Families have always coped with the struggles of caregiving; but now, with nearly 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, the need for advanced senior care options is taking center stage in families across the nation. CNN reports that there are currently 43.5 million Americans taking care of someone over age 50, based on information from the Family Caregiver Alliance. And with boomers edging into that over-50 group, many are finding themselves simultaneously providing and requiring care in order to maintain an optimal quality of life.
Several months ago, I wrote a column detailing the role of global education in a comprehensive contemporary curriculum. Youth foreign language programs are central to the development of global citizenship; and no study of international cultures is truly complete without the incorporation of a language component. Experience with foreign languages teaches students a unique appreciation for other cultures – all while supplementing the greater goals of college preparatory coursework.
Caregiving of any kind comes with a fair share of stress; and for those who find themselves coping with aging parents or loved ones and acting as the primary caregiver, these stressors can be particularly acute and emotionally burdensome. But now, it turns out that men are even more vulnerable to eldercare stress than their female counterparts – and incidentally, the number of men taking on caregiving roles for aging family members has doubled over the past 15 years.
In a few short years, digital tablets have transformed the media landscape, moving swiftly from boardrooms to local businesses and today adding to a growing interest in digital media in education. Together with increasingly intuitive and connected social media platforms, tablets appear to represent the media of the future: and in a recent article for The Atlantic, one teacher makes the case for bringing that media into the classroom in order to effectively prepare today’s young people for communication and responsible citizenship in the world of tomorrow.
Taking care of aging loved ones – be they parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles – is a trying experience, and one for which few of us are innately prepared. Dealing with the complexities of a parent’s age, illness, mental and physical deterioration or even simple lifestyle adjustments can take its toll, and result in anxiety or, in some cases, even opportunistic or abusive behavior on the part of adult children who find themselves suddenly “parenting” their parents. When caring for your aging parents, it is therefore of the utmost importance to seek help at the first opportunity – and to create a trusted network of family, friends, community resources and geriatric care professionals who can be there to provide assistance, guidance, part-time care and financial advice for the sake of both your health and your loved one’s safety and comfort.
The Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, recently released a public notice putting investors and brokers in the securities industry on their guard when it comes to so-called complex products – that is, non-standard investment types including non-traded REITs, mortgage backed securities and real estate TICs. According to federal regulators at both FINRA and the SEC, these products are not only inappropriate for most investors, they are also beyond the comprehension of most brokers as well and thus unsuitable for promotion or sale. Regulatory Notice 12-03 is the fourth such warning to be issued by FINRA on the subject of these alternative investments, and it serves to reinforce the dangers associated with any products that suffer from limited liquidity and transparency as a result of their private trading context. Unfortunately, however, the opportunity for high commissions has led many firms to market and sell complex products in spite of these facts; and now FINRA is fighting to clarify and uphold regulations throughout the securities industry in order to discourage the oftentimes misleading sale or unsuspecting purchase of such products in the interests of investor protection.
With the dawn of a New Year comes a major milestone for the nation’s high school juniors, many of whom will soon be dealing with the excitement and anticipation of the college admissions process. Over the next few months, these students will prepare and send out carefully assembled applications – and wait with baited breath until discovering the results in the spring. But before all that, they must first figure out how to limit the countless options before them: and while there are plenty of popular resources available to help guide young people through the application process, customized college admission counseling is one of the best ways for students to navigate the vast array of college and university programs and find institutions to match their financial, social and academic needs with the benefit of individualized advice and assistance.
According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, an estimated 40-60 million Americans are currently involved in caring for aging loved ones – often without the aid of professional geriatric care managers and, as a result, also facing a unique set of needs and challenges that are predominantly ignored in our current political climate. Yet among the myriad issues raised during recent Occupy protests across the nation, rights for the frail elderly and their caregivers were notably absent. Why? One simple explanation is that caregivers often lack the time, motivation and support necessary to organize on behalf of their peers and aging parents. While there are several groups that do their best to represent caregivers within the political arena, it is often more practical and efficient for individuals struggling with elder care responsibilities to solicit the help of professional caregiving consultants for expert advice and guidance.
Non-traded REITs have received a lot of bad press in the past year (including coverage in our own securities and investment law column last month). But despite the many risks associated with such investments, it would seem that they are here to stay. In a recent Wall Street Journal report, experts noted that non-traded REITs have generated more than $73 billion in the last decade, despite the effects of a crippling recession. And that kind of profit, coupled with the attractive selling points of many real estate offerings, has industry commentators predicting that even government regulation and heightened scrutiny won’t suffice to pull these tricky investments from the market for good. Therefore, it is important for investors to have a firm grasp on the fine print when it comes to private placement and non-traded real estate investments; and to understand the steps that government agencies are taking on investors’ behalf in order to minimize their chances of being victimized by real estate investment fraud.
In his best-selling book A Whole New Mind, author Dan Pink argues that, in order to effectively prepare today’s young people for the future – not as we once imagined it, but rather as it inevitably will be – educators must revise the way they teach children and, in the process, rethink their approach to arts in education. As Pink sees it, left-brain skills – those associated with logical, analytical thinking and precise, linear assessment – are undeniably essential to the ultimate pursuit of opportunity and success in the workplace. But at the same time, these capabilities alone are not enough to prepare students for the unpredictability of the future; and in our ever-changing society, the ability to balance sharp analysis with holistic vision, precision with big-picture thinking and factual details with empathy and creativity is increasingly in demand.
Independent schools have taken this balanced approach to heart, and are striving to educate the whole mind – right and left