Death and the After Life

Various burial rites

Burial Rites for all Cultures and Religions.

In a letter dated from 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Our new constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Whether we’re 20 or 80, the certainty of death is something we all think about. What you believe happens after death depends on your culture, your religion and other personal beliefs. Some believe in the possibility of an afterlife, while others believe in reincarnation or that death is permanent and there is nothing afterwards. Our beliefs in what happens to us when we finally leave this world plays a huge role in how our earthly bodies are handled.

Funerals are commonplace, regardless of one’s personal religious or cultural beliefs. Funerals give family, friends and others the opportunity for closure, but they also can play a significant role in preparing the deceased person for whatever they believe to be the next step. Continue reading

Marketable Skills After Retirement

Seniors in the workforce

Top Tips for Re-entering the Workforce.

Dreaming about the day retirement arrives is something that every worker – regardless of whether it’s their first day on the job or their 7,300th day. So, when the big moment actually arrives, it can be overwhelming and exciting.

For some, retirement is everything they hoped it would be and more. They are able to take up a new hobby, or travel the world, or just sleep in every day past 6 a.m. if that is their desire. For others, retirement is a short-lived experience. According to the Pew Research Center, more older Americans – defined as those age 65 and older – are returning to the workforce following retirement. The largest increase in the number of seniors in the workforce occurred following the Great Recession of 2008.

While some seniors have returned to the workforce due to financial necessity, others return because they miss working. Whatever the reason, it can be challenging for seniors to re-enter the world of the working. Knowing which skills are the most marketable and which industries are more likely to hire experienced workers can help make finding a job you enjoy more likely. Continue reading

The Tiny House Trend

A tiny house near a mountain lake

Is it Ideal for Seniors?

Over the last seven years, we have shared our expertise on the downsizing process with boomers and seniors through conferences, blogs and other online resources. We have offered ideas and insight on making a successful transition into a healthier and more manageable living environment, and our eight-step checklist to downsizing successfully and profitably.

When talking about downsizing, we have explored a variety of options. From condominiums and senior retirement communities, to recreational vehicles (RVs) and even boats, we have discussed the pros and cons of each.

Another downsizing option that has been trending in the United States since 1997 is known as the tiny house movement. It was made popular by Sarah Susanka with the publication of her book, The Not So Big House. As early as the 1970s, tiny house pioneers were touting the benefits of downsizing. And now, seniors and boomers are discovering the joys of tiny-house living. Continue reading

Loved One Being Manipulated by Senior Scammers?

Be aware of senior scammers

Know the Warning Signs and Solutions.

These days, it seems like there is a new scam hitting the streets almost daily.

Many of us probably have gotten the purported calls from the “IRS,” claiming we owe immediate back taxes or the county sheriff will be coming to arrest us. There also are the home repair and maintenance senior scammers, who are particularly fond of targeting seniors and boomers. And unfortunately, there also are certain individuals who pretend to be a trusted friend and advisor, but end up cheating seniors and boomers out of their savings or more.

It can be hard for even the savviest of consumers to realize when they are being set up, but even more so for the boomers and traditionalists generations. Boomers include those born between 1946 and 1964, while traditionalists are those born in 1945 or earlier. Traditionalists, in particular, are scammed more easily due to their trusting nature. Traditionalists were raised during a time when trusting your neighbor and sharing what you had with others was a common value. It can be difficult for that generation to get out of the habit of helping others, even when the people they think they are helping are not worthy of their “help.” Continue reading

Worrisome Signs from Aging Parents?

Caring for aging parents

Tips for Providing Effective Care from a Distance.

Seniors and boomers face many challenges as they near retirement, chief among them is the ability to secure enough savings to help offset social security income, ensuring financial security. There also is the need to determine if downsizing would be beneficial to your retirement goals.

For some seniors and boomers, these decisions are managed by their adult children, who help to navigate the journey toward a successful retirement. This “sandwich generation” often finds itself raising children while helping aging parents, which can be a daunting task. But what can add extra stress to this kind of caregiving arrangement is having aging parents who are not living close in proximity.

Caregiving from a distance poses unique challenges for both the provider and the receiver of such care. Adult children who observe worrisome signs of their parents’ frailty from afar often can feel helpless in dealing with it. In this article, we will provide some tips and tools for long-distance caregiving that are beneficial to both parties. Continue reading

A Mobility-Friendly Home Offers Independence and Freedom

Senior enjoying her mobility-friendly home

5 Benefits of Downsizing To A Mobility-Friendly Home.

All of us are at risk of disability at some point in our lifetime, especially once we reach our golden years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five adults in America have a disability, and 13% of adults have mobility problems which make walking or climbing stairs an everyday challenge. For people with disabilities, it’s crucial to live in an environment which will encourage mobility, and downsizing to a mobility-friendly home can make a lot of difference to an older person who values his or her independence.

Why it makes sense to downsize to a mobility-friendly home

A majority of older adults are concerned about preserving their independence and freedom. A study has found that 78% of adults age 65 and older intend to age in their current residence. But staying in a condominium unit or a home with lots of stairs, narrow doorways and passageways and other hazards may present lots of dangers to retirees or seniors with mobility issues. Living in such a home can present the risk of falling, and a serious fall-related injury can lead to disability or even death. Homes that aren’t designed for aging in place can also prevent seniors from doing typical everyday activities on their own. Moreover, all the features of a mobility-friendly home will ensure that retirees get to live in utter comfort as they enjoy their golden years. Here are 5 benefits of downsizing to a mobility-friendly home. Continue reading

Retiring Early or Retiring Well?

Understanding Social Security

Getting the Full Benefits of Social Security.

Comedian George Burns once joked that retirement at 65 was ridiculous. “When I was sixty-five, I still had pimples.”

Whether you’re still fighting acne at 65, or counting down to your final days on the job, one thing is for certain – the age at which you retire greatly affects your social security benefits. Retirement brings with it many uncertainties. With the average lifespan increasing each year thanks, in part, to advances in medical technology, the retirement phase of our lives can last a lot longer that it did just 50 years ago.

Even if you have a generous retirement package from your place of employment, coupled with healthy retirement savings accrued over the years, social security is an important part of the retirement equation for seniors and boomers. For some, social security benefits are the bulk of the income that will be used during retirement. Continue reading

Wrinkles, Dry Skin and Age Spots

Senior woman caring for her aging skin

Oh the Joys of Aging Skin.

A lot of things change as we age, both physically and mentally.

Skin, hair and nails can become more brittle, lose elasticity and wrinkle. By the time we reach age 80, it is perfectly normal to have lost as much as 2 inches of height, which can be attributed to the kind of compression in the joints, bones and discs that are part of the normal aging process. Our hearing and eyesight are not as sharp as they once were, and sleeping can sometimes prove to be a challenge. Our metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose and keep weight off, and our brain and nervous system do not function as efficiently as they did when we were younger.

While it may be true that how your body ages depends, in part, on your genes, lifestyle choices have a greater impact. Eating well and exercising can help with some of the physical changes we experience, while keeping ourselves engaged socially can help to slow our mental decline.  Avoiding certain activities can help protect us and allow us to age with a little more grace. Let’s talk about the best ways to help our bodies ease into the natural changes that come with age. Continue reading

Serving Those who have Served Us

Honoring Veterans

Benefits for Aging Veterans.

When we are in our 30s and 40s, retirement seems like something that is light years away. But before we know it, we’re celebrating our last day at work, and looking forward to what the future holds.

According to projections released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a fifth of boomers 65 and older have not saved enough for retirement. Because of their lack of savings, these boomers will most likely have to work well into their 70s – either at full-time or part-time jobs – to supplement their social security benefits.

Regardless of whether you are among those who have planned well for retirement, it never hurts to take advantage of the many programs and benefits available to seniors and boomers. There are a number of programs available to seniors and boomers who are experiencing financial difficulties. Whether it’s assistance paying your mortgage or utility bills, or help paying for monthly prescription medication, there are resources available. Continue reading

Age as a State of Mind

Seniors not letting their age slow them down

Why 60 is the new 40

Ever hear the old sayings that “age is just a state of mind” and “you’re only as old as you feel?”

There is some truth to the idea that how we perceive ourselves has a profound effect on how we feel, both physically and emotionally. A study conducted by PhD student Krystal Warmoth of Exeter University bolsters the belief that our thoughts about aging have a definite impact on how we age.

Warmoth’s study – which included 29 people aged 66 to 98 – determined that individuals who considered themselves to be frail and who were in the mindset of thinking they were too old to do certain activities were more likely to abandon the activities and lifestyle choices that would actually help to keep their minds and their bodies looking and feeling younger. Her findings indicated a clear correlation between a negative outlook on one’s physical condition and a disinterest in socializing and being active.

Other studies, such as this one from Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, lend to the notion that there is power in positive thinking. Fredrickson concluded that the ability to think positively has a profound impact on a person’s work, their health and their overall life span. Continue reading

Leaving a Legacy, Instead of Excuses

What is your legacy

How will you be Remembered?

“It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away.”

So begins the pithy obituary Emily Phillips self-penned, which appeared in the Jacksonville Times Union following her death on March 25, 2015. The obituary goes on to capture the life – and humorous personality – of Mrs. Phillips in a way that let even perfect strangers know that she had lived a well and full life.

Phillips isn’t the only one who was interested in making her obituary read like an adventure novel instead of a death knell. Readers of Mary “Pat” Stocks’ obituary may have found themselves giggling more than crying. “She left behind a hell of a lot of stuff to her daughter and sons who have no idea what to do with it,” it reads just two lines in. The obituary also decries the cause of death as the 94-year-old carrying her oxygen tank up a flight of stairs to get to her bedroom the night before.

James Groth made what can only be described as his final sarcastic comments via his self-penned obituary following his death on July 28, 2015. Among the other things he shares about his life, Groth notes that he died knowing that “Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the best movie ever” and that his regrets were few, “but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from a convenience store in the summer of 2002.” Continue reading

Avoid the Wardrobe Malfunction

Using a wardrobe consultant

Top Tips for Stylish Seniors.

For some seniors and boomers, retirement is all about the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, while wearing whatever you want. After years of conforming to the working world – with its stuffy suits and starchy business attire – it can be a welcome relief to pull on a pair of old sweatpants and just hang out.

While it’s true that if you’re just hanging out and relaxing, it doesn’t really matter what you wear, there may be times when you need to wear something a little more formal than your favorite pair of golf shorts. There also may be times when – especially during the downsizing process – that you need to eliminate unneeded or infrequently used items to make room for belongings you will need to take with you to your new home.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Wardrobe Pro

In these and other occasions, a wardrobe consultant can be an invaluable asset. Wardrobe consultants assist their clients with a variety of issues relating to fashion. They can provide clients with suggestions to enhance their appearances and their wardrobes for special events or occasions, or assist clients in improving or downsizing their daily wardrobes. Continue reading

Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Property

The importance of homeowner insurance

Why Seniors Need Renters or Homeowner Insurance.

As we age, we find ourselves investing in a number of things that provide an extra layer of protection: life insurance, a quality health insurance plan or supplemental insurance to Medicare coverage and even a home alarm system to protect us and our belongings.

But many seniors skip the obvious when it comes to shielding themselves against unexpected expenses – renters or homeowner insurance.

Pros and Cons of Coverage

Whether you own or rent your home, chances are, what would happen if someone was hurt on your property isn’t forefront in your mind. You may think it will never happen to you. And while it is true that not everyone will experience these kinds of unfortunate events in their lifetime, insurance is designed for the “what if” scenarios. Going without adequate coverage is not a gamble that should ever be taken. Continue reading

Safe Senior Driving

Senior driving

Hit the Road or Hand in the Keys?

Ageing is an all-encompassing inevitability. Along with the physical and emotional components of growing older, a number of varied decisions must be made regarding an individual’s safety and quality of life as they age.  With an ever-increasing population of baby boomers aging into the senior category of 65+, the surge of older Americans hitting the road has prompted distressing statistics as in elder drivers being twice as likely to die in car crashes than middle-aged individuals.

Careful Evaluation 

With normal health and physical restrictions due to the aging process, many seniors cling to their ability to drive and refuse to recognize the safety hazards they may pose to themselves and others on the road, outliving their ability to drive safely by 7 to even 10 years. With over 40 million boomers on the road (a 50% increase from 1999) and many of them ill-equipped with the necessary reaction times, eyesight, and physical maneuvers to drive safely, an average of 16 older Americans are killed and 648 are injured each day from car accidents. With these staggering numbers, it is up to physicians, caregivers, rehab care clinic workers, geriatric services, family members, and even seniors themselves to assess their command of the skills required to drive safely. Continue reading

Best Places to Age in Grace

Athens, Georgia - Sean Pavone - Retirement destination options

Tips for Selecting a Retirement Destination.

There are a number of things we must consider when planning for our retirement. Among the most important considerations is our debt obligations, whether we have saved enough to retire comfortably and where we intend to live out our golden years.

While many seniors and boomers downsize in retirement, they tend to focus on the design of the home or the amenities of a retirement community, rather than the location. Failing to consider the location in which you plan to spend your retirement years can end up costing you more in your retirement savings than you had anticipated spending.

Finding a senior-friendly city and state is a crucial component to retirement. Not only will it mean an easier time finding the services you need, but it also will guarantee that your retirement savings will stretch further. There are a number of cost-effective cities, including some where you can live for as little as $100 per day.

Newspapers, magazines and online resources that focus on retirees have all taken a stab at compiling lists of the best places for seniors and boomers to retire. We’ve examined many of those reports, and have compiled our list of the top places for seniors to age in grace. Continue reading

Moving Right Along

One of many mobility options

Exploring Mobility Options for Seniors.

There are many things to which we look forward as we age: the ability to spend less time working and more time with our families having fun; the ability to travel and see new sights; and the freedom to try out new hobbies we’ve never had time to explore.

But there also are some things about aging that can be a hardship, including the loss of our mobility. Whether due to age, illness or injury, loss of mobility can put a crimp in our plans for retirement and beyond. We take for granted the ability to get up and walk across the room – or to stand for longer periods of time – until we find we can no longer do either comfortably or safely.

When this happens, it may be time to explore mobility assistive options such as scooters, walkers and canes. Continue reading