How to Stay Safe While Traveling Solo

Senior woman safely traveling alone

Top Tips for Going it Alone.

For many seniors and boomers, traveling is something to which they are looking forward when they finally retire and have more free time on their hands. Many have a bucket list that includes places they want to see and explore, and some have been saving for years to be able to afford the luxury.

According to the AARP, boomers were the most active travelers in 2016, taking an average of four to five trips per year for leisure. Forty-five percent of seniors and boomers traveled both domestically and internationally last year, and the trend is expected to continue into 2017. The AARP also reports that 62 percent of boomers traveling in 2016 were couples (married or living together) traveling internationally and 74 percent of those were traveling domestically.

But what about single men and women who wish to travel, but don’t have a companion to accompany them? This may pose more of a challenge to senior women than men, as women can face greater obstacles and safety concerns when traveling alone. If you are a single senior woman who wants to travel, there are ways to make your dream a reality. Continue reading

Relocating or Downsizing to Another State?

Relocating to a new home

Top Tips to Make Sure the Move is Stress-Free.

Downsizing for any reason can be a taxing endeavor. There are a number of steps in the process that, if not completed in the right order, can end up causing more stress than necessary. In fact, knowing which steps to take and in which order is one of the informational sessions we present at each one of our Upside of Downsizing conferences.

Sometimes downsizing involves moving, and not just from one residence to another, or from one town to another in your home state. It can involve relocating to an entirely new state, which adds another column of items to your “to do” list. Continue reading

No Longer Safe to be Behind the Wheel?

Senior transportation options

Top Transportation Options for Seniors and Boomers.

Americans are healthier than ever before, resulting in an average life expectancy of 78 years. With many seniors and boomers retiring by age 63 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016) – and having retirement last an average of 18 years – that’s a lot of time to have free to enjoy the things you want out of life.

While Americans may be healthier and living longer, that doesn’t mean they are capable of continuing to safely drive. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), seniors and boomers are outliving their ability to drive by as much as a decade. While many older drivers recognize when they have conditions that prevent them from safely driving, others may continue to drive out of necessity, especially in areas where public transportation may not be readily available or where including the cost of public transportation doesn’t fit into a tight budget.

Seniors who live close to friends or family members can consider asking them for assistance when they need to make occasional trips to places like the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment. Seniors and boomers who do not live close to friends or family members have other options. Let’s discuss a few of them. Continue reading

Don’t Just Look to the Friendly Skies

seniors who enjoy to travel by car

Top Three Reasons to Consider Driving on Your Next Trip.

Summer soon will be upon us, along with the peak of the travel season. While it is true that people travel for all sorts of reasons year-round, summertime is the peak season for those heading to vacation destinations. According to the U.S. Travel Association, a majority of Americans who take vacations do so during the summer months

When planning a getaway, the method of transportation is a huge factor in your vacation budget. If you are planning a trip that is of considerable distance – say Europe – then flying is really the only viable option for getting to your destination in a timely fashion. But for those individuals who are planning to vacation a little closer to home, driving may be a better option than flying for many reasons. Continue reading

Tired of the Same Old, Same Old?

Shake things up to find enjoyment

Ways to Make Life More Exciting Again.

Retirement is something for which many of us spend years dreaming about and longing. We plot and plan what we are going to do with all our free time once we leave the hustle and bustle of the 9-to-5-life behind.

Then it arrives – and we find ourselves mired in the same old routine all over again. Retirement becomes boring and predictable. Sure, there may be moments of extreme exhilaration. Maybe you have finally planned that trip to Europe; or maybe you signed up for that painting class you’ve always wanted to take.

But what happens during the moments when you’re not taking a big trip, or engaging in a new hobby? Most of us cannot afford to live in the lap of luxury for the entire length of our retirement, regardless of how well we plan. Instead of thinking about the big events, take time to think outside the box, and plan for ways to make every day new and different to maximize your retirement enjoyment. Continue reading

Faded Memories

Seniors dealing with Alzheimer's

How to Downsize with Alzheimer’s in the Mix.

We have said it before, and you will likely hear us say it many more times: downsizing is taxing on the body, mind and spirit. More than just the physical aspects of sorting, donating, discarding and packing, downsizing takes an emotional toll on everyone involved in the process.

The emotional stress of downsizing can be triggered by memories of the items you are sorting, attachment to a home where you may have raised a family and made many memories, and the echoes in the back of your mind whispering that change can be scary, even if you are otherwise looking forward to the next stage in your life.

All the emotions associated with the downsizing process can be complicated further if one of the seniors involved is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease may already feel anxious or agitated, which can worsen if they are taken from a familiar environment and placed in a new one. So, when downsizing in this kind of situation, there are certain tips and tools that can make the transition smoother for not only the person with Alzheimer’s, but also for others who are involved in the process. Continue reading

Top Tips for Getting into Tip-Top Shape

Seniors staying in shape

How to Achieve Your Best Physical State.

When we retire, we often have a bucket list of items to work through now that we have the time to enjoy life to the fullest. For some, it may be improving their golf swing. For others, it might be about learning how to paint or play a musical instrument.

No matter how you plan to spend your golden years, exercise should be a regular part of it. Numerous studies tout the benefits of exercise as we age. Neuroscientists, psychologists and physicians all agree that exercise is one of the best things you can do for both the body and mind. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 50 percent! Not only is it good for the brain, it’s good for the body. Engaging in regular exercise fights obesity and can fight chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Be sure to squeeze in some healthy – and safe – ways to get or stay in shape throughout your senior years. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. There are many fun ways to get into tip-top shape, whether you’ve been exercising for years or are just getting around to getting into shape. Continue reading

Technology Know-How 101

Seniors using technology

Becoming Technology – Savvy in the 21st Century.

Remember the good-old-days, when the hardest technology related issue you had to figure out was how to record your favorite program on the VCR?

Seniors and boomers now are faced with a plethora of technology tools and devices, all with their own learning curves. And while it may seem like a lot to keep straight, there are some benefits for seniors who regularly use technology.

Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable technology tools and devices on the market today, and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Tablets and Laptops

Desktop computers have their place, and for the longest time, they were it as far as an electronic computing “device.” Now, laptops and tablets are quickly replacing the desktop computer as top choices for those buying new computers.

According to information from Statistica, tablets are expected to become the top-selling electronic device among the three by the year 2020 .  In 2010 – the first year Statistica tracked sales – 157 million desktop computers were purchased and shipped worldwide. Laptop figures were at 201 million for 2010, with tablets trailing at just 19 million orders. That trend was reversed in 2014, when tablets became the top-selling device among the three, with just over 230 million shipped globally. Continue reading

When Size Matters

Senior living community

Tips for Choosing a Senior Living Community.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, retirement is defined as the act of withdrawing, going away, retreating.

When it comes to the modern definition of retirement – that glorious age where we can shed the 9 to 5 work responsibilities and live our lives to the fullest – some of those words in the traditional definition may apply.

Many seniors and boomers, who have been gainfully employed their entire lives, withdraw from the workforce to spend more time with their families, hobbies and other activities. Some choose to “go away” on trips they’ve always wanted to take, but never had the time to enjoy while working and raising a family. And many retirees “retreat” to senior living communities, where they can engage socially with others their age and get assistance, as needed, as they age.

Retirement communities can be a fabulous experience for seniors and boomers. In previous blogs, we’ve explored the benefits of choosing to downsize and move into a retirement community. To recap, the benefits of choosing a retirement community are numerous: save money on living expenses; save time on household chores; opportunity for social interaction and group social activities; on-site skilled care if needed. Continue reading

Spring Into an Exciting Adventure

Senior couple enjoying outdoor activities

Top 5 Fun Activities for Seniors.

Now that the weather is warmer and Spring is in full bloom, the opportunity is ripe for seniors and boomers to brush off the doldrums of the long winter months and engage in some seasonal activities.

For many seniors and boomers, Springtime is a favorite season. There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh, spring air and the warmth of the sun to lighten the spirits. Seniors who may find it difficult to navigate through the harsh conditions associated with the winter months once again will be able to get outside, socialize and enjoy nature.

Springtime also inspires many seniors to become healthier and more active again, and the weather is more amiable to helping them achieve these goals in the spring than the winter.

The following top 10 fun activities can be enjoyed by all seniors and boomers, whether living in a senior retirement community, an assisted living community or with a family member or caregiver

#1 – Enjoy Nature

Springtime is unique in that many things are blooming. The feeling of life being renewed – of seeing the offspring of animals and trees and plants budding with new life – is a fantastic way to boost the spirits. Seniors who live in a retirement community may have convenient access to a walking trail or other outdoor area right on campus. Continue reading

There is No Need to Manage the Maze Alone

using a placement agency

Top Tips for using Placement Agencies.

In August 2015, we blogged about care managers and their role in assisting seniors and boomers as they navigate through the maze of downsizing options. Care managers, who also are referred to as case managers and are coordinators, are professionals who specialize in providing a number of services related to the downsizing process.

Care managers can be extremely helpful; however, their services are not free. Sometimes, Medicaid or Medicare will pay for a case manager’s services, but most often, they do not. It is more likely that the client will pay out of pocket for the services, which can range in cost. Some care managers charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge an hourly rate.

Another option for seniors and boomers who need assistance is a placement agency.

Knowing When to Downsize

Before we discuss the details of what a placement agency is and how to select a reputable one to work with, a quick refresher on knowing when to downsize is in order. Continue reading

Counseling 101

Senior couple receiving counseling

Know who to Call When You’re in Need.

The idea of downsizing can be overwhelming for some seniors and boomers. Just thinking about the process can cause anxiety and sometimes depression. Sorting, categorizing and compartmentalizing a lifetime worth of belongings is a challenging endeavor. While some find it physically draining, others may find it emotionally taxing as well.

It is why at all of our Upside of Downsizing conferences, we provide access to, and information about, the kinds of professionals who can help assist seniors and boomers through every step of the downsizing process. This includes mental health professionals and care managers who can help downsizers cope with the emotional side of things.

Whether support is in the form of therapy, medication or assistance navigating the many senior living options available when downsizing, it’s important to make sure you are seeking assistance from the right professional. Let’s discuss the kinds of professionals available and the specialties for each to help narrow down the right person for the job. Continue reading

Decorate to Reflect Style, Passion

Decorated living room with beauty and style

Top Tips for a Happier Home.

American businesswoman Iris Apfel viewed personal style as a way to create intrigue, once stating “great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself.”

Style goes beyond the clothes we wear and the hairstyles we choose. Personal style also is reflected in the way in which we choose to decorate our homes, whether we live in 2,500 square-foot house or a one-bedroom high-rise apartment.

The last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about the downsizing process in regards to planning for the move, including tips for self-movers and those who planned to hired professionals to assist. This week, we’re going to explore the idea of decorating your space to reflect your style and your passion. We’ll include ideas from choosing your colors to the placement of furniture and other accessories. Continue reading

Healthy Hearing Can Balance Your Life

Senior having hearing and balance checked.

Understanding the connection between hearing and balance.

De-cluttering and downsizing a home can be a dizzying process.  The overwhelming stress can even throw us off-balance.  However, if you are reorganizing and notice you are clumsier than usual; your body could be signaling something more.

Our balance system, also known as the vestibular system, helps us stay upright and allows us to move without falling. Our balance and equilibrium are controlled through signals from the eyes, inner ear and sensory systems to the brain.

Research by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging revealed that hearing loss can alter our balance and increase the likelihood of falls.   Hurting yourself in a fall can prevent you from simplifying your life.  Before tackling any laborious projects, especially those on a ladder, make sure you are protected.   Here are a few ways you can reduce the risk. Continue reading

Don’t Live out of Boxes!

Seniors unpacking after a move

Practical Tips for Unpacking Your New Space.

For the last couple of weeks, we have been discussing the best ways to pack up your belongings and get them to their new destination after making the decision to downsize. This week, we want to provide some practical tips for unpacking the moving van and organizing your new space so you aren’t living out of boxes for months.

While it is true that the decluttering and packing up of the belongings that will be making the move with you is a difficult and time-consuming process, unpacking and arranging your new space can be just as challenging without a little forethought.

Unpacking Rule #1 – Visualize and Assign a Purpose to the Space

Before moving day, visit your new home and make a list of every room and space in it. Don’t forget to include rooms like the bathroom, hallways, the basement and all storage areas (closets, pantries). After you record each space in your new home, write the purpose for each of those spaces next to it on the list. If you are moving into a studio-style apartment, this process is going to look a bit different. Instead of assigning a purpose to each room, assign a purpose to each area of the studio. Continue reading

Don’t Get Dragged Down by Moving Day!

Two movers

Top 5 Tips for Self Movers.

In our blog last week, we discussed strategies for moving day – one of the key parts of the downsizing process. When executed poorly, moving can cause unnecessary and unwanted stress for seniors and boomers.

It can be difficult enough if using professional movers and move managers to assist during this phase of downsizing; but for those who choose to be self movers, there are added challenges if a solid plan is not in place. We are not big fans of trying to move yourself for many reasons, but we do realize that for some seniors and boomers, budgetary constraints may make moving themselves necessary.

If your moving budget is limited, or you simply feel confident in your own ability to get your things moved to your new retirement destination on your own, we’ll discuss the top five ways to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Tip #1 – Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Would you leave for a weeklong vacation in some far-off tropical paradise without planning in advance? The answer is most likely no, especially if you want to have plane tickets and hotels in which to stay when you arrive. Moving day should be no different, especially when doing the work yourself. Continue reading