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Times You Should Never Pay Cash

Use credit to pay utility bills

Shopping and e-commerce concept. Miniature people : Close up of miniature businessman on smart card and laptop keyboard.noppawan09/Shutterstock“Don’t use cash or direct payments from your checking account for regular monthly bills like cable, telephone or utilities. Use credit cards,” says David Walters, a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group. Unlike random, perhaps frivolous, charges to your credit card, these types of bills need to get paid every month. Most companies now accept payment via credit card without any additional charges, so by paying these with a credit card instead of cash, you can take advantage of the benefits of your credit card, such as earning miles or cash back on purchases. It’s a freebie for an expense that you’re going to pay anyway.

“The caveat here is that this only applies to people who pay their credit card bills in full each month. If you’re only making partial payments on the credit card each month, then the interest that accrues on the outstanding balance would negate any benefit to paying monthly utility bills with your credit card,” adds Walters.

Separate business from pleasure

Miniature figures of Two business man standing on road selecting way to walk as decision making on white notebook paper drawing line with copyspace - business success backgroun conceptBlueBoeing/ShutterstockYou should never pay with cash when you’re purchasing something for your business. “You need a paper trail to identify something as a business expense so you can deduct it on your tax return. If the IRS ever audits you, it’s also much easier to pull up a record if you pay with credit card, check, or a wire from your business bank account,” says Priyanka Prakash, a content writer for Fundera, a platform for small business loans.

Keep vendors in check

Miniature people: workers transport coins money with car, Concept of financial,retail,money saving and business.Rattana.R/ShutterstockYou may think a service provider did a good job, but time will tell. “When paying for auto repairs, home improvements, or other services where defects in the service provided may not become obvious for some time after the service is complete, paying by credit card offers another layer of protection,” says attorney Eric Ridley.

Finance your car

Miniature business man with model car on white background, business conceptsirirak kaewgorn/ShutterstockPat yourself on the back if you saved up enough to pay cash for a car. But if you have good credit, you may be better off financing a car purchase at the low rates available today (between .99 and 3.99 percent for buyers with very good credit).

“If, for example, you are going to spend $20,000 for a car, you could instead put 20 percent down and take the $16,000 and invest it. While you will incur an interest cost on your declining balance, you can take advantage of compounding returns on an increasing investment balance,” says Richard Best, a writer for dontpayfull.com. Just don’t make that move with one of the 8 credit cards you should never open.

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Don’t skip the advantages of a mortgage

Miniature old man carry grocery bag with blue wooden miniature house over blurred blue background, outdoor day lightsirirak kaewgorn/ShutterstockWhen you buy a house, more likely than not, you probably won’t have enough money to pay cash. Even if you do, it’s not a great idea: When you pay cash for a house, you miss out on getting a mortgage-specific tax break and that hefty chunk of change is money that could be better used for investing. “If you qualify for a good home loan, you should consider financing it that way instead of paying in cash,” says Alayna Pehrson, who manages a financial blog.

Avoid using cash when buying electronics

the mini back packers on top of the keyboard.seaonweb/ShutterstockIf you’re thinking about getting an extended warranty, this isn’t the time to pay for an electronic appliance with cash. “Several credit cards offer extended warranties for electronics as a cardmember perk. Use an eligible card to pay for an item and you might receive a free extended warranty that matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year,” says personal finance expert Janet Alvarez of Wise Bread.

Read the fine print though. “Watch out for exceptions as your credit card doesn’t always cover every purchase. Computers, cars, and items without a manufacturer’s warranty are generally excluded from additional coverage,” warns Natasha Rachel Smith, a personal finance expert at TopCashback.com. You’d be surprised at the 13 things credit card companies know about you.

Reach your goal

Miniature people: small figure businessman standing on a stack of coins with white background. Money, Financial, Business Growth concept.Khongtham/ShutterstockWhen you’re close to having enough points for a free trip, large cash back or other great perk, do what you gotta do. Charge to reap the reward. “Why pay cash? It does not benefit you in this instance. Instead, whip out that credit card and slide it through,” says Chantay Bridges, a realtor and financial coach.


Is building credit a priority?

Miniature figure toy Business People sitting and reading newspaper on stack of credit cards, Banking Finance Technology, Shopping and e-commerce conceptBlueBoeing/ShutterstockIf you need your credit score to shine just like you do, paying something off through credit will help. That’s just one of many ways to boost that all-important score. Says Bridges, “No credit is just as yucky as bad credit. Why? A higher credit score will reduce the amount you have to pay overall in the long run. What to do instead? Keep using those credit cards, pay them off early and on time.” Here are some more ways to improve your credit score.

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Protect yourself from fraud

Miniature figurine toys standing on dollar with money and work concept. Focus on the businessman.jesterpop/ShutterstockYou heard a company’s ad on the radio or watched their infomercial in the middle of the night. You have no clue if they are legit. If you insist on taking a chance and purchasing something from them, at least pay with a credit card, so if your suspicions turn out to be warranted and they’re bogus, you can call your credit card issuer and dispute the charge. “If you pay with cash, you probably won’t get your money back if there’s an issue and the company refuses to resolve it. With a credit card, it’s likely the credit card company will reimburse you for your loss and deal with the troublesome merchant directly,” says Eric Roberge, a certified financial planner and founder of Beyond Your Hammock, a financial planning firm. And be sure you know the 10 times that using your debit card can put your money at risk.

Are you hitting the road?

travellers on world a maparadaphotography/ShutterstockIf your cash is pick-pocketed, robbed, or goes missing, you have no recourse when traveling. It’s all gone as if you never had it. You may even have a challenging time proving the actual amount that you had on you. Carry minimal cash when traveling. Credit card companies often give you perks like lost luggage insurance and hotel discounts. Don’t miss how to use credit cards to upgrade your vacation.

Be smart about event tickets

A film crew shooting a love scene.kirill_makarov/ShutterstockTrying to score tickets for that sold out gig? “Unless you can verify the authenticity of tickets from the reseller, never pay in cash. This will ensure you can dispute the charge should you find out that you were duped,” says Jennifer McDermott, a personal finance expert with Finder.com.

You’re tracking every penny you spend

Growth of investment, interest compound in savings concept, miniature business man standing and thinking on numbers of money printed on paper bank account book.eamesBot/ShutterstockA big part of money management is understanding your spending patterns, and it’s easier to track purchases when you use a credit or debit card and receive statements, either online or on paper. There’s no getting around doing a budget if you want to stay on top of your finances. “Using cards also makes it easier to use online tools like Mint.com, which can categorize your spending and help you create budgets. With cash, your receipt is the only record, and if you misplace the receipt, you can lose track of where you spent the money,” says Alvarez. Check out these 15 tips for making a budget from top money experts.

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Renting a car?

miniature people. The man standing on top of the coins and the car behind them. kang hyejin/ShutterstockYou don’t want to make costly mistakes when renting a car, like purchasing what you don’t need. “Often your credit card will provide insurance on car rentals, but only if you use that form of payment. Since this saves you from paying for extra insurance, you should always pay with a credit card when renting a car,” says Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews. Now, be sure to know the 10 times you should never use your credit card for payment.

Funny Limericks Only Clever People Will Get

Gasman Named Dieter


A forgetful old gasman named Dieter, / Who went poking around his gas heater, / Touched a leak with his light; / He blew out of sight— / And, as everyone who knows anything about poetry can tell you, he also ruined the meter.

Like these funny limericks, these 25 clever jokes make you sound smart.

Runner Named Dwight


There once was a runner named Dwight / Who could speed even faster than light. / He set out one day / In a relative way / And returned on the previous night.

An Amoeba Named Max


An amoeba named Max and his brother / Were sharing a drink with each other; / In the midst of their quaffing, / They split themselves laughing, / And each of them now is a mother.

Check out some more of our favorite funny jokes about science.

Old Girl of Genoa


There was an old girl of Genoa / And I blush when I think that Iowa; / She’s gone to her rest, / It’s all for the best, / Otherwise I would borrow Samoa.

Here’s a funny joke for every single U.S. state.

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Lady Named Ferris


There once was a lady named Ferris / Whom nothing could ever embarrass. / ‘Til the bath salts one day, / in the tub where she lay, / turned out to be Plaster of Paris.

The Star Violinist

iStock/Eugenio Marongiu

The star violinist was bowing; / The quarrelsome oarsmen were rowing. / But how is the sage / To discern from this page: / Was it piglets, or seeds, that were sowing?

If these funny limericks make you chuckle, check out these hilarious grammar jokes sure to make word nerds laugh.

Writer Named Bing

iStock/Djura Topalov

A magazine writer named Bing / Could make copy from most anything; / But the copy he wrote / of a ten-dollar note / Was so good he now lives in Sing Sing.

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Money-Saving Secrets Macy’s Employees Won’t Tell You

Get free shipping every time

Macy's Exterior SignStephan Savoia/AP/REX/Shutterstock While free shipping is becoming more and more common, you’ll still have to shell out $99 or more for it on Macys.com. Otherwise, it’s $10.95—unless you’re buying beauty products, that is. Those ship for free. Savvy shoppers know to add a cheap beauty product (one that costs less than $10.95) to their shopping bag in order to get free shipping on everything else. Learn the 8 things Macy’s employees wish you knew.

Knock 25 percent off your order

Trang Dang shops for athletic wear at Macy's flagship store in New York.MARK LENNIHAN/AP/REX/Shutterstock Who couldn’t use an extra 25 percent off? To redeem yours, create a free Macy’s profile and get a 25 percent off coupon emailed to you. Or download the Macy’s app and get 25 percent off your first in-app order.

Return any gift

People walk out of a Macy's department store in Hialeah, Fla.AP/REX/ShutterstockUh oh! The sweater Grandma bought you just isn’t your styleand you can’t find the receipt. Have no fear: Macy’s allows you to return a gift within 180 days of purchase even without a receipt. You’ll just have to settle for store credit for the item’s lowest selling point.

Know when to go

A discount sign stands on top of a rack of coats on sale at a Macy's department storeDavid Zalubowski/AP/REX/ShutterstockIf you’re looking to make a big purchase, you’ll want to align your shopping dates with one of Macy’s major sales. Macy’s Semi-Annual sales occur in July and January. Their Friends and Family sales happen in April or May and December. The store’s One Day sales typically take place on the third Saturday of the month, writes thekrazycouponlady.com. After your shopping trip, try these 12 ways to save at restaurants.

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Stay informed

Macy's Shoppers walk into a Macy's department store at the Hanover Mall in Hanover, Mass.Stephan Savoia/AP/REX/Shutterstock In order to shop the best sales, you’ll need to know exactly when they’re taking place. Make sure you never miss the perfect day to shop by signing up for Macy’s emails, as well as checking their flier in your local newspaper.

Buy yellow

Shoppers holding bags from Macy's wait to cross an intersection in New York.AP/REX/Shutterstock Macy’s marks all of its final clearance items with a yellow sticker. That means the item will never get any cheaper than the price you see on that tag. If you see a blue clearance tag, know that the item will be discounted one more time (to a yellow tag). Learn the 23 invisible ways stores get you to spend more.

Find the Last Act rack

Shoppers carry bags as they cross a pedestrian walkway near Macy's in Herald Square in New York.AP/REX/ShutterstockThe rack title Last Act is the final clearance rack, so you’re bound to find amazing deals. And don’t be afraid to ask where the rack is located in each department: there should be a different one for men’s, women’s, kid’s, and housewares.

Compare prices

People Carry Shopping Bags at Macy's in New YorkJustin Lane/Epa/REX/ShutterstockScan in-store barcodes on the Macy’s app to make sure the in-store price is cheaper than the online price. If it’s not, you’ll be able to get the discounted price as the register. The app also allows you to read reviews and receive weekly catalogs and exclusive deals. Heading to Target next? Try these 11 money-saving Target hacks.

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Use a Macy’s gift card

A shopper carries a bag as she walks in the parking lot of a shopping mall.AP/REX/Shutterstock Unless you’re doing a lot of shopping at Macy’s, it’s probably not worth it to sign up for a Macy’s credit card. Still, it’s hard to see those cardholder deals go to waste. Try this hack: Use a Macy’s gift card instead. When the cashier swipes it, you’ll get whatever deal is available to cardholders.

Try free in-store pickup

Traffic makes it's way past the Macy's flagship store, in New York.Mary Altaffer/AP/REX/Shutterstock See something you like online and want to get rewards for your next shopping trip? Of course you do. Click in-store pickup (it’s free, so you’ll also get to pass on shipping fees) and get 15-20 percent off your next in-store purchase. Now try these 50 ways to save at all your favorite stores.

Little Things That Make You Feel Richer Than You Are

A private garden

Green plants in the gardenHivaka/ShutterstockThere’s just something about using fresh ingredients without leaving the comfort of your own home that feels rich. While we haven’t all been blessed with a green thumb, there are some plants that are easier to grow than others. According to LifeHacker, these include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and zucchini. No room for veggies? Try a windowsill herb garden for a dash of panache to everyday meals.


Sunday BrunchCHIKARAvv/ShutterstockIn stark contrast to the morning rush of a busy work week, weekend brunches command we slow down, kick back, and savor food and time with friends. Brunch has rich roots. According to History.com, the meal can initially be traced back to the upper-class British tradition of hunting luncheons. The custom landed in America when Hollywood stars jet-setting from coast-to-coast would make a stop midway in Chicago for a lavish meal. Yum!

Professional blow-dry

beauty, haircare, blow-dry, hairstyle and people concept - stylist hand with fan dries woman hair at salonSyda Productions/ShutterstockRegardless of how style-savvy you might be, letting a pro wield their mighty brush and blow dryer feels so much nicer than doing it ourselves. For this reason, blow-dry bars have popped up all over the place, making it easier for women to feel pampered while achieving their desired look. This luxury isn’t free, but it is a lovely indulgence. “Our grandmothers’ generation used to get their hair ‘coiffed’ once a week and they wouldn’t touch it,” said Drybar founder Alli Webb in an interview with Forbes. “Somewhere along the way that behavior went away. I always say we kind of modernized that behavior and brought it back and made it affordable.”

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Fresh flowers

Top view of beautiful red tulips bouquet vase on white isolated background with copy space. Flat lay, overhead.Anton Chernov/ShutterstockNot only do fresh flowers brighten up a room, they can do a lot for your mind and soul. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, plants can fight fatigue in an office setting and even restore attention to a project. They’re also just plain gorgeous and add a bit of depth and richness to our lives. There’s a reason flowers are a welcomed gift—they offer a personal and thoughtful touch. Try some of these 50 little changes that will make you a happier person.

Relaxing poolside

Aerial view of colorful inflatable ring donut toy in swimming pool water from above, family vacation concept backgroundJaySi/ShutterstockInstagram-worthy moments are those little slices of life in which you feel delightfully at peace with your surroundings, and nothing does that better than relaxing poolside. Whether you’re doing so while sipping a fruity drink or simply basking in the warm sun, it’s a moment that feels entirely luscious and all yours. It means you’re taking time out for yourself, and that’s rich indeed.

Grocery delivery

Full paper bag of various groceries on wooden background, top viewKucherAV/ShutterstockIt doesn’t matter how lofty your bank account, the one thing we could all use more of is time. Delivery services and task-oriented apps are making it easier for us to duplicate ourselves, if only momentarily, by taking on those mundane activities that we rarely have time for, like grocery shopping, for a nominal fee. Having groceries delivered straight to your door is not only a time-saver but on occasion, a life-changer. These are the things happy people do every single day.


Close-up of man enjoying professional facial massageDragon Images/ShutterstockA spa day feels like the ultimate luxury, from the moment that first waft of lavender hits your senses to the plush robes and relaxing treatments. For that brief period of time we feel taken care of and like someone is putting us first, instead of focusing all of our attention on others. It might feel like a frivolous expense, but it’s so much more. A 2012 study from the European Society of Cardiologists concluded that the effects of a brief exposure to essential oils can actually offer up heart benefits, helping you live a rich, full life.

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Tailored clothing

Close up of hands of professional fashion designer. The woman is holding a tape-line horizontally and measuring the collar of male suit. The man is standing near her confidentlyOlena Yakobchuk/ShutterstockIt’s easy to buy an outfit off the rack and wear it exactly as you found it, but having clothing tailored to fit your exact measurements is a game-changer. A custom fit may feel like a luxury, but it’s actually more affordable than you might think and makes an ordinary ensemble look as though it was made to measure.


Aerial view of sandy beach with tourists swimming in beautiful clear sea waterpaul prescott/ShutterstockVacations, big or small, can make a person feel rich, whether exploring a new destination or simply staying close to home and embracing the downtime. A study out of the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind Body Center found that leisurely activities, which includes taking vacations, resulted in higher positive emotional levels and less depression. They even concluded a getaway could lower blood pressure and aid in weight-loss. Here’s your ideal vacation, based on your zodiac sign.


collection of books randomly positioned as seen from aboveConstantinosZ/ShutterstockKnowledge is power and feeling educated can be richly rewarding. We’re not talking PhD levels of education, but adding to your own wealth of knowledge, with facts and perspectives on the things you enjoy can make one feel more confident and comfortable in the world. For movie buffs, taking a course on film can open up discussions about the art one hadn’t previously considered. Even a wine tasting and master class for an enthusiast can produce some really interesting facts.


Young yogi woman practicing yoga, sitting in Half Lotus exercise, Ardha Padmasana pose, working out, wearing sportswear, grey pants, indoor, home interior, wooden floor, high angle view, copy space fizkes/ShutterstockLife often feels like it’s stuck in one mode: Go! Taking just a few minutes each day for meditation or self-reflection can feel like the ultimate luxury. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of meditation can help relieve symptoms relating to anxiety, depression, asthma, heart disease, and chronic pain, among others. Not to mention it can increase feelings of gratitude for all the wonderful things you already possess in your life by helping you live in the here and now. And don’t think you need to create a special meditation room to practice. Find a quiet setting, relax your breathing, and focus your attention. Read more about sneaking mindfulness into little moments.


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The perfect cup

Cappuccino with beautiful foam and spoon in white cup. Latte art, top view.Efetova Anna/ShutterstockTalk about one of life’s simplest luxuries—a beautiful cup of joe complete with coffee foam art. Picture it: You’re sitting in a quaint cafe sipping on an exquisitely crafted latte with a foam tulip that makes it almost too pretty to drink. Yes, this can become an expensive habit if you try to make it a daily one, but if it’s something you savor just every so often, boy, does it feel rich. Don’t miss these 50 more best simple pleasures that make life worth living.

The Courageous Way One Woman Is Fighting Through Alzheimer’s

Geri TaylorMichael Kirby Smith
Geri Taylor was determined to face her diagnosis without shame—and to help others like her live with dignity.

It began with what she saw in the bathroom mirror. Geri Taylor padded into the shiny bathroom of her New York City apartment and casually checked her reflection. Immediately, she stiffened with fright. She didn’t recognize herself.

That was late 2012. She was 69 years old and had recently retired. For some time, she had experienced the sensation of clouds coming over her. There had been a few hiccups at her job. She was a nurse with a master’s degree in public health who’d moved into administrative positions. Once, she was leading a staff meeting when she realized she had no idea what she was talking about, her mind like a stalled engine. She got past the episode by quickly handing off the meeting to a colleague.

Certain mundane tasks stumped her. She kept pulling the wrong cord on the blind in the bedroom. She got off the subway at 14th Street unable to figure out why she was there.

So yes, she’d had inklings that something was going wrong with her mind. But to not recognize her own face! This was when she had to accept a terrible truth.

She confided her fears to her husband, Jim Taylor, and made an appointment with a neurologist. The doctor listened to her symptoms, took blood, and gave her a standard cognitive test. She was asked to count backward from 100 in intervals of seven. She had to say the phrase “No ifs, ands, or buts.” He asked her to remember three common words; when he called for them later, she knew only one.

He gave a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, a common precursor to ­Alzheimer’s disease. She understood it was the footfall of what would come—Alzheimer’s had struck her father, an aunt, and a cousin. She had long suspected it would eventually find her. These are the early signs of Alzheimer’s everyone should know.

Alzheimer’s is degenerative, incurable, and democratic in its reach. Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. People live with it for eight to ten years on average, though some last for 20 years.

The disease moves in worsening stages to its ungraspable end. That is the familiar face of Alzheimer’s, the withered person with the scrambled mind marooned in a nursing home. But there is also the beginning, the waiting period.

She Never Cried

The beginning is like purgatory,” said Geri, an effervescent woman with a round face and a froth of swirling hair. In her health-care career, she had seen Alzheimer’s in action. Now she would live it. Those who learn they have the disease often sink into a piercing black grief. They try to camouflage their symptoms from a dismissive world as they backpedal from life. But Geri pictured Alzheimer’s differently, with defiance and through a dispassionate, unblinking lens.

Crossing into the pitted terrain of Alzheimer’s made her question her purpose. Was she limited to backward glances, or could this be a new beginning?

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Pull QuoteAt first, Jim had trouble adjusting. He wouldn’t meet her eyes. To unfreeze the chill between them, Geri gave him a pep talk that put the present in softer perspective. She told him, “This is something that is going to develop, but it hasn’t developed yet.”

Yes, something big had happened. Yet they were still alive. Still together, with more mileage in their future. So they moved forward into their re­ordered lives.

She couldn’t know the speed of her decline. It is different with everyone. The impact appears to be determined in part by the amount of cognitive reserve each person has, the mental capa­bilities that one accumulates over a lifetime. She felt she had plenty of that—at least she hoped so.

Her doctor put her on Aricept, a drug designed to improve cognitive performance. It seemed to sharpen her thinking, especially in the morning, but she couldn’t really gauge how much good it did.

Her belief system was optimism. She never cried. Depression, she knew, would lead her down alleys she didn’t want to visit and held nothing for her. Instead, the disease made her hungry for living. She vowed to plunge ahead and accelerate her longtime interest in photography. See friends more. She aimed to live the most fulfilling days she could at what seemed the bleakest possible time.

Struggle to Keep Up

Jim drew up an ­Alzheimer’s to-do list, a way to get things started. When to tell the kids and the grandkids. How long to keep the couple’s two homes. Advancing care needs. End-of-life decisions.

Geri was advised not to tell people of her condition: “Friends will fall away from you.” The Taylors didn’t agree. “It was my decision to let the disease be alive in my life,” Geri said. “You don’t have to just throw in the towel.”

They waited six months after her diagnosis. Then, in the summer of 2013, she told the children. They were not surprised. They had detected glitches in her memory, and now they knew their origin.

Geri and Jim Taylor with ChildrenGeri Taylor
Geri and Jim Taylor on their anniversary in 1993 with their children: Mark, Heidi, and Amy Taylor and Lloyd Widmer.

She postponed informing the grandchildren and moved on to other relatives and friends. Some accepted the news; others quibbled. One friend combed the Internet for solutions and zeroed in on coconut oil. Geri drank it for a few weeks, detecting no benefit, and then moved on. Find out the 11 ways to maintain an emotional connection with someone who has Alzheimer’s.

Although others could hardly see it, she knew better. She was slipping, the disease whittling away at her. Certain words became irretrievable; sentences refused to come out. Belongings vanished: keys, glasses, earrings. “I know the tide is going out on my memory,” she would say.

She had trouble with time. “The concept of how long it takes to do something has been lost,” she said. Her new best friend was her iPhone. She fished it out maybe 20 times a day and scrolled through the calendar and the notes she’d made to herself.

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In March 2014, she went to the CaringKind organization in Midtown Manhattan. She enrolled in some programs, including a photography workshop. She signed on for a Memory Works group that engaged in mind exercises. The moderator said the games would not cure anyone or forestall their decline. They were there to have fun.

Name words starting with the letter b.

Name foods starting with the letter m.

The best part was not having to mask her shortcomings.

The chumminess among these strangers was amazing. “Everyone’s laughing,” she reported, “and everyone is happy they are with people just like them, who can’t get the words out.” Sitting there in the bubbly ambience, she would sometimes think, We shouldn’t be this happy.

It was as if they were all high. High on Alzheimer’s.

Coping Strategies

Geri became watchful when she was walking. Her gait had changed. She felt as if she were weaving, one wrong step away from whirling onto the floor. It was worse when she talked while walking. Once, she stumbled and fell while conversing with friends. Her new rule: Talk only if necessary while walking.

Pull QuoteOne day she was driving in upstate New York, and she bumped into another car. Not long after, she was driving with Jim when she came upon some roadwork. A flagman motioned her to stop. Instead, she continued onward, feeling an irresistible urge to speak to the flagman. She couldn’t explain her odd behavior.

That night, Jim suggested that she ought to stop driving, that she was using poor judgment. She lashed out at him, told him he used poor judgment all the time. Drove too fast. Tailgated. But the next day, once the weight of inevitability had settled in, she agreed to cut back and drive only when absolutely necessary.

A friend showed her the Find My Friends app on her iPhone. “I hope this doesn’t offend you,” the friend said.

“No offense,” Geri replied. “I’ve already got it.” She had set it up with Jim, allowing him to track where she was through their phones in case she got lost and had to be rescued.

She was a different person with Alzheimer’s, tugged back and forth across the borders of the disease. One day things were one way, and then they were another. The fluctuations would lead her to question herself. “It’s the fraud complex that ­Alzheimer’s people have,” she said. “You have good days and bad days. And when you’re having a good stretch, you think, Am I a fraud?”

But then the disease would clear its throat and remind her.

Some nights, she would walk in her sleep. She felt as if she were moving at half speed. She lost interest in buying clothes. Food also mattered less to her. She had trouble keeping up in a conversation. “When I’m talking to friends, I’ll prepare,” she said. “Do some research. Like make sure to ask about the latest granddaughter.”

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One thing nagging at her was finding purpose in her life, a purpose to replace her career. She’d loved her work. She never wanted to simply walk the sidelines.

Geri and Jim TaylorMichael Kirby Smith
Geri says that her relationship with Jim is “better than ever” since learning that she has Alzheimer’s.

Photography had been a sideline for 30 years, but now she could really devote time to it. Birds were her avid interest. She put her best photos on cards and gave them as gifts.

When she immersed herself in photography, the world around her seemed to relax. With her birds, there was no need to scrabble for the right word. She didn’t have to talk to them. “For me, the disease doesn’t exist when I’m taking pictures,” she said.

From the front lines

The CaringKind caregiver workshop began in the training room. There were eight participants, Jim among them.

The moderator told the participants that eventually they would need support too. “You can only bend so far before you break,” she said. She 
invited sharing. Driving came up. A woman 
said she got nervous when her husband almost ran a red light and stopped only because she yelled. Afterward, she confiscated his keys. He got furious. She relented. They were still hashing it out.

Next, the moderator said she wanted to try an exercise. She handed everyone two sheets of paper. Each contained a star drawn in double lines. She asked them to draw a line between those double lines, tracing the outline of the star. Once they finished, she asked how they felt about the experience.

Back came their answers: “Boring.” “Annoyance.”

She then handed everyone a small mirror. Now, on the second sheet, she wanted them to position the mirror so they could see the star in the reflection and then trace the star again while looking only in the mirror. The point was to let them experience a taste of what it was like to have dementia, to promote understanding and empathy.

As he fumbled his way through the star exercise, Jim said, “This is like driving a U-Haul trailer in reverse.”

The results were appalling, lines scooting all over the place. Again, the moderator asked how they felt.

“Frustrated.” “Disoriented.” A piqued woman asked, “So is this how they feel, people with Alzheimer’s?”

The moderator replied, “I would put that back to you. What do you think?”

The woman was quiet. She got it. “Yes,” she said softly, “I guess it must be.”

Sharing the Journey

Jim read a newspaper article about an early-stage study for an experimental drug. Geri trawled the Internet and learned that part of the trial was under way at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. Soon she was in New Haven for cognition testing.

The results placed her in the mild stage of Alzheimer’s, the appropriate group for the trial. A PET scan confirmed she had amyloid buildup in her brain, another prerequisite.

This felt like hope, and it had a potent allure for her, the possibility that the drug might negotiate some sort of truce with this disease.

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She wouldn’t know whether she would receive the drug or a placebo, but because of the way the trial was structured, the odds of getting the treatment were high. Either way, she would be entitled to the actual drug after the yearlong study period, assuming it was effective.

Meanwhile, in February 2015, the Taylors took a winter break in Florida. They were invited to give a talk about living with Alzheimer’s at a church that Jim’s sister belonged to. They had at first been hesitant. But if it went well, perhaps it was something they could keep doing. Maybe how they were figuring out this disease could help others. These are the 16 things people with Alzheimer’s wish you knew.

Pull QuoteThree dozen people squeezed into the room. Geri sat in a chair. When she stood too long, she got tremors. Geri and Jim told about the way the disease weighed on them, how they avoided the lockdown that people with Alzheimer’s went through, how they chose forward as the only sensible direction. The small details drew good laughs. How Geri kept confusing their toothbrushes and finally threw away Jim’s because she couldn’t figure out whose it was, even though, as she put it, “there were just the two of us.”

She gave tips on how to communicate with someone with the disease: Focus on one subject; never ask several questions at the same time. When a friend pelted her with multiple questions, it left her baffled.

The audience was hushed and rapt, hearing an aging couple tell how they were torn up and united by a disease.

A man wanted to know whether she did crossword puzzles. She said she didn’t; they were too frustrating.

Someone else asked, “What do you want to hear when you tell someone you have Alzheimer’s?”

“‘I love you; anything I can do I’ll do,’” said Geri. “The acceptance is more important than the particulars.”

When they finished, the applause went on for a while.

New Mission

In March 2015, Geri returned to New Haven for her first monthly infusion of the trial drug, called aducanumab. Biogen, the manufacturer, had recently announced that an analysis of 166 patients had shown positive results. The drug slowed cognitive decline and reduced plaque in the brain. Experts saw the data as encouraging. Of course, other drugs had offered initial promise only to be discarded as false leads.

In April, the doctor sat with Geri as she lay outstretched, an IV needle in her arm. She knew about the parade of failures for Alzheimer’s drugs. At this point, the drug remained a question mark. It would take years to know its genuine worth.

“How are you feeling?” he asked.


“No itching?”

“No.” She felt hopeful. It was her inner optimism, her desire to locate a way out.

Walk to End Alzheimer'sMichael Kirby Smith/The New York Times/Redux
Geri at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Manhattan in 2015.

Geri and Jim gave several more talks on Alzheimer’s. They were becoming apostles for how to live with the disease. But she needed to do more. She wanted to see strategies identified and shared for navigating the everyday mundanities, for wrenching survival out of this disease.

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In August, Geri met with two Caring­Kind staff members. She gave her pitch. She didn’t want a traditional support group. She wanted a group to share strategies, a peer-driven ­Alzheimer’s tutorial. “We don’t want to be done to. We want to do.”

CaringKind set up a series of workshops to swap tips for living with early-stage memory loss.

The Taylors then met with the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and told them of their ambition to brush off the stain of Alzheimer’s. They learned that the association offers to do presentations at companies. Corporate executives first say they don’t think they have anyone affected, and then the association shows up and there are 80 or 90 people waiting to listen. The stigma again. The denial. People hiding it.

“If it stays hidden,” said Geri, “people don’t develop the strategies to compensate for the deficits. They just slowly pass into a state of inability.”

The Alzheimer’s Association staff members agreed. They mentioned a woman who couldn’t remember where different dishes were stored, so she put glass doors on her cabinets. And the husband who worried his wife would get lost when they went shopping and he wouldn’t recall what she was wearing, so now they wore shirts of matching color.

Geri Taylor listened to all of this, and then the association’s CEO said she wanted Geri’s help. Come and speak. Become one of their champions. Maybe become a representative to the national organization.

Geri’s face crinkled up, and she began to cry. For what she wished more than anything was for people with Alzheimer’s not to live in shame but in nobility and to learn ways to carry on. This woman was telling her she wished for it too.

Pull QuoteMore than three years had rolled by since Geri hadn’t recognized her face in the mirror and began to wonder what would fill her days. Now, with her involvement in the ­Alzheimer’s Association, here was the answer. This would be her second act, something that drew on her health-care career: helping others deal with the darkness of Alzheimer’s.

Having purpose was the stabilizing force. And Alzheimer’s itself, she realized, could be her purpose.

Be sure to find out the 36 everyday habits that reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.


Geri Taylor continues to work with the Connecticut and New York City chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association. She is a national spokesperson for the organization, sharing her story to raise awareness of the disease and advocating for more Alzheimer’s research.

Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD

The main branch of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library. (Courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library)

The Enoch Pratt Free Library is a haven in the city of Baltimore. With 22 locations across the city, the library provides vital services, information, and opportunities to all. Where else can a homeless person, a mother with a child, a business executive, or the mayor walk in and all be treated equally? The Pratt is a place where civil discourse happens. Librarians are trusted by the community and turned to for help. The Pratt helps people be their best selves.

Stories About Enoch Pratt Free Library

If you go around Baltimore, nearly everyone has a Pratt story. The Pratt has also opened up doors in the community. This year, “Social Worker in the Library” was launched to help connect people to the social services they need without ever having to leave the library. One of the social workers was able to help a gentlemen begin to learn how to read. He stood up during a group session and told everyone for the first time that he was able to pay a bill on time because he could read what the bill said. He then proceeded to read aloud from a children’s story book. There was not a dry eye in the house.

Another program that’s expanding at the Pratt is “Lawyer in the Library.” Attorneys provide free legal aid to community members for things like expungements. One woman came in with her young daughter and was shocked to realize in a short time she could have her record expunged, which would open up employment opportunities she’d never had before. She looked at her daughter and said “today you have a new mommy.” These stories happen every day inside the Pratt Library.

Using the technology at Enoch Pratt. (Courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library)
One of the littlest library card holders. (Courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library)
More kids at the library. (Courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library)
Libraries make laughter. (Courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library)


What do you think of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD?

This Pill Can Help You Remember Your Dreams

Combat insomnia. Sleeping pills near sleep mask and alarm clock on white wooden background top view copyspace9dream studio/Shutterstock

Every night, humans around the world spend up to two hours dreaming, even if they don’t always remember it. If remembering and interpreting your dreams is something you care about, researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology in Australia may have discovered a solution, according to research published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.

In the past, people taking B6 supplements have remarked on how vivid their dreams were. So Australian researchers recruited 100 people for a sleep study. The volunteers were randomly split into three groups, with each getting a different supplement: vitamin B6, vitamin B complex, or a placebo. The researchers asked everyone to keep a log of their dreams and, after five days, turn over the journals for analysis. Sure enough, the group taking vitamin B6 had better dream recall. Here are 13 more bizarre facts about your dreams.

One of the study’s authors Dr. Denholm Aspy noted that more research was needed to fully understand the vitamin’s impact on dreaming, but researchers are excited by the potential of the findings. “The average person spends around six years of their lives dreaming,” he said in a press release. “If we are able to become lucid and control our dreams, we can then use our dreaming time more productively. Lucid dreaming, where you know that you are dreaming while the dream is still happening, has many potential benefits. For example, it may be possible to use lucid dreaming for overcoming nightmares, treating phobias, creative problem solving, refining motor skills and even helping with rehabilitation from physical trauma.”

One note on B6: It’s toxic at higher doses, so consult with your doctor before trying this at home. Dr. Aspy hopes to figure out whether getting more B6 from your diet—it’s found in fish, beef, and starchy veggies like potatoes—would deliver similar benefits. In the meantime, you can better interpret the dreams you do remember with these 21 surprising things your dreams reveal about you.

| Time

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