.C. Though he wasn’t around back then, the fifth Roman Emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 A.D., might have been so fond of iced treats that he routinely sent runners into the Apennine Mountains to retrieve snow that he would then flavor with fruits and juices. That tale might be apocryphal, but there’s no denying ice treats have been enjoyed for a long time. And based on a 2018 report from Grand View Research, Inc. that projected the global ice cream market would reach roughly $79 billion by 2025, it’s fair to say ice cream will remain popular for a long time to come as well.


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Decatur Living 50 Plus 19

Conley Brannon rides around his neighborhood as he trains for the Wet Dog Triathlon. [JERONIMO NISA/DECATUR DAILY]


Edith Garner helps sisters Lenyx, left, and Seara Smith with their math homework at the Maxine Ellison Decatur Youth Enrichment Learning Center. [JERONIMO NISA]

Maxine Ellison, working with Sweyne Womack, 5, is a proponent of one-on-one instruction. [JERONIMO NISA]

Stella Marshall works with Chloe Bumpus, 7, at the Maxine Ellison Youth Enrichment Learning Center. [JERONIMO NISA]

20 Decatur Living 50 Plus

By BRUCE MCLELLAN Living 50 Plus


dith Garner sat beside 4-year-old Adam Vargas and told him they would read a book together. “Talk to me,” said Garner, a volunteer at Maxine Ellison Decatur Youth Enrichment Learning Center. “What’s your name?” Adam looked at her silently. Garner, who spent a quarter century with Decatur City Schools and has been a regular volunteer with the center for the past 10 years, wasn’t discouraged. She oinked like a pig. Vargas laughed. She asked, “When you’re hungry, what do you do?” “Eat,” Vargas replied. She asked him to help her count cows on a page in the book “On the Farm,” and he did: one through five. “Very good,” she said. “Give me five on that.” She gave him a soft high-five. The ice was broken. “You make children feel comfortable,” Garner said, “and once you can make them begin to feel comfortable with you, they begin to kind of open up and begin to start sharing with you. It’s just a technique you use when you work with kids for so long. You just know what to do with them. It just comes natural.” Garner is one of three women, all in their 60s and 70s, still putting their teaching skills to use through the Youth Enrichment Center, which has used several sites over its 36year existence but this year moved into a renovated building of its own on Vine Street Northwest. Maxine Ellison, namesake of the center and its founding director, Stella Marshall and Garner spent more than 70 years combined working in Decatur City Schools. They have another 80 years of volunteering with the center, all while overseeing three to four biological children each, along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All three women said they’re motivated to help others learn.

“I was called by God to be a servant for Him, and it was in the field of teaching,” said Ellison, who also has taught Bible classes in the community. “I know this without a shadow of a doubt: I’ve been called to be a teacher. I love it. “I feel that everybody, whether young or old, whoever they are, they can learn.” Garner, 69, who spent two decades working in special education at Decatur High after beginning her career as an elementary school teacher’s aide, said she became a teacher because of her uncle, Leo “Big Buddy” Pointer of Decatur. “What motivated me to do special education and then to teach is because I had an uncle who had a disability — and just being at home with him,” Garner said. “At that time when he was growing up and I was growing up, there were not a lot of facilities for people with disabilities as we have now. … “My heart always was (with) working with kids who had disabilities or had learning disabilities.” Even now, she often gravitates toward the kids at the center who are struggling the most. Marshall, 73, spent 19 years working as a cafeteria custodian at Brookhaven Middle School. That pales to the time she has spent at the center — all 36 years it has been open. “I love kids,” she said. “I love seeing smiling faces, and I love seeing them proud of accomplishing things. ... They just sometimes need that extra push.” PROVIDING MANPOWER Ellison’s philosophy is for the center to provide one-onone instruction that kids might not get anywhere else. “All kids don’t learn at the same pace. That’s why you need more one-on-one,” Ellison says. “One-on-one helps you focus in on that one child.” She says Garner and Marshall have helped give her the manpower to provide individual enrichment in any area where the center’s students have shortcomings. “They were like that missing piece to fit in wherever it was needed, especially Stella Marshall,” Ellison said. “Without her, I would say there would be no Decatur Youth Enrichment as far as the quality of the program. … Some people look at quantity. I look at the quality.” The center had a weekly reading program this summer, but its primary mission since 1986 has been to help kids from 5 years old through middle school with homework. Sessions are held Monday through Thursday, from the time the school day ends until ... whenever. “When we first got started doing this,” Marshall said, “a lot of kids there came from large families … and they just enjoyed one-on-one attention. We first started at Carrie Matthews (Recreation) Center, where they closed at 5 o’clock, and sometimes we’d have to go by their parents’ house and get permission to take them on home with us so they could finish their homework.” The center also has had a choir and has annually taken its students on field trips that have included places such as New

Children practiced reading this summer at the Maxine Ellison Youth Enrichment Learning Center. [JERONIMO NISA]

Maxine Ellison uses flash cards to help Sweyne Womack, 5, with his reading skills at the Decatur Youth Enrichment Learning Center. [JOHN GODBEY]

Edith Garner teaches a child to read at the Maxine Ellison Decatur Youth Enrichment Learning Center. [JOHN GODBEY]

Decatur Living 50 Plus 21

York City and Detroit, and even a side trip to Canada. At one time, the center averaged about 70 students yearly in its choir and the after-school program. Now the number will likely be closer to 35 as the center begins its first school year since the pandemic. LEARNING TO ACHIEVE With their decades of providing instruction to youngsters, Ellison, Marshall and Garner have developed concepts and philosophies that they’ve found work. Ellison, who says she’s in her 70s and spent 28 years in Decatur’s school system as a teacher and parenting coordinator, tries to help children achieve and feel a sense of accomplishment. “I hope you don’t think that child is going to do well if all he or she is experiencing is failure,” Ellison said. “The child is going to give up. I don’t care who you are. That’s all of us. “When a person starts experiencing success, that changes that child’s whole outlook on what he’s doing in class. … Success means that they’re able to perform in the classroom — maybe not up to par where others are, but have a feeling that hey, I did it. I passed my spelling test. I was able to stand and finish my reading that I was given.” Marshall says it’s important to make sure kids know what the letters of the alphabet look like. “They’ll come in there saying I know my ABC’s. It’s the nursery rhyme, but they don’t (recognize) one letter from

the other,” she said. “So parents, … be sure if you’re teaching your child the alphabet, make sure they know the letters, not just repeating the nursery rhyme.” Garner says interpersonal skills are equally important as academic lessons. “I tell them if you can learn how to read and learn how to get along with other people, you can do just about anything,” she said. Marshall said the rewards to the volunteer for working with the center sometimes aren’t immediate. “A lot of kids they’re adults now. And they run across you and they say, ‘Hey Mrs. Marshall.’ They say, ‘You don’t remember, do you? You helped me with my math and did this and did that.’” Satisfaction, she said, is seeing former students “growing up and becoming … responsible adults and living a prosperous life.” Garner will spend the next year in Washington, D.C., helping son Andre Garner and his wife with their 2-yearold and infant. But eventually she’ll be back in Decatur and back at the center. She’s not ready to relax. “It’s important to stay active because it keeps your mind alert. It keeps you motivated to want to do and to keep going and keep doing. I’m not the type of person that can sit down and do nothing. I have to have something to do or be doing something.” And hundreds of Decatur kids are better for it.

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22 Decatur Living 50 Plus



verybody deals with stress and anxiety; however the key is to know what to do when your stressed out. It is not always easy to keep your feelings from getting the best of you. With this in mind, here are seven tips that a person can use to help manage their daily stresses and anxieties before they get out of control. 1. Get all of the facts of the situation: Gathering the facts of a certain event can prevent us from relying on exaggerated and fearful assumptions. Most importantly, do not focus on your fearful thoughts when your stressed out. 2. Take a break: Sometimes, we get stressed out when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few minutes to get their mind off of the problem. 3. Carry a small notebook of positive statements with you: Another technique that is very helpful in managing fear is to have a small notebook of positive statements that makes you feel good. Whenever you come across an affirmation

that relaxes you, write it down in a small notebook that you can carry around with you in your pocket. Whenever you feel depressed, open up your small notebook and read those statements. 4. You can’t predict the future: While the consequences of a particular fear may seem real, there are usually other factors that cannot be anticipated and can affect the results of any situation. We may be ninety-nine percent correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is for that one percent to make a world of difference. 5. Challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking: When encountering thoughts that make you fearful or depressed, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense. Focus on the reality of your situation and not on your thoughts. Stan Popovich is the author of the popular managing fear book, “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear”. For more information about Stan’s book and to get some free mental health advice, please visit Stan’s website at

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HOBBIES for seniors residing in assisted LIVING COMMUNITIES

AS INDIVIDUALS ADJUST TO LIFE IN ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES, FINDING NEW HOBBIES OR REDISCOVERING OLD PASSIONS CAN BE A GREAT WAY TO CONNECT WITH FELLOW RESIDENTS Assisted living facilities offer an array of programs designed to help residents develop rewarding hobbies that can benefit their long-term health.



ssisted living facilities are a vital resource for aging individuals. Data from the American Health Care Association® and the National Center for Assisted Living® indicates that more than 811,000 people reside in assisted living facilities across the United States. Assisted living facilities have changed dramatically over the years, making them ideal options for adults who may need varying degrees of help with daily activities. Such facilities can help with activities like bathing and preparing meals, but they also can help residents find and explore new or existing hobbies. As individuals adjust to life in assisted living facilities, finding new hobbies or rediscovering old passions can be a great way to connect with fellow residents. · Reading: Reading is a rewarding activity that can greatly benefit seniors and provide an engaging pastime for those with limited mobility. Many assisted living facilities offer activities that are designed to foster

24 Decatur Living 50 Plus

communication between residents and a book club can do just that. What’s more, reading every day may be especially valuable for people age 65 and older. A 2018 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that dementia risk was considerably lower among men and women 65 and older who participated in intellectual activities like reading than it was among seniors who did not engage in such pursuits. · Gardening: AARP notes that gardening provides a host of health benefits that go beyond ensuring fresh fruits and vegetables will be on the dinner table. For example, vitamin D is vital to bone health, which is important for aging men and women who are vulnerable to osteoporosis. A 2014 study from researchers in Italy found that exposure to sunlight can help older adults get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Signing up for a gardening club can be a great way for seniors to get some exercise, enjoy time outside the assisted living facility and promote strong bones. · Art therapy: According to the Chicago Methodist Senior Services, art therapy is a creative form of therapy designed to help older adults with memory loss or those experiencing mental or physical stress. The Harvard Medical School notes that recent research has indicated that engaging in creative activities may be more effective at delaying cognitive decline than merely appreciating creative works. A 2014 study from researchers in Germany found that retirees who painted and sculpted had greater improvements in spatial reasoning and emotional resilience than a similar group who attended art appreciation classes. Many assisted living facilities offer art therapy or similar programs to residents and enrolling in such programs can promote social interaction and provide numerous benefits to men and women over 65. Assisted living facilities offer an array of programs designed to help residents develop rewarding hobbies that can benefit their long-term health.




osing interest in an exercise regimen is a situation many fitness enthusiasts have confronted at one point or another. Overcoming a stale workout routine can be simple for young athletes, whose bodies can typically handle a wide range of physical activities. That flexibility allows younger athletes the chance to pursue any number of physical activities when their existing fitness regimens grow stale. But what about seniors who have grown tired of their workouts? Even seniors who have lived active lifestyles since they were youngsters are likely to encounter certain physical limitations associated with aging. Limitations may be a part of aging for many people, but such obstacles need not limit seniors looking to banish boredom from their workout routines. In fact, many seniors can successfully engage in a variety of exercises that benefit their bodies and are unlikely to grow stale. · Water aerobics: Sometimes referred to as “aqua aerobics,” water aerobics may involve jogging in the water, leg lifts, arm curls, and other activities that can safely be performed in a pool. The YMCA notes that water aerobics exercises are low impact, which can make them ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues like arthritis. · Resistance band workouts: Resistance band workouts can be especially useful for seniors who spend a lot of time at home. Resistance bands are ideal for people who like to exercise at home but don’t have much space. They can be used to strengthen muscles in various parts of the body, including the legs, arms and back. · Pilates: Pilates is another low-impact exercise that can be ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues. Pilates can help seniors build overall strength, stability and coordination. Seniors can experience improvements in

Besides being fun, the YMCA notes that water aerobics exercises are low impact, which can make them ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues like arthritis.

strength and stability by committing to as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily Pilates exercises. · Strength training: Seniors on the lookout for something more challenging than a daily walk around the neighborhood should not overlook the benefits of strength training. Seniors who participate in strength training can stimulate the growth of muscle and bone, thereby reducing their risk for osteoporosis and frailty.

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Decatur Living 50 Plus 25


There are several common plants that can be poisonous for pets.



f you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be. Consider these hazards that can negatively impact the well-being of your furry friends. Poisonous Plants - Some common plants can be dangerous for animals, causing anything from mild oral irritations and upset stomachs to cardiovascular damage and even death. For example, these are some of the toxic plants the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has identified as harmful for either cats or dogs: * Aloe - can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, anorexia and depression * Azalea - can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, cardiovascular collapse and death * Burning bush - can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and weakness, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities with large doses * Caladium - can cause burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing * Daylilies - can cause kidney failure in cats * Hibiscus - can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia Mulch and Compost - The decomposing elements 26 Decatur Living 50 Plus

that make compost good can be bad for pets, according to the National Garden Society. Keep compost in a secure container or fenced off area so pets can’t get to it. Cocoa mulch can be a particular problem for dogs. A byproduct of chocolate production, cocoa mulch can cause digestive problems and even seizures in dogs. Shredded pine or cedar mulch is a safer choice. Fertilizer and Insecticides - The chemicals used to get rid of pests or make your lawn lush can be toxic to pets. Some of the most dangerous pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poison, according to the ASPCA. Follow all instructions carefully, and store pesticides and fertilizers in a secure area out of the reach of animals. Fleas and Ticks - In addition to using appropriate flea and tick prevention methods such as collars and sprays, make sure your yard isn’t a welcoming environment for these pests. Keep the lawn trimmed and remove brush and detritus, where fleas and ticks often lurk. Fleas can cause hair loss, scabs, excessive scratching, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can do all of that, plus bring you and your family in contact with diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Find more tips for keeping pets safe in your yard at

PLANTS THAT CAN KEEP BUGS AWAY local REAL ESTATE FROM OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES Things to consider before downsizing your home




he decision to downsize a home is often bittersweet. Many couples who downsize their homes do so after raising a family. A home might be filled with memories, but downsizing a home helps couples save more money, and that financial flexibility often allows men and women to more fully enjoy their retirement. Bob McMillan, Broker points out there’s more than just money at stake for homeowners thinking of downsizing their homes. The following are a handful of factors homeowners should consider before downsizing to a smaller home. Real estate market The real estate market can be a seller’s friend or foe. Many sellers have a sale price in mind when they decide to sell their home, but the real estate market can be fickle, so homeowners should do their research before putting their home up for sale. Will the current market make it easier for you to get the most for your home, or will you have to settle for less than you prefer? How fast are similar homes in your area selling? When studying the real estate market, it’s also a good idea to study the market for smaller homes. If you plan on moving into a condominium but the market is not flush with properties, you might end up paying more than you want to for your new home, which might negate the savings you can expect from downsizing. Furniture Bob McMillan advises when downsizing to a smaller home, many couples realize their current furniture is unlikely to fit. That means couples will have to sell or donate their current furniture and then buy all new items for their new home. Another thing to consider regarding your furniture is which items you simply can’t live without. An antique dinner table might have been the centerpiece for your family holidays over the last several decades, but there’s no guarantee it will fit into your smaller home. You may want to pass this down to your son

or daughter, but that’s only possible if he or she has the room for it. Before deciding to downsize, consider your attachment to certain items that you may or may not be able to take with you to your new home and the emotional toll that selling such items might take if you’re left with no other options. Proximity to family According to Bob McMillan when downsizing to a smaller home, many couples move out of the suburbs and into cities or towns with more ready access to culture and restaurants. While that accessibility is great, grandparents may find that it comes at the cost of less time with their grandchildren. That’s a steep price to pay for doting grandparents, and it may also impact your children if they frequently rely on grandma and grandpa for babysitting. Before downsizing, consider if you’re willing to move further away from your family. If not, you likely can still find a smaller home in close proximity to your current home and any nearby family members. Medical care Many older men and women must also consider the effect that moving may have on their medical care. Downsizing to a home in the country may make it harder to maintain contact with your current physician, and rural areas typically have less medical practitioners than more densely populated towns and cities. In addition, if you have been visiting the same physician for years, you may not want to move and have to start all over again with a physician who is unfamiliar with your medical history. Consider how much maintaining your existing relationship with your physician means to you, and if your next home will provide the kind of access to medical care you’re likely to need. Downsizing a home is not just about moving into a smaller property. To ensure you’re making the right decision, many factors must be considered before downsizing.

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utdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular among homeowners in recent years, and that popularity grew even more over the last year due to the pandemic. There’s much homeowners can do to make the most of their outdoor spaces, but they might feel helpless against some unwanted, often relentless guests: insects. Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against insects while simultaneously adding a little aesthetic appeal to the backyard. The Farmer’s Almanac notes that planting these insect-repelling plants around the patio or backyard can help homeowners successfully repel unwanted insects, including mosquitoes. · Lavender: Lavender is a fragrant plant that adds a pop of purple and has been known to repel mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and moths. · Basil: Basil can provide the best of both worlds, as it’s been found to repel flies and moths and also makes for a tasty addition to pasta sauces and other dishes. · Thyme: Also a valuable ingredient to keep in the kitchen, thyme can help keep hungry mosquitoes at bay. · Mint: The Farmer’s Almanac warns that it’s easy to overplant mint, so homeowners should only plant with care and make a concerted effort to prevent overgrowth. Also great in the kitchen, mint has long been considered an effective mosquito repellant. · Alliums: Like lavender, alliums can add a burst of purple to your patio. And though they aren’t believed to repel mosquitoes, alliums have been found to be helpful against cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies, and slugs. · Chrysanthemums: If ants are drawing homeowners’ ire, chrysanthemums may do the trick. These eyecatching flowers also are believed to repel fleas and roaches, among other insects. · Marigolds: The scent of this awe-inspiring plant is known to repel mosquitoes and other pests. Marigolds also attract insects like ladybugs that are known to consume aphids, which are minute bugs that reproduce rapidly and feed by sucking sap from plants.Fleas and Ticks - In addition to using appropriate flea and tick prevention methods such as collars and sprays, make sure your yard isn’t a welcoming environment for these pests. Keep the lawn trimmed and remove brush and detritus, where fleas and ticks often lurk. Fleas can cause hair loss, scabs, excessive scratching, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can do all of that, plus bring you and your family in contact with diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Find more tips for keeping pets safe in your yard at

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Decatur Living 50 Plus 27



am a backpacker (noun). That is, I regularly hike or travel carrying everything I may need in a backpack. I backpack (verb) because I love being outside and exploring areas best seen on foot. I am also a CPA (nerd) and I am forced to spend extended periods of time indoors in an office. I love backpacking. I also love (love-hate) my profession – especially when I get to help others improve their financial quality of life. It feeds my soul to be able to turn off the spreadsheets, throw on my backpack and head into the wilderness. Interestingly, I draw many parallels between backpacking and business and personal financial planning. I started thinking about this in detail during a recent multi-day trip on the Appalachian Trail (the A.T.). I was feeling a bit guilty about being on the trail on a weekday (to beat the crowds, as I was in a popular area of the A.T.), instead of being in the office. I quickly pushed that thought out of my mind and started thinking about how my favorite hobby may be preparing me to be a better CPA and perhaps a more well-rounded person. It certainly has provided new and more interesting conversations with others, rather than leading with something like, “how about that new tax plan?” Backpacking and financial planning – The following elements are required in both (or proceed at your own risk/peril): 1. Set goals 13. Be respectful of your 2. Location/location/location environment 3. Simplify 14. Be accountable 4. Make a plan and follow it 15. Have a mentor/become 5. Secure permits an expert 6. Be prepared 16. Have a backup plan 7. Have a budget 17. Have an exit strategy 8. Secure resources 18. One step at a time 9. Gather the right people 19. Keep your objective in 10. Plan for emergencies/ view risks 20. Learn from your 11. Know your limits mistakes and 12. Have fun/enjoy the celebrate your journey successes Get out of the office every now and then – think and be self-sufficient, test your limits, have an experience or two you can talk about with others. Whether you are a fellow CPA, a teacher, a stay-at-home mom or dad, or an executive– you will learn more about yourself and the world around you. Just make sure you have a plan! Ronald W. Stokes is a certified public accountant and personal financial specialist in Decatur. 28 Decatur Living 50 Plus

Enjoyon recreational senior discounts activities D

espite the efforts of Juan Ponce de Leon, there is no magical Fountain of Youth. Getting older is inevitable and it is important to see the silver lining of aging. Among the various perks that come with age, including increased knowledge and experience, are a whole host of discounts for the aging population. Men and women who have reached a certain age are entitled to key discounts if they know where to look. Many discounts can be used for recreational activities. · Dining out: Why pay full price for a meal if you don’t have to? A meal out with friends and loved ones becomes a bit more affordable thanks to the senior discounts available through many different restaurants, whether it’s chains or independently owned eateries. · Hotels: Seniors booking their stays through select hotel chains may be eligible to reduce their costs by 10 percent or more. When making the reservation, check to see if you qualify for an age-related discount.

· Theme parks: Before buying entry tickets or season passes, check with the membership office regarding senior discounts. Certain items also may be discounted throughout the parks. · Movies: Movie theaters may offer special viewing days or times that are discounted. · Flights/cruises: Discounted senior fares are available on select flights. Be sure to ask. Seniors can also enjoy discounts on select cruises. Rental car companies offer discounts for senior customers too. · Gym memberships: Individuals who are eligible for Medicare also may be entitled to a free SilverSneakers membership, which provides access to more than 13,000 participating fitness centers · National Park admission: Seniors age 62 and older can purchase a Senior Pass that’s good for more than 2,000 federal recreational sites and national parks in the United States. The pass is good for a lifetime.



Decatur Living 50 Plus 29

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he Alabama Department of Senior Services has received reports of a new COVID-19 vaccine email scam where people are asked to complete a survey. The survey offers a “free reward,” but asks people to pay a nominal fee “to cover shipping.” Survey scams like this are a creative way to steal your identity or money. Many survey scams offer a reward and give you a limited time to respond if you want to take the survey. A legitimate survey will not assign a time limit, nor will they ask for your credit card or bank account information to pay for a reward. Scammers know people have received COVID-19 vaccines and are capitalizing on it. Don’t give out sensitive information. Fake surveys can be used in

many dishonest ways: to steal your information, collect data about you to commit identity theft, or even install malware on your computer when you click on a link in your email. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the CDC, and the COVID-19 vaccine companies (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) are currently asking all vaccine recipients to enroll in the CDC V-Safe program as a post-vaccine monitoring mechanism at https://www. html. There is no other survey being recommended at this time. Please contact the Alabama Senior Medicare Patrol (AL SMP) at 1-800-243-5463 if you have responded to this or a similar COVID-19 vaccine survey email, or have questions.. Decatur Living 50 Plus 31



he efforts of researchers and public health officials in developing safe and successful COVID-19 vaccines was nothing short of historic. Men and women over the age of 65 were among the first groups to be given the COVID-19 vaccine. Many people within that group are retired and had looked forward to traveling, only to have those plans interrupted by the pandemic. Now that they’re fully vaccinated, seniors are setting their sights on travel once again. Though the COVID-19 vaccines have made vulnerable groups like seniors less likely to suffer severe illness from the virus, there’s still a few things adults over 65 should know when making travel plans. RESTRICTIONS Though a significant portion of the eligible populations in the United States and Canada had been fully or

partially vaccinated by mid-spring, overseas travel restrictions may still be in place. Some countries, such as India, continued to confront devastating waves of the virus and may not be allowing overseas visitors anytime soon. It’s important that seniors learn of any potential restrictions before booking trips. ATTRACTIONS When planning a trip, seniors may want to look for areas with plenty of outdoor attractions. The CDC continues to recommend that people, even those who are fully vaccinated, gather outdoors, where the virus is less likely to be transmitted. When traveling, seniors may be spending time around people who have not yet been vaccinated, and despite the efficacy of the vaccines, that might make some travelers nervous. So, choosing locales with plenty of outdoor attractions can be a great way to quell any travelrelated concerns seniors may have.

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Mold/Fungus Remediation Specialist, Floor Supports. Termite and Pest Control. ONE SOURCE FOR ALL YOUR PEST NEEDS YOUR SHIELD AGAINST PESTS!

1202 Hwy. 31 NW, Hartselle • (256) 751-1050 117 2nd Avve. SW, Cullman • (256) 739-5888

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831 Main St West, Hartselle, AL 35640 (256) 751-6566

Decatur Living 50 Plus 33

Need another excuse for a daytrip to Nashville?

The Original

‘Immersive Van Gogh’

Exhibition to the

is coming Music City



ooking for a quick and rewarding daytrip or weekend excursion. Nashville has always been a great travel destination for its rich music history and attractions. A new exhibit opening in Nov. is another great reason to plan a trip to the Music City. Lighthouse Immersive USA is bringing their highly sought-after

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art experience Immersive Van Gogh to Nashville starting Nov. 4. Official tickets are available at Immersive Van Gogh is the latest creation by the world-renowned master of digital art, Italy’s Massimiliano Siccardi, who for 30 years has been pioneering immersive exhibitions in Europe. Over 2 million visitors have seen his magnificent installations.

With the help of 60,600 frames of video, 90,000,000 pixels, and 500,000-plus cubic feet of projections, this captivating digital art exhibit merges state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling, and world-class animation. It gives guests the rare opportunity to “step inside” and experience the incredible post-Impressionist works of Van Gogh like never before. Immersive Van Gogh will be making its mark at a secret location to be determined. The original Immersive Van Gogh is a spectacular, vivid, and breathtaking digital art experience that invites audiences to enter the legendary works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh—evoking his highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness through art, light, music, movement, and imagination. Featuring stunning towering projections that illuminate the artistic genius’s mind, the exhibition

showcases a curated selection of images from Van Gogh’s 2,000+ lifetime catalog of masterpieces, including Les Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), La Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les tournesols (Sunflowers, 1887), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1888). Paintings will be presented how the artist first saw the scenes, based on an active life and moving landscapes turned into sharp yet sweeping brush strokes. Creative Director and Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi has pioneered the art form with Immersive Van Gogh and taken it to an unmatched and unprecedented level. The exhibition also contains original, mood-setting music by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi and Vittorio Guidotti as the Art Director. The hour-long, timed-entry, walk-through experience is designed with health and safety as a priority.

Capacity will be limited in accordance with the City of Nashville’s safety protocols. Additional safety precautions include touchless tickettaking, temperature checks upon arrival, hand sanitizer stations, social distancing markers throughout the venue, and digitally projected social distancing circles on the gallery floors to ensure appropriate spacing. All guests must wear a face covering at all times during their visit. For more information about Immersive Van Gogh, visit www.

Decatur Living 50 Plus 35

Strengthen your Medicare Plan benefits with the no-cost Silver&Fit Healthy Aging and Exercise program. ®

• Access to 15,000+ participating fitness centers As a FirstCommunity Health Plan member, you can enjoy the Silver&Fit Healthy Aging and Exercise program at no additional cost beyond your monthly premium. The Silver&Fit program gives you the digital tools and personalized support you need to enjoy a better life balance. Call 256-532-2783 and grab the benefits of a FirstCommunity Medicare Supplement.

• Access thousands of on-demand workout videos on the Silver&Fit ASHConnect™ mobile app and Silver&Fit website • A collection of daily workout classes on Facebook Live and the Silver&Fit YouTube channel • One (1) Stay Fit Kit and up to 2 Home Fitness Kits per benefit year

256-532-2783 or 800-734-7826

Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance. The Silver&Fit program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). The people shown in this piece are not Silver&Fit members. Silver&Fit, the Silver&Fit logo, and ASHConnect are trademarks of ASH and used with permission herein. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


699-A Gallatin Street Huntsville, AL 35801 •

HOW TO PLAN A PERFECT GAME NIGHT The following are a few things to consider when planning a game night By METRO NEWS SERVICE


hared experiences are ideal ways to make new friends or solidify established relationships. Bonds can be strengthened even further when those shared experiences include entertaining activities. This is a great reason for adults to incorporate routine game nights into their social calendars. Game nights are nothing new. Perhaps your parents or grandparents gossiped over a few games of gin rummy or weekly poker gatherings? Before the widespread proliferation of digital video games, board games were a go-to way to have fun. Even now, game nights can provide the perfect way to slow down, have fun and get together with friends. Hosting a game night can be an ideal way to have fun at home without turning on the television. The following are a few things to consider when planning a game night. THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE DICTATES WHICH GAMES CAN BE PLAYED How many people are invited to game night will determine the games that can be played. Game nights tend to be more successful with a guest between four and eight players. Keeping people engaged in a game can be more challenging if there are more than eight individuals, and most games are designed for a maximum of eight players. PLAN FOR FINGER FOODS Game night etiquette typically dictates that hosts will provide refreshments. In

lieu of a sit-down meal, offer finger foods, which are easier to manage while engaged in game play. Premade party platters are an option if you want to spend more time entertaining and less time preparing food. Guests also can be encouraged to bring small dishes, such as sandwiches, chips and dips or other snacks. HAVE A VARIETY OF GAMES ON HAND Let the course of the night be relatively fluid, even if you have a certain game in mind. If guests are not fans of a particular game, make sure you have others at the ready. Music or a sports game playing in the background also can be a way to keep guests entertained between turns. When deciding on games, consider these criteria, courtesy of Game Night Gods, an online game night resource · The game should be easy to learn. · The game should be relatively fast-moving. · The game should pique interest and be strategic. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONES Acting zany and engaging in games that push people out of their comfort zones can help guests get to know one another and laugh along the way. Games also are a perfect way to learn something new with little to no pressure. A game night can unite existing friends and help people interested in making new acquaintances find common ground. If in person game nights are not doable, gather virtually through video chat applications.

Decatur Living 50 Plus 37


38 Decatur Living 50 Plus

Here for You!

From Diagnosis through Treatment to Recovery, we get you back to the things you love, quicker.

On-site Open MRI

Drs. Tapscott, Ellis, Hallock, Riehl, Sharp, Daigre

On-site Physical Therapy

MAIN OFFICE: 256-350-0362 1103 16th Ave. SE Decatur, AL 35601 HARTSELLE OFFICE: 256-286-0640 615 Mynatt Street, SW Suite B, Hartselle, AL 35640 423309-1

I have always been a planner. Let me help you plan your next real estate sale, purchase or investment.

Karen Smith 256-694 4-4965


2114 Central Pkwy SW, Decatur, AL 35601

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