AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2022
Retired educator Bob Cameron has passion for restoring classic cars, Page 20
Young at heart
Good as gold
Kurtistyne White finds her calling helping Decatur’s kids, Page 12
Jeweler Kenneth Stuart says working at 81 keeps him going, Page 29
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Publisher CLINT SHELTON Operations Director SCOTT BROWN Executive Editor BRUCE MCLELLAN Living 50 Plus Editor LORI FEW
DID YOU KNOW? SENIOR POPULATIONS ARE GROWING
City Editor ERIC FLEISCHAUER Assistant City Editor FRANKLIN HARRIS Living 50 Plus Writers CATHERINE GODBEY • MICHAEL WETZEL BAYNE HUGHES • WES TOMLINSON • ERICA SMITH Living 50 Plus Photographer JERONIMO NISA Circulation Director WALTER GOGGINS Circulation Manager REBECCA BRAUN Advertising Director BARETTA TAYLOR Advertising Graphic Artists STEPHEN JOHNSON • RHONDA STENNETT Retail Advertising TERRI HASTON • BECKY SPIVEY • SHELIA SMITH EDDIE JOHNS • ANNA BAKER • KIARA KOGER Website DANIEL BUFORD Decatur-Morgan
Visit us at living50plusdm.com HOW TO REACH US For story ideas or comments: Bruce McLellan 256-340-2431
For advertising questions: Baretta Taylor 256-340-2370
For distribution questions: For website questions: Rebecca Braun Daniel Buford 256-340-2414 256-340-2408 Published by Decatur Daily Tennessee Valley Media
ON THE COVER: Bob Cameron of Decatur has owned more than two dozen different muscle cars and classic automobiles like his 1948 Cadillac convertible. Photo by Jeronimo Nisa. Cover design by Stephen Johnson. 4 Decatur Living 50 Plus
lder Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans age 65 and older nearly quadrupled. Senior citizens account for a significant percentage of the overall population. Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released in 2020 indicate the nation’s 65-and-older population had grown by more than onethird over the preceding decade. By 2050, the number of senior citizens is expected to be close to 90 million. In 2020, about 16.9 percent of the American population was 65 years old or over; a figure which is expected to reach 22 percent by 2050. This is a significant increase from 1950, when only eight percent of the population was 65 or over. It accounted for only four percent of the population in 1900.
Reap the many health benefits of
A GOOD LAUGH HERE IS WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY IN REGARD TO THE BENEFITS OF A FEW GOOD BELLY LAUGHS. By METRO NEWS
ost people have heard the adage that “laughter is the best medicine.” There are many indications that laughter can be beneficial to the mind and body, and
6 Decatur Living 50 Plus
experts say in regard to the benefits of a few good belly laughs.
BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
A 2016 study titled “The Laughter Prescription” and published in that the perks of laughter and humor the American Journal of Lifestyle are far-reaching. Medicine found that the amount Various professionals have studied of laughter a person experiences the clinical benefits of laughter, is related to the immune system’s including Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. ability to fight off infections, among Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University other benefits. The study references in California. Here is what these additional research that indicated
spontaneous (not forced) laughter boosts the immune system by increasing natural killer (NK) cell activity. Levels were measured after participants watched a onehour humorous video. NK cells are lymphocytes with a unique ability to kill a broad spectrum of cancerous and virus-infected cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. Laughing out loud improves immune system function and increases heart rate and oxygen levels.
Hearty laughter can exercise the diaphragm, contract the abdominals and even work the shoulders and muscles in the face. Laughter also gets the heart pumping at a rate that burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking slowly.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
PROVIDES NATURAL PAIN RELIEF
Individuals who laugh often have lower blood pressure than those who laugh less often. Lower blood pressure reduces the risk for stroke and heart attack.
HELPS HEAL THE BRAIN
Laughing can help reverse symptoms of grief or depression by increasing the pleasure-enhancing neurochemicals
cortisol decrease following laughter. Laughter may help people feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
PROVIDES A SMALL BODY WORKOUT
in the brain, according to the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. A good laugh also may help people recovering from chronic illnesses by helping to alleviate fear and anxiety that could otherwise preoccupy the mind.
SUPPRESSES STRESS HORMONES
Drs. Berk and Tan found that the stress hormones epinephrine and
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Research suggests that laughter decreases inflammation that may contribute to pain. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that laughing also increases blood flow, which may help to reduce pain as well.
Finding ways to laugh more is an easy and fun way to improve overall health.
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AARP expands tool to help Alabama’s veterans access health care OF THE NEARLY 400,000 VETERANS IN ALABAMA, ONLY 28% HAVE USED THEIR BENEFITS AT VA HEALTH CARE, ACCORDING TO U.S. CENSUS BUREAU.
“Veterans and military families faced many difficulties serving our country; accessing health care benefits they earned shouldn’t be as challenging,” said Candi Williams, AARP Alabama State Director. “This free, one-stop resource will help make the process less confusing and overwhelming for veterans and military families as they navigate the best path for their health care needs.” The AARP Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator has just been expanded to help
veterans and their families access VA Specialty Care Programs and Services in the following areas: ▶ Women Veterans Health Care Program ▶ Specialty Emotional and Mental Health Services ▶ Specialty Dental, Oral, Hearing and Vision Services ▶ F amily Caregiver Assistance Program Nearly 60% of all veterans are eligible for VA health care services, yet less than half of those eligible
recently launched the updated Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator to bring together valuable information and resources to help veterans, military families and their caregivers navigate their health care options. The tool provides Alabama’s veterans with critical information about what is required to qualify for health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Department of Defense (DoD).
8 Decatur Living 50 Plus
veterans use VA health benefits, according to a RAND study. And a survey conducted by the VA Center for Women Veterans found women veterans age 50-plus are the least likely group to use their earned benefits. In addition, of the nearly 400,000 veterans living in Alabama, only 28% have utilized their earned benefits at VA health care, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet quality of care delivered by the VA is generally equal to or better than care delivered in the private sector, according to a RAND study. Frustration with the application process and confusion about qualification requirements keeps many veterans from receiving their health benefits. AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Health Benefits Navigator is available at www.AARP.org/Vets HealthNavigator. For more information and other resources for veterans, visit www.aarp.org/veterans.
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How to make aging pets
SENIOR ANIMALS MIGHT NEED A LITTLE EXTRA HELP AS THEY AGE, PARTICULARLY WITH REGARD TO COMFORT. By METRO NEWS
ets are valued members of many families, and their owners typically do everything they can to ensure their furry friends live as comfortably as possible. Care becomes even more important as pets get older. Just like people, aging pets may eat less and sleep more. They may have reduced stamina and even experience stiffness when getting up from sleep. Certain pets may experience failing eyesight, hearing loss and/or incontinence.
10 Decatur Living 50 Plus
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According to an American Pet Products Association survey, 67 percent of U.S. households have a pet and will have to cope with that pet becoming a senior at some point. Senior animals might need a little extra help as they age, particularly with regard to comfort. These tips can help.
· Install doggie doors. Senior pets may need to relieve
· Visit the vet more often. Senior pets may need to see
Aging pets may feel the weather more than younger pets. They may need sweaters and coats or booties to protect their paws from the snow and ice. Cooling or heating mats may improve comfort indoors.
the vet more frequently than they used to. Pets typically visit the vet every year. Senior pets may require two visits per year. Speak with a veterinarian about how often your aging pet should come in for checkups. Checkups can help identify illnesses earlier and ensure any aches and pains are addressed immediately.
· Invest in comfort devices. Pets may need items that can accommodate aches and pains or other conditions. For example, aging pets may benefit from a high quality orthopedic pet bed. Pet strollers and raised food bowls also can make aging pets’ lives a little more comfortable.
themselves more frequently. A doggy door can allow for faster access to the outdoors. Similarly, a litter box with a lower opening makes it easier for aging cats to use the litter box.
· Ensure ample protection against the elements.
· Purchase animal diapers. Some senior pets may not be able to control themselves. Diapers and absorbent pads can keep them dry and prevent soiling around the house.
· Help the animal lose weight. Pets should maintain a
· Address mobility issues. Aging pets may need help
healthy body weight, which can relieve pressure on joints and reduce risk for certain illnesses, including difficulty breathing and skin irritations. Speak with a veterinarian about the right foods and types of exercise for your pet to keep its weight in check.
getting around. Non-skid carpet runners in high-traffic areas can help pets walk around securely. Steps or ramps can make it easier to get on or off beds or in and out of vehicles.
Aging pets need extra patience and care. Pet owners can improve comfort and accessibility for their senior pets.
CLEVER PET NAMES By METRO NEWS
aming a pet is serious business for many pet owners. Pet owners want to capture their animal’s unique personality, but also have a name that rolls off the tongue and demands attention. According to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, the most popular dog names from their most recent survey were Cooper, Charlie, Bella, and Luna. Popular names for cats also included Luna and Bella as well as Oliver and Milo. Those looking for inspiration when naming their new pets may want to consider these names, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance.
Bobcat the Builder
Sir Pounce a Lot
Obi Wan Catnobi
The Great Catsby Winston Purchill
Sir Lix a Lot
Pooko Maximus Decatur Living 50 Plus 11
CHAMPION for Children
DECATUR WOMAN FOLLOWS PASSION TO IMPACT CITY’S YOUTH By CATHERINE GODBEY Living 50 Plus
chance encounter with Bruce Jones, then director of Decatur Youth Services, at Walmart 18 years ago opened the door for Kurtistyne White to pursue what would become her calling. “My background is in military. I only thought about working with kids after I had my sons and wanted to spend more time with them,” said White, 56. “When I started working with kids, I asked God to give me the same passion he has for children. He did. This is a God-given passion.” That passion has impacted hundreds of children in Decatur. During the past 18 years, White has overseen the Girlsto-Women program, directed Camp Safe Haven, organized Black History Month and back-to-school events, coached a recreational basketball team, co-coordinated “The Wiz” musical, secured donations for youths to see the “Black Panther” movie, developed a percussion ensemble, and led a field trip to the National African-American Music Museum in Nashville. “DYS has opened up doors for me to do what I think I’m gifted to do. Our director Brandon Watkins’ motto is ‘We’re all in.’ I’ve taken that to heart and have tried to impact the Kurtistyne White has worked with children at Decatur Youth Services for the youth and community as much as possible,” White said. past 18 years. She says it’s her calling. [JOHN GODBEY/LIVING 50 PLUS]
Kurtistyne White’s community involvement has included coaching a youth basketball team. [COURTESY PHOTO] 12 Decatur Living 50 Plus
During her time with Decatur Youth Services, White has reached hundreds of children. Growing up in the rural outskirts of Phenix City, White never imagined a future working with children. After graduating from high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army. After seven years in the service, with stints at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, Indiana; Fort Hood, Texas; and Fort Stewart, Georgia; White, pregnant with her second child and married to a fellow Army soldier, returned to civilian life. With children in tow, White followed her then-husband to bases around the country. Her goal — be the best mom possible. “My mom made me who I am today. Mom was our rock and did whatever she needed to do so we could just be kids,” White said. “That’s what I wanted to do for my kids.”
White trained at a police academy and worked as a corrections officer at a maximum security prison for women. When her husband received an honorable discharge from the military, the family settled in Decatur — the home of his parents — where White found a job in retail. After a divorce, White, needing to boost her income, became a TSA agent at Huntsville International Airport. But the 3 a.m. to noon shift interfered with her top priority — her children. “I wanted to be able to participate in my sons’ activities,” White said. “To do that, I needed a job with different hours.” She found that job as a paraprofessional with Decatur City Schools 19 years ago. “I’m currently at Austin Junior High School with a student I have been with since third grade. I tell him we are going to graduate together in 2026. He is like family to me,” White said. To supplement her income, White searched for a parttime job that wouldn’t take time away from her children. That’s when she saw Jones at Walmart. “He didn’t know me, but when I saw him, I knew I had to shoot my shot,” White said. “The last 18 years have been such a blessing.”
Kurtistyne White serves dinner to guests during Operation Thank You at Ingalls Harbor in 2017. The event was an effort by Decatur Youth Services and the Decatur Police Department to give back and thank the community for supporting officers. [FILE PHOTO]
drive. She has also given us the opportunity to attend events, like Juneteenth and the City Council meeting,” said 14-year-old Vega Zaman, who recited the Emancipation Proclamation during a Juneteenth event this year. Watching Zaman at the Juneteenth celebration gave White a sense of pride and fulfillment. “They are just blooming. They can achieve whatever they want to achieve,” White said. Humble and gracious, White deflected the success of the programs to the community. “There hasn’t been anyone in the community to say, ‘No,’ when we needed help,” White said. “There have been so many people that have poured into these programs.” Among them are Carol Puckett, who directed Decatur Youth Services’ “The Wiz,” Monte Johnson’s New Way Out organization and Jerraud Powers’ Team Freeze. Her reach extends beyond DYS. During the pandemic, White organized outdoor Vacation Bible School experiences for children. And, recently, she spearheaded the creation of nine Village Libraries. Decatur Youth Services’ Kurtistyne White, left, and Kesia Benford put school Placed around Decatur, the cases contain books children supplies into backpacks in 2020 as they prepare for the organization’s annual Back 2 School Jam. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS] can borrow for free. “The mission is to try to set the libraries in areas where Among the programs she is involved with, White named children may not have immediate access to books,” said Girls Connected for a Cause, or GC4C, as the most rewarding. White, who erected the first one at Decatur Place a year ago “It is a civic engagement program for girls I started several in honor of her mother. “She is the one who introduced me years ago. It’s about teaching them they can have a voice and to books. She was a very avid reader.” don’t have to wait until they are adults to make change in The newest Village Library is in memory of MJ Moultry their community,” White said. Jr., the Decatur 4-year-old shot and killed in Chicago last year. Through the program, the girls participated in the “It is at Julian Harris Elementary, where he would have remembrance walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in attended school,” White said. Selma. They attended women’s history events in Decatur With each passing year, White, the mother of three sons and Huntsville, where they met Gov. Kay Ivey. And they and grandmother of eight, becomes more involved in the arranged a voter registration drive in 2020. community. “Mrs. White leads our group to do different things to “I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t see what I do as work. impact the community, like doing the voter registration This is my calling and I love it,” White said. Decatur Living 50 Plus 13
TRAIL HAS ENERGY TO BUILD MULTIPLE PROJECTS, INCLUDING MINIATURE
Bill Trail walks with his dog, Chloe, through some of the features that he built in his backyard from scratch. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
By WES TOMLINSON Staff Writer
t the crack of dawn and then again into the sunset each evening, Bill Trail works on projects at his Southeast Decatur house, and he recently completed a miniature Stonehenge replica in his front yard. Trail, 61, has a strict work ethic that enables him to work and ultimately
14 Decatur Living 50 Plus
finish multiple projects, such as a stone walkway, a pergola, and a man cave he created by remodeling an old room in his house. “I dedicate two hours a day, every day, to each project and I only sleep four to five hours each night,” Trail said. Trail’s Stonehenge took him three years to build and he said the
main objective was to cut down on lawncare maintenance. “I hate to mow. My whole object was to never mow again,” Trail said. During the Stonehenge replica’s construction, Trail collected stones from along Seven Mile Post Road in Athens, Swan Creek in Tanner and Indian Creek on Lookout Mountain, a mountain ridge that spans through
Bill Trail built a Stonehenge replica on his Harrison Street Southeast house’s front yard in Decatur. He said the miniature of the famous prehistoric monument in England took him almost two years to complete and it’s not only built to scale, but also has the exact same geographical orientation as the original. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. He said he kept collecting enough stones until he found the right shapes. “All of the stones came natural, no chiseling at all,” Trail said. Stonehenge is a prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire, England, and Trail Bill Trail collected the stones for his Stonehenge replica from Swan Creek in Tanner, Seven Mile Post Road in Athens has placed the stones of his replica in and Indian Creek near Lookout Mountain. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS] the same geographic orientation as the original. He said he plans to visit the Trail grew up in DeKalb County in It was in Huntsville that he decided real Stonehenge either this December northeast Alabama and later moved to start a carpet store that now has or next June during the summer sol- to Huntsville where he met his wife locations in Madison and Decatur. stice. The original Stonehenge monu- Kathy. The Trails then moved to Killen “I started Rock Bottom Carpets ment aligns toward sunrise on the su- and then later to Decatur, where they (in 1996) with $383,” Trail said. “I mmer solstice. have been living for the last 25 years. was living out of my car, going Decatur Living 50 Plus 15
Bill Trail built a pergola and several water features in his backyard with materials he either traded for or found. “I didn’t buy anything,” he says. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
Bill Trail has used many rocks with fossils like this one to build some of the features in his backyard. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
Bill Trail stands on a deck he built behind his house. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
through a divorce and I didn’t have nothing.” Trail and his friend Bo Kyne started the company together and have known each other for more than 20 years, but Kyne still can’t figure out what fuels Trail’s work ethic. “He’s got an abundance of energy and he certainly has it on several different tangents,” Kyne said. “I wish he could bottle some of that energy
and give it to me. Where he gets it, I don’t know.” Through his clientele at Rock Bottom Carpets, Trail has traded for or located discarded materials that he uses for his projects. He says he has never had to spend any money on materials because of this. With all these materials, Trail has constructed a stone walkway in front of his house and a pergola and several
16 Decatur Living 50 Plus
water features full of vegetation and lawn ornaments in his backyard. Trail is currently in the planning stage of building a larger Stonehenge replica on an acre of land he owns on County Road 87 on the border of Lawrence County and Morgan County. “This one is going to be three times as big,” Trail said. “I’m talking about 400- (to) 510-pound blocks.”
How to stay MENTALLY SHARP AFTER RETIREMENT INDIVIDUALS CAN EMBRACE SOME STRATEGIES TO STAY MENTALLY SHARP IN RETIREMENT. By METRO NEWS
f asked to describe how they envision retirement, many professionals might reference travel, time spent with grandchildren and various recreational pursuits. Few, if any, would mention cognitive decline. However, cognitive decline poses a significant threat to aging men and women, especially during retirement.
Thankful to our communities for calling and keeping us busy through 2021! Our families appreciate YOU!
Shane Jones, President
Decatur Living 50 Plus 17
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Researchers have long since recognized that certain · Make exercise part of your retirement routine. cognitive abilities begin to decline with advanced age, A lack of structure may seem enticing to individuals even among elderly individuals who are healthy. However, who have spent decades working. However, many despite that decline, the Centers for Disease Control retirees find that little structure loses it appeal quickly and Prevention notes that dementias like Alzheimer’s after calling it quits. When creating a new routine disease are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, the in retirement, include regular exercise. According to CDC estimates that as many as 40 percent of dementia the Mayo Clinic, studies indicate that people who are cases may be prevented or delayed. In addition, the CDC physically active are less likely to experience a decline reports that it’s not uncommon for routine memory, in their mental function. So daily exercise not only gives skills and knowledge to stabilize or even improve as the retirees something to do, but also benefits their brains. brain ages. That’s good news for retirees who want to spend · Enroll in an adult education course. A 2014 study their post-work life pursuing their passions and hobbies. published in the journal JAMA Neurology examined the Individuals also can embrace some strategies to stay association between lifetime intellectual enrichment mentally sharp in retirement. and cognitive decline in the older population. The study’s authors found that higher levels of late-life · Consider delaying retirement. Even if early cognitive activity were associated with higher levels retirement is a dream, it might be better to work a of cognition. The study’s authors concluded that little longer than you had planned. A 2021 study lifetime intellectual enrichment might delay the onset published in the journal SSM - Population Health found of cognitive impairment. Retirees can look into adult that postponed retirement is beneficial to cognitive learning programs at local colleges and universities to function for all genders, races/ethnicities, educational see if anything piques their interest. levels, and professional status. The study reported that Retirement can be everything professionals hope it individuals who waited until age 67 to retire experienced will be, especially for those who make a concerted effort less cognitive decline than those who retired prior to to maintain optimal cognitive function after they call it turning 67. a career.
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Decatur Living 50 Plus 19
Classic style RETIRED EDUCATOR CAMERON LOVES RESTORING, SHOWING AND DRIVING OLD CARS By BRUCE MCLELLAN Living 50 Plus
ob Cameron has an expression he uses when discussing some of the classic cars he has
owned. “You don’t see yourself coming in that one very often,” Cameron said recently. He was referring to the red, 1948 Cadillac convertible that he restored and has kept for more than 20 years in his Southwest Decatur garage and workshop. Cameron prefers driving a unique automobile. “I like something different,” he said. “Everybody’s got a ’34 Ford. There’s millions of them out there.” Ironically, when Cameron is driving his hobby cars — whether it’s the Cadillac convertible, a 1934 Buick 67 series he also owns or the 1965 Dodge Coronet he used to drive while serving as Austin High assistant principal — you do see the retired Decatur educator coming. 20 Decatur Living 50 Plus
Passion for cars
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, during the ’1950s, Cameron, now 69, developed a love for automobiles, including those from the ’1930s and ’40s that were still on used car lots. “I just liked them,” he said. “When I was a kid, my grandpa had an old car in the garage. I wanted it, and they wouldn’t let me have it. I was 10 or 12 years old.” As he got older, he worked and saved his money. “When I turned 16, I got my driver’s license and bought a car before I got home. I’ve had them ever since. ... Before I went to college I had five or six.” When he went to junior college at what is now Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio, he and his friends would check out junkyards. He met his future wife, Hannah, the daughter of a Nazarene minister, at the college. “One of our first dates, Hannah and me, we went to a junkyard up in Ohio,” he said. Cameron, who finished college at Olivet Nazarene University, began
buying and restoring old cars in the late 1980s after having previously owned and driven muscle cars. “I just kind of got tired of them and wanted the old stuff,” he said. A salvaged sign that used to promote products in Chapel Hill Market now hangs on a wall in his workshop/ garage and lists some of the more than two dozen classic and muscle cars he has owned — from a 1934 Hudson 8 to a 1957 Chevy and 1986 Porsche 911. “We’ve had numerous cars. Just ask my wife,” he says with a chuckle.
The 1948 Cadillac convertible that he takes for occasional pleasure drives with Hannah and displays at car shows, including Decatur’s 3rd Friday, is a good example of what’s involved in finding and restoring a classic car. The convertible wasn’t even in one piece when he bought it, and just acquiring it in 2001 from the previous owner in Hartselle took good timing. “I’d been trying to buy it for two years,” Cameron said. “He wouldn’t sell it to me. He called me up right
after 9/11 and said, ‘You want to buy this Cadillac? I said, ‘Yeah.’ “Well, I went down and bought it. I had it here about six or eight months and I was down at his place. He said, ‘You know why I sold you that car don’t you?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘I thought we were going to war.’ “He was trying to get money up because he thought we were going to war.” The car was in several pieces that Cameron hauled to his home, and he began to search on the internet to find parts to put it back together. It didn’t have a left door, top, front end, motor or transmission. “But it was a good car,” he said. “The floors were good. The trunk was good.” Cameron started buying other cars to salvage parts from them. Son Zach Cameron remembered, “It took five Cadillacs to build that one.” The parts cars weren’t convertibles, just other Cadillacs, Bob Cameron explained. “The front end and things are all the same,” he said. “I bought three Cadillacs in Ohio and hauled them down here and had them behind the garage. We got pieces off of them for years. Finally hauled them off because the neighbors were starting to point.” He paid a mechanic in Louisville, Kentucky, to put the engine in the Cadillac convertible and had it painted in Cullman, but trying to find replacements for the torn, rusted chrome spears on each of the back quarter-panels was tougher. “I found another guy who had a Cadillac convertible. … The spears were perfect. I said where did you find those? He said, ‘Oh, this guy made them for me.’” Cameron asked for the number of the craftsman, who was in his 80s, and called him in Cleveland, Ohio. Cameron then spent more than a year on a waiting list to have the spears custom-made. “They weren’t cheap,” Cameron said. “He must have been quite a craftsman.” The spears helped the car have an authentic appearance after a decadelong restoration.
The chrome spears on the back quarter panels of Bob Cameron’s 1948 Cadillac convertible were custom made after he was on a waiting list for more than a year. [JERONIMO NISA/LIVING 50 PLUS]
“This car looks stock, but it’s got an LT1 (Chevrolet engine) in it, power steering, four-wheel disc breaks, air conditioning. It just looks stock. That’s the way I like It. The seats are out of a Honda. The center console’s out of a Cadillac.” When restoring cars, Cameron does tasks like reassembly of the parts and rough body repair. “A friend of mine from church did the interior,” he said of the Cadillac. “But I put the seats in and the console. He just covered the seats.”
Although Cameron has sold all but two of the cars he has restored over the years, he said he’s not in the hobby for profit. He said unless you can repaint the cars yourself, it’s hard to make any money on restorations because you have to invest so much in spare parts, engines and painting. “I just do it,” he said. “I just enjoyed doing it.” Cameron spent 33-plus years in Decatur’s school system. He started out as a PE teacher and basketball coach at Brookhaven Middle School. He later served as assistant principal at what was then Oak Park Middle and at Austin High before being named
principal at alternative schools CASE and Horizon. He retired in 2007. Hannah spent 27 years teaching elementary school at West Morgan. The couple’s sons and daughtersin-law — Zach and his wife Candice, and Matt and his wife Brooke — are also all educators. Zach is assistant principal at Decatur Middle, which replaced Oak Park Middle, his dad’s former school. Bob Cameron’s car hobby was wellknown in the school system. “As long as I can remember, Bob has been into old cars,” said Ed Nichols, former Austin High principal and Decatur City Schools superintendent who is now Madison City Schools’ superintendent. “He loves old cars.” Nichols said he remembers Cameron taking “all of us at Austin
A sign hanging in Bob Cameron’s garage/workshop lists many of the more than two dozen classic and muscle cars he has owned. [JERONIMO NISA/ LIVING 50 PLUS] Decatur Living 50 Plus 21
Cameron says his favorite from all the cars he has owned was probably the 1934 Hudson 8 that he later sold. “Man, I loved that car. I drove it eight years and it just got too small. A guy in Florence bought it. I talked to him (earlier this year) and he sold it to another lady we know in Madison. So now it’s in Madison. It was on the cover of a magazine. It was a cool little car. “You just want something different (after a while). But I kind of wish I had kept that car. It was so unique. There The 1934 Buick was used in the wedding of Bob Cameron’s son, Zach, and daughter-in-law, Candice. [COURTESY PHOTO]
High around to visit the floats for homecoming” and later “he drag-raced down the Beltline.” Cameron says the 1941 Cadillac limousine he remembers driving on that tour probably didn’t have enough pep for drag racing. Cameron retired from the school system in 2007 and says his auto restoration activities, including his current work on old square-bodied trucks, has been a good way to spend time. “You got all day to do it,” he said. “But the problem is, like it or not, when you get to be (almost) 70 years old it’s hard to get down and get underneath of (cars).” “… That’s why I fool with those trucks. I redo the inside. I like doing that because it gives you something to think about and it gives you somewhere to go. Rather than sit in the house or sit on the deck, you come down in the garage open it up and tinker. You tinker three or four hours and go do something else. … “Normally I buy an old truck and I just tinker with it, fix a few things, just to give me something to do. … If you don’t, you’ll end up watching ‘Gunsmoke.’ And I’ve seen all the ‘Gunsmokes’ and Andy Griffiths.”
Ownership of classic cars isn’t all work. He and Hannah also enjoy going to
22 Decatur Living 50 Plus
car shows, including the Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Shades of the Past in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. “One of the best things we’ve done with cars is make a lot of friends, a lot of good friends,” Cameron said. “You see them every year and you talk to them. A lot of people you only know them by their car. You don’t know their name. You just know, ‘Oh that dude’s got a ’33 Dodge or something. I remember him.’” Cameron usually puts his Cadillac on a trailer to take it to Louisville to keep the front end from collecting bugs and dirt on the road. He has driven old cars to shows, and that can have consequences. “When you’re in an old car, it’s an old car. They break down,” he said of one year they took his 1934 Hudson 8 to the Kentucky show. “We were coming back from Louisville, running about 70 miles an hour on (Interstate) 65. Hannah was with me. The speedometer went ‘uurumph.’ It just shut off. “There you are on the side of the road. If you’re going to have an old car, you’re going to end up on the side of the road.” They ended up putting the car on a rollback truck, and he rode home in its cab while Hannah rode with friends who had been following them.
Bob Cameron’s youngest son and daughter-in-law, Zach and Candice, left their wedding in his 1934 Buick 67 series. As a 67 series auto, it didn’t have a built-in trunk like a regular car. [JERONIMO NISA/ LIVING 50 PLUS]
was only 10 or 12 of them in the United States like that.” He has held onto the Cadillac convertible, he said, because “I just like it. I like to just look at it. I haven’t driven it much. That thing hasn’t got 2,000 miles on it since I built it. I get it out on nice nights or I’ll take it to 3rd Friday. The sun’s gone down, put the top down and take it down there. Or we’ll get it out at nighttime and ride the back roads out here. That’s about all it gets.” He also has held onto the 1934 Buick 67 four-door sedan for about 11 years, partly because it has sentimental value for Zach and Candice. “I’ve come down here three or four times to put it the internet and sell it,” Bob Cameron said. “But every time I do, my wife and my son and his wife get upset because that’s the car they left the wedding in.” They don’t want to see anybody else coming in that car.
A summer dessert that is just peachy
TODAY’S COBBLER BAKERS ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF HAVING MORE DIRECTION WHEN PUTTING TOGETHER THEIR DESSERTS. THIS RECIPE FOR “SOUTHERN PEACH COBBLER” COMES COURTESY OF PAULA DEEN. By METRO NEWS
eaches are a nutritious summertime favorite. Peaches are antioxidant-rich, include a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and are rich in fiber. And there is no denying how sweet and tasty peaches can be, whether they’re plucked right from a tree or enjoyed in any number of recipes. Cobbler is a type of dessert that gained popularity in the United States during the 19th century. It is made by putting fruit in a deep baking dish and then topping it with a drop
24 Decatur Living 50 Plus
biscuit batter and sometimes a crumb topping. Any number of fruits work well in cobblers, including apples, pears and various berries. However, peach cobbler is the quintessential summertime treat. Cobbler gets its name from the fact that early American settlers didn’t have strict recipes with exact measurements for ingredients, so they took what they had and “cobbled” them together. Today’s cobbler bakers enjoy the benefits of having more direction when putting together their desserts. This recipe for “Southern Peach Cobbler” comes courtesy of Paula Deen.
Southern Peach Cobbler SERVES 15
▶ 1/2 cup water ▶ 2 cups sugar, divided
▶ 1 cup milk ▶G round cinnamon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
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▶ 1 stick butter
▶ 4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
▶ 11/2 cups self-rising flour
Decatur Living 50 Plus 25
By METRO NEWS
HOW TO PLAN
for a post-50 CAREER CHANGE INDIVIDUALS MULLING A CAREER CHANGE AFTER 50 CAN TAKE THESE STEPS TO MAKE SUCH A TRANSITION LESS RISKY.
rofessionals change careers for many reasons. Some do so in pursuit of a higher salary, while others seek a more even balance between their personal and professional lives. Career changes can renew a person’s passion for working, which can grow stale for individuals who have been doing the same job for years on end. Though there’s not necessarily a bad time to change careers, there are times when making such a transition carries more risk. Such is the case for individuals over 50. Many individuals over 50 may not have the financial obligations they had when they were younger, as children may have grown up and moved out of the house. That can make changing careers after 50 more palatable. However, some individuals in their 50s may be hesitant to leave the security of an established career behind in favor of something new. Hesitance about job prospects after 50 also can make some less likely to take the plunge into a new career.
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Though hesitancy about a career change after 50 is understandable, a recent survey from the American Institute for Economic Research found that 82 percent of workers who responded to the survey were able to successfully transition to a new career after age 45. In addition, projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that labor force participation among individuals aged 65 and over would increase significantly by 2022, nearly doubling the rate of participation in 1990. Those figures suggest that a midlife career change is not necessarily the same thing as a late-career career change. That should give professionals the confidence they need to successfully transition to a new career. Individuals mulling a career change after 50 also can take these steps to make such a transition less risky.
time to save, and a financial advisor can help adults over 50 come up with a new retirement plan that reflects their willingness to work longer. Delaying retirement also means delaying withdrawals from retirement savings accounts, which can provide peace of mind against a loss of income resulting from a career change.
· Pay down as much debt as possible. Financial freedom can be an ally for individuals 50 and over who want to change careers. Career changes often require a pay cut, so individuals who can pay off their mortgages, consumer debts and/or auto loans prior to making a career change may find the transition to a lower income goes more smoothly than it might if they’re still carrying such sizable financial commitments.
· Go back to school. Much like young people go to college before entering the professional arena, adults over 50 who want to change careers may need to go back to school to improve their career prospects. Remote learning and parttime schooling can make juggling a career and school more manageable.
· Make plans to delay retirement. As BLS data indicates, individuals who want to delay retirement certainly won’t be alone. Delaying retirement affords individuals more
· Downsize your lifestyle. Even a post-50 career change that will require a significant drop in income can be doable for professionals who downsize their lifestyles. Empty nesters can consider moving into a smaller home, while travelers can cut back on the number of trips they take each year. Cutbacks won’t necessarily be easy, but they can be worth it for individuals looking for new career challenges.
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Decatur Living 50 Plus 27
Recent changes in credit reporting By ALABAMA EXTENSION SERVICE
hanges have recently been made to credit reporting that could have a positive impact on consumers. It’s important to continue to monitor your credit report and know your score. This will help individuals manage debt and prepare for the future. The new changes could potentially help to improve the consumer’s credit score which will help them in obtaining future credit.
Changes to Medical Debt In the past, medical debt has been a barrier to individuals working towards improving their credit score. For various reasons, people have found themselves with insurmountable medical debt as a result of the lack of insurance, longterm illness, and the inability to pay these high costs—just to name a few. Medical debt has worked like other debt, remaining on your credit report for seven years after the account has closed. Beginning July 1, 2022, 28 Decatur Living 50 Plus
consumers will welcome a change to this reporting. Paid medical collection debt will no longer show on credit reports. Another change to medical debt is the amount of time given to individuals to take care of unpaid bills before they are turned over to the credit bureaus. In the past, individuals had 180 days (six months) to take care of their debt by paying it off or working with the creditor to make payment arrangements. Also effective, July 1, 2022, the time period will be extended. Individuals will now have a year to pay off their medical debt or work out those payment arrangements. This provides the consumer enough time to contact and negotiate a payment plan with the creditor to avoid the debt being reported to the credit bureaus. This also provides enough time for consumers to make sure that everything is processed correctly with their insurance companies and healthcare providers. During the first half of 2023, consumers will notice an additional change to medical debt reporting. Medical debt collection accounts
under at least $500 will no longer be included on consumer credit reports. These upcoming changes to medical debt reporting could result in a credit score increase. Monitor your credit report and watch for these changes. Keep in mind, it is important to consistently monitor your report and file a dispute if there are any inaccuracies. Request your free credit report at www. annualcreditreport.com. Consumers can request a free credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. We are all entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau annually. However, each credit bureau is offering free weekly credit reports through the end of this year. Also, keep in mind you will need to pay a small fee to obtain a reliable credit score.
Buy Now, Pay Later Have you taken advantage of the offer to buy now, pay later? This is a common practice that consumers have taken advantage of, with more and more retailers offering this service. Some of these firms are Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay. These services work like a credit card, allowing you to make a purchase and make payments later. Until now, these types of accounts have not been reported to credit bureaus. This change took effect in February with Buy Now, Pay Later accounts being reported to all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If the buy now, pay later provider chooses to report your activity it can impact your score. Just with any type of account, if payments are made on time, you could see an increase in your credit score. However if payments are not made on time, this could result in a decrease in your credit score. Practice monitoring your credit report and credit score on a regular basis as a part of your financial health. By practicing good financial habits, these changes may help you as the consumer with your credit health and financial future.
Kenneth Stuart, 81, sizes a ring in his Priceville store. He advises other seniors to stay active. “Do something instead of sitting there and watching the box,” he says. [MICHAEL WETZEL/LIVING 50 PLUS]
STILL SPARKLING AT 81 JEWELER STAYS ACTIVE HELPING OTHERS, REFURBISHING VINTAGE ITEMS
By MICHAEL WETZEL Living 50 Plus
RICEVILLE — For 81-year-old Kenneth Stuart, going to work every day is the “medicine” that keeps him alive and active. Manager of The Jeweler and More business in Priceville for the past seven years, Stuart said it is important for him and other seniors to stay busy with something they enjoy. “It is what keeps me going,” Stuart said about his business specializing in vintage jewelry. “This place is my pillbox. This is what gets me out of bed every day. I love it every day. I know I am helping people.” Decatur Living 50 Plus 29
behind Jimmy Smith,” he said. Smith later went on to open his own successful jewelry business in Decatur. Stuart joined Ira’s Book and Gift Shop on East Moulton Street in Decatur working for Ira Chennell and later bought her secondary business in Russellville, which had a watch repair shop in the same building. He moved his wife and two children to Russellville. He has two daughters and three grown sons, and grandchildren. “I later got out of the jewelry business and took a job going around closing out jewelry stores,” he said. “It was very rewarding to me and my family. But I moved back to Decatur to help care for the woman who raised me and got back in the business. I’ve stood behind counters as a jeweler for over 30 years. I found a niche opening a vintage jewelry store.”
Kenneth Stuart has worked in the jewelry business since the late 1950s. [MICHAEL WETZEL/LIVING 50 PLUS]
Stuart said the jewelry industry has been good to him and his family. His three sons are all bench jewelers, including Kelly Stuart, owner of Kelly’s Jewelers in Decatur. Kenneth Stuart’s two daughters also have worked in the jewelry industry, he said. Raised on a farm by foster parents William and Pearl Kelly, founders of the church that became Beltline Church of Christ, Stuart said he was taught to “get up early, work hard and work late.” He grew up in the Moulton Heights neighborhood of Decatur and still lives in the city. Son Kelly is named for the family that raised him. 30 Decatur Living 50 Plus
Kenneth Stuart said former Decatur High School principal Avery Roberts Jr. influenced him to “get a job and stay with it. Don’t jump from job to job.” Stuart said he was working at Clements Drug Store on Moulton Street as a teenager in Decatur in the late 1950s, when he was approached by Ralph Wyman, who asked him to help manage Diamond Jewelry. He said he has been in the jewelry business ever since. He said he left Diamond Jewelry because the manager there was Jimmy Smith. “He was very good at what he did and I knew I was in a dead end job
He said people bring him unwanted jewelry or jewelry their parents or grandparents owned at one time and ask him for suggestions on repairing or selling the items. “People come in with an old pocket watch that belonged to their grandfather. They’ll ask if it is fixable,” he said. “They want to use it, and I help them bring it back to life.” He said he uses a replica version of a 1897 Sears and Roebuck catalog and “The Complete Price Guide to Watches” as his two main sources of information on vintage jewelry. “This store is my medicine,” Stuart said. “It helps me stay active, be involved with the public and use my past years’ knowledge and experience to help people. I know I have something to give back to the jewelry industry. This store has been successful. I have helped the customers, and the customers have helped me.” Dealing in old jewelry, clocks, silverware, broaches, rings and even tools in the industry, Stuart said if he were 10 years younger he would open more vintage jewelry stores in north Alabama.
“You never know what’s coming through the door. I invite the public to bring grandmother’s old jewelry box in. We’ll go through everything, and I will tell them what is junk and what is valuable — gold, silver, watches,” he said. “If the family doesn’t want it any more, I will make them an offer and try to refurbish it and put it back in the counter to sell. I can size rings, reset diamonds. I can bring these old rings back to life at my bench. The business has really taken off in the seven years I’ve had it open.” He said the business is owned by his family.
He advises other seniors to stay active and get away from a routine of watching television most of the day. “If you’re retired, instead of going home and sitting on their butt and watching TV and getting overweight and getting unhealthy, find something in their trade that is similar to what
they can do,” he said. “Volunteer time, teach young people. Do something instead of sitting there and watching the box, getting depressed and doing nothing but sit there all day long, or going with a cup a coffee with friends and doing nothing.” He said retired men could spend more time with their spouses, helping them with “chores around the house, wash dishes, fold clothes, whatever she might need.” “Do something with your church. Give your wife some freedom, be involved with her life. Don’t let her to continue to be like a maid,” Stuart said. “Because you are retired, doesn’t mean your body and your mind retire. Keep your mind and body doing something, then your health will stay with you.” He said he had the coronavirus last year and the doctor told him his good health habits helped save his life. “If I had been less (sharp) physically and mentally, I might not be here today,” he said. “Don’t wait until you
realize you are out of shape, overweight. Start early to keep your mind and body in shape. It’s harder to keep that body in shape.” “My fun is to run this store,” he added. “I try to take care of myself, take care of my home, take care of my business. Eat properly. Now is the time to live. Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow is yet to be born. I live for today. You have no assurance you will see tomorrow. That’s been my philosophy for many years.” Former Priceville Town Councilman Jerry Welch said he remembers introducing himself to Stuart when he opened the business seven years ago. “I quickly realized he was knowledgeable about a lot in different areas. He knows about jewelry, collectibles, cast iron skillets,” Welch said. “He helps me do the background checks on some items. We’ve become close friends. My wife and I shop there. He’s been really good to this community.”
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Decatur Living 50 Plus 31
DID YOU KNOW?
WHY SOME CELEBRATE V-J DAY IN AUGUST AND SOME IN SEPTEMBER
the only state with a holiday specifically dedicated to V-J Day, officially called Victory Day. It is celebrated on the second Monday in August. World War II was a long and bloody conflict that involved many world powers. It ultimately came to its end in mid-August with victory over Japan on a date that still bears deep meaning today.
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orld War II was a devastating conflict that involved countries around the globe. The deadliest war in military history, World War II claimed some 70 million civilians and military personnel. By the beginning of 1945, Germans were largely in retreat, and by May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered to the western Allies. However, the fight against Japan raged on. Throughout the summer of 1945, Allied troops faced Japanese forces. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6 and another on Nagasaki three days later. On August 14, 1945, Japan unconditionally surrendered by a radio address from Emperor Hirohito, a day that has come to be called Victory Over
32 Decatur Living 50 Plus
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WHAT TO DO ABOUT
WELLNESS AFTER 50
ONCE INDIVIDUALS CROSS THE THRESHOLD AND ENTER THEIR 50S, THEY CAN LOOK TO SOME ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES TO MAINTAIN THEIR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELL-BEING FOR DECADES TO COME. By METRO NEWS
eaching one’s fiftieth birthday in optimal health is an accomplishment to be proud of. The hard work required to be healthy in midlife includes 34 Decatur Living 50 Plus
adhering to a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. Once individuals cross the threshold and enter their 50s, they can look to some additional strategies to maintain their physical and mental well-being for decades to come.
▶ GET A PET. Many people 50 and older qualify as “empty nesters,” a term applied to adults whose children have grown up and moved out of their homes. Some empty nesters experience a phenomenon known as “empty nest
syndrome,” which the Mayo Clinic notes can be marked by feelings of sadness or loss. Pets can help people over 50 with no children at home overcome feelings linked to empty nest syndrome. In 2018, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 86 percent of pet owners felt their pets make them feel loved while 73 percent said their pets provided a sense of purpose. Pets also can ensure individuals over 50 stay physically active and provide opportunities to connect with other people.
▶ PRIORITIZE LEARNING. Whether it’s taking music lessons, going back to school or mastering a new hobby, learning has a profound effect on aging brains. For example, a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science found that memory function is improved by engagement in demanding
everyday tasks. That study reported that people who learned new skills experienced greater memory improvement than people who only socialized or participated in activities that were not as cognitively engaging.
▶ MAKE AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE BALANCE. Various factors contribute to a decline in balance as adults age. For example, a decline in muscle mass that begins when people are in their 30s is a normal part of aging. Over time, that natural decline affects strength and agility. Balance exercises can be a valuable component of a fitness regimen that help individuals reduce their risk for falling as they advance through their 50s and into their 60s and 70s. That’s a significant benefit, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of
every three adults age 65 and older experiences a fall each year, and as many as 30 percent of those falls lead to serious injury.
▶ EMBRACE YOUR INNER SOCIALITE. Socialization is important for people of all ages, including individuals 50 and over. A 2017 study from researchers at Michigan State found that valuing friendships was a strong predictor of health and happiness among older adults. Opportunities to socialize with friends may increase as people navigate their 50s and children move out or become more independent. Individuals can take advantage of opportunities to socialize whenever possible. Various strategies can help people maintain mental and physical wellness as they make their way through their 50s and beyond.
DID YOU KNOW?
MEN AND WOMEN WHO TRAVEL HAVE A LOWER RISK OF HEART ATTACKS By METRO NEWS
en and women may have more free time after 50 than they had in previous decades. As children grow more independent and even leave the house, parents look to various activities, including travel, to fill their free time. Travel is often seen as a luxury but heading off for parts unknown can produce some serious health benefits.
A joint study from the Global Coalition on Aging and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that women who vacation at least twice a year have a lower risk for heart attack than those who travel once every six years. The study also found that men who do not take annual vacations are at a significantly higher risk of death (20 percent) and heart disease (30 percent)
than those who make who take time to get away each year. Vacations don’t even need to be long to produce significant, positive results. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that a fourday long weekend vacation positively affected well-being, recovery, strain, and perceived stress for as long as 45 days. Decatur Living 50 Plus 35
How to find the right
VACATION RENTAL INDIVIDUALS CAN CONSIDER THESE TIPS WHEN SELECTING A VACATION RENTAL. By METRO NEWS
acations present an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, often recharging mind and body in the process. In fact, using vacation time can reduce stress and improve overall health. While there is a certain measure of work that goes into vacation planning, and for some it can be stressful to coordinate all of the details, vacationing benefits tend to exceed the hassle of planning. Anxiety can be avoided or at least reduced by finding optimal accommodations. For many, that includes a vacation home rental. Individuals can consider these tips when selecting a vacation rental.
WHY A VACATION RENTAL?
There are many different accommodations available for week-long getaways or shorter excursions. Oftentimes vacationers prefer a little more space than a standard hotel room can provide. A vacation home rental can be the type of place that prioritizes space and distance from others something that has become even more valuable during the global pandemic. Another advantage to a vacation rental is the ability to prepare some or all of the meals on the property. That can help corral expenses normally reserved for dining out for
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three meals a day. Instead, vacationers can pick one or more opportunities for special meals at restaurants and then cook “at home” for the remainder.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Travelers accustomed to staying in chain hotels and other resorts likely know what they are getting from the accommodations. That’s because these properties pride themselves on consistency. Whether you stay at a Marriott or Hyatt in one place or another, you’ll find similar furnishings, space and offerings. When it comes to vacation rentals, things are a little less predictable. However, scouring reviews on sites that advertise vacation rentals, or relying on the experiences of people you know increases the likelihood that you’ll find unique and satisfying vacation rentals.
PRIORITIZE NEEDS AND WANTS
Vacation rentals can be narrowed down by your desired amenities and features. For example, you can search by the number of bedrooms or for rentals that are petfriendly if you’re bringing a companion animal along. Maybe you need a property that is close to transportation or has shopping nearby? Make a list of desired items and then choose properties that check most, if not all, of those boxes.
CONSIDER EXEMPLARY HOSTS
Services like Airbnb and VRBO are two of the leading vacation home rental businesses. Airbnb has a category of Superhosts, who must boast at least a 4.8 rating to qualify. Superhosts tend to provide superior hospitality and respond to messages quite readily. Similarly, VRBO has Premier Hosts. They also consistently provide great experiences for guests. Choosing hosts with these ratings can help you feel more confident that you’ll be getting a desirable rental. Vacation home rentals often are a good option when spending time away. It’s easier than ever to find properties that will meet travelers’ needs.
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CHECK ALL RENTAL POLICIES
Read through rental agreements before diving in. Items to look at include cancellation policies and whether or not penalties will be charged. Some rentals pass cleaning fees on to the renters or require deposits that will be returned only if there is no damage to the property.
ASK FOR THE EXACT ADDRESS
Rental property advertisements post the best angles in photos to help disguise any shortcomings. Close-ups of the home may not showcase the neighborhood in which its located. By having the exact address in advance, you can do a street view on Google, Apple or another online map and see what is around the property - including how close it really is to amenities. “Near the beach” can be anything from one street to a few miles away.
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A beachfront property commands a premium price, as do rentals that are adjacent to specific points of interest or in major cities. If you’re willing to stay further away, you likely can save a considerable amount of money. Investigate parking options, public transportation or if beach towns allow golf cart rentals to make reaching amenities easier.
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HOW CRAFTING BENEFITS KIDS
GRANDPARENTS CAN HELP YOUNGSTERS DISCOVER THE JOYS OF CRAFTING CRAFTING AND CREATIVITY
By METRO NEWS
ids have boundless energy. Parents of young children can look to various activities to harness that energy, and crafting is one endeavor that makes use of kids’ enthusiasm and creativity. Craft projects are more than just a means to getting energetic youngsters to sit down and focus their attention. Crafting pays various dividends for youngsters, some of which may surprise parents and even grandparents.
CRAFTING AND HAND-EYE COORDINATION
Crafting helps children develop hand-eye coordination. The Illinois-based North Shore Pediatric Therapy notes that crafts that involve drawing shapes, cutting patterns and writing require youngsters to use their fine motor coordination. Coloring, drawing and cutting also require children to use their hands together, helping to develop and strengthen their hand-eye coordination. That development can help kids perform a host of additional tasks, including tying shoes, buttoning coats and eating independently.
Crafting presents a great opportunity for kids to explore their creativity. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to prioritize creative, unplugged playtime for infants and toddlers, and that can include time devoted to craft projects. Craft projects can include more complicated undertakings in which kids follow directions, or they can simply allow kids to create something from their own imaginations. Each type of project involves creating something new and encourages kids to develop their creative skills.
CRAFTING AND PATIENCE
Grandparents know that patience is not necessarily a virtue of young children. Craft projects, particularly those that require cutting and gluing, do not provide instant gratification because they require multiple steps and time to dry before they’re completed. North Shore Pediatric Therapy notes that such projects teach kids self-regulation because they require youngsters to exhibit self-control and patience until the project can be considered finished. Crafting is a fun activity for kids and it’s also one that benefits their development in some surprising ways.
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benefits of word games IN ADDITION TO THEIR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE, WORD GAMES MAY PROVIDE SOME BENEFITS THAT SURPRISE EVEN THE MOST DEVOTED WORDSMITHS.
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By METRO NEWS
ord games continue to be popular pastimes and provide a great opportunity to engage in lighthearted competition among family and friends. Wordle is perhaps the most popular word game to become popular in recent years. Created by software engineer and former Reddit employee Josh Wardle and launched in October 2021, Wordle was devised as a way to pass the time during the pandemic lockdown. Today it is played by millions of people and was even purchased by The New York Times Company in 2022. For those who are looking for something even newer, Knotwords, a word game created by Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger, is available on iOS, Android and Steam. It’s a mix between a word scramble, crossword puzzle and sudoku.
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There are scores of other word games for people to try. In addition to their entertainment value, these games may provide some benefits that surprise even the most devoted wordsmiths. ▶ Build your vocabulary: Word games enrich vocabulary and may introduce people to new words. They also may help reinforce spelling skills. ▶ Improve focus: Nowadays people are pulled in many directions and are expected to multitask more than ever. Word games in large part require focusing exclusively on the task at hand and employing strategy. ▶ Stimulate the brain: Word games require critical thinking skills that could stimulate the brain. Word games train the brain in a way that’s similar to how physical activity trains the body. ▶ Improve memory: According to WebMD, word games may help seniors avoid memory loss and possibly delay the onset of dementia. But seniors are not the only ones to benefit. Word games may improve shortterm memory and the cognitive abilities of people of all ages. ▶ Boosts feel-good substances: When a person is happy, the body releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters. Healthline indicates an “endorphin rush” often occurs after engaging in a fun activity. Endorphins are released by the hypothalamus
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and pituitary gland. Playing word games may release endorphins, which can improve mood, boost self-esteem and reduce pain and discomfort. These are just a handful of the many positive ways word games can affect the mind and body.
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