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The Takeaway: From Mr. Hockey to the Face of Alzheimer's; 7 Mistakes Retirees Repeatedly Make

Hockey Hall Of Famer Active Despite Dementia: Eight-three-year-old Gordie Howe is best known for his impressive professional hockey career. But the man often referred to as Mr. Hockey  now has a new passion: Raising money for Alzheimer's and dementia research. It's far from an impersonal cause-the disease killed his wife, Colleen, in 2009 and is beginning to affect him, as well. Colleen, who was 76 when she died, suffered from a rare form of dementia called Pick's disease, which is marked by changes in mood, personality and behavior before memory loss sets in. Howe's dementia, which began in his late 70s, is still mild-short-term memory loss, some confusion in the evening (a phenomenon known as 'sundowning'), trouble finding certain words.

He has what we call mild cognitive impairment," his son Murray, a radiologist, said.

Murray and Howe's physician think Howe's problems might be 'vascular in nature.' He has suffered from heart disease that required a coronary stent to be implanted; it's possible he's also suffered a couple of mini strokes. Research has shown nearly a quarter of older adults may have experienced a silent stroke, outwardly undetectable but responsible for future memory loss.

Whatever is causing Howe's cognitive issues, he isn't letting them keep him down. A few years ago, Mr. Hockey suffered chest pains after any brief exertion, said Murray. But Howe began a program of regular exercise and is now quite fit. He's also busy being the face of dementia for a fundraising campaign by Toronto-based health organization Baycrest. So far, the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer's has raised more than $16 million.

Learn From Mistakes: Retirees with the best of financial intentions still tend to make certain retirement money mistakes. Seven of the most common are: 1) Being too conservative with money, 2) Putting off planning, 3) Bailing out the kids, 4) Paying too much in taxes, 5) Following financial advice from friends and family, 6) Underestimating the costs of health care and 7) Underestimating how long you'll live.

Thursday Quick Hits: 

  • President Obama yesterday proposed to expand assistance to homeowners by creating a new federal program that would have the government assume the risk for refinanced mortgages.

Photos: 1); 2) Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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