Achieving Holiday Happiness

family enjoying the Christmas Holiday

How to keep the merry in Christmas.

While the holiday season is a time of celebration, many seniors are not immune to sadness, especially as they face their first holiday without a spouse. It’s important to understand that happiness is a choice that needs to be cultivated; it is not something that just “happens.”

By engaging in the Christian aspect of Christmas, remaining active, volunteering and being around children, we can capture that elusive feeling of joy. And remember, thoughtfulness and love need not come with a hefty price tag.

Joy to the World

According to a Pew Research Center study, faith is an important harbinger to holiday health. More than 75 percent of 55-plus adults believe in the virgin birth of Jesus and are more likely to attend a Christmas Eve church service than those under 55. The Pew study of a representative sample of 2,001 adults explores Americans’ plans for the holiday season and finds that religious connection and gathering with family and friends is what most Americans look forward to about the holidays.

Despite holiday commercialism that seems overwhelming, the real meaning of Christmas offers timeless value, according to Denise DeMarco, a Pittsburgh-based GriefShare facilitator.  She stresses, “Jesus has brought joy to the world and because of this, the void, possibly downsizing, and broken traditions can be faced one by one. The Hope has been born, and heaven is real.” Continue reading

Don’t Spend More Than You Have to in the Run Up to Retirement

Managing retirement spending habits

Get on top of your spending habits now for stress free years ahead.

In 2015, a Life+ Money Survey found that a worrying 19.8 % of Americans felt that their biggest financial fear was being too poor to retire. This leads to approximately every 2 in 5 Americans mainly worrying about sticking to a budget or saving for retirement. For retirees worried about outliving their savings, downsizing their spending habits can mean the difference between success and failure. Some plan to downsize their homes while others simplify their lives in other ways.

To reduce your monthly expenses, first have a look at all your monthly outgoings and whether they are necessary. For help in managing your spending habits as you contemplate retirement, a good starting point is making a plan. Decide what ideal of retirement you have in mind, then take steps towards this. Here are some common areas where overspending can occur.

Household Bills

Growing in popularity is the option of downsizing. While you may be able to afford it, a larger home means you should expect household costs such as utilities to go up. Older homeowners, once their children are independent, no longer need a large family home. Considering a smaller home or a less expensive neighborhood can reduce living costs when retired. Continue reading

Support Group 101

Benefits of a support group

Finding the Group to Fit Your Needs.

It doesn’t matter our age, or our stage, in life. There may be times when a support group can prove to be a valuable asset.

Life-altering issues such as illness, death or depression can leave most people in need of an effective way to deal with the emotions that come along with those situations. While individual therapy with a professional counselor can be beneficial, some people may find additional comfort in joining a support group.

For some seniors and boomers, talking with a group of strangers about something that is deeply personal can be difficult. They belong to a generation that was not encouraged to openly share their feelings, so talking with others about their struggles may feel inappropriate and uncomfortable.

But a good support group can serve as a lifeline – providing a safe place to talk about your feelings with others who will most certainly understand, because they have been there themselves. Continue reading

Rethinking What You’re Drinking

Drinking bottled water or tap water

Is Bottled or Tap Better?

When it comes to our health, we are willing to eat better and exercise, and try any new recommendation from our doctors. Along with diet and exercise, many people have made the switch to drinking bottled water instead of what flows from their taps, believing it to be a superior product. But is it really safer for drinking or better for us?

According to a Beverage Marketing Corp. report, bottled water consumption in the United States was 39.3 gallons per capita in 2017, or roughly 12.8 billion gallons, which reflected a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

While clever marketing campaigns may be partly credited with the increase in bottled water’s popularity, it certainly cannot take all of the credit. Concerns over what, exactly, was in our nation’s drinking water prompted many people to make the switch to bottled. Continue reading

Plastic Surgery – A Nip Here, a Tuck There

A woman prepares for plastic surgery

Cosmetic Surgery After 60.

Andy Rooney once said that it’s “…paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”

No matter your attitude when it comes to aging, going through the process can make it difficult to maintain a positive outlook. Everyone ages differently, and our lifestyles play a major role in the physical and emotional issues we will face as we get older. It’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of loss as our skin gains more wrinkles and our prescription eyeglasses get stronger each year.

Some seniors and boomers are refusing to accept the outer changes that can accompany aging, and are turning their attention to plastic surgery as an option to delay the process. Continue reading

Bridging the Gap Between Millennials and Boomers

Communication between generations

Top Communication Tips for the Generations.

The idiom “it’s like Greek to me” is commonly used to express when someone is having difficulty understanding someone or something. The ability to have communication with one another is the cornerstone of personal relationships. Human beings were meant to be in relationship with one another, and when communicating with one another becomes difficult, it threatens who we are at our very core.

Communication issues, in particular, are quite common among the generations. There are five living generations, each with their own set of values and communication styles.

Traditionalists are those who were born between 1922 and 1945. They tend to respect authority, will place work before having fun and are rule-followers. Baby boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964, and are known to be workaholics. They value quality over quantity and are definitely not afraid to question those in authority. Generation X are those born between 1965 and 1980. Gen Xers value direction and structure in their lives and believe in addressing issues immediately. Millennials were born between 1981 and 2000. They are go-getters, love multitasking and are huge fans of collaboration with others. And then there are the Generation Zs – also known as iGens and Centennials – were born after 2001. As their very name suggests, they prefer communicating through technology in a way that previous generations have not. Continue reading

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