Staying Active After Retirement

Studies have shown that as we get older, it’s important to stay active both mentally and physically. Staying active results in living longer, healthier lives, even if it might be easier to just sit at home and watch TV!

In the interest of sparking some motivation, here’s a list of 5 activities that seniors and retirement age adults can enjoy!

  1. Try a new restaurant – Break out of old habits, and give a new cuisine, cooking style, or location a try! Use Yelp or another site to find a well-reviewed local restaurant you’ve never experienced, and give it a shot. They might not all be winners, but you could find a new favorite!
  2. Go to the movies – Even if it’s just like watching TV, except in a public place with a much bigger screen, why not get out of the house? Check out a local independent film, a documentary, or see what you think of the latest blockbuster.
  3. Date – If you’re single, go mingle! There are plenty of great dating sites out there that can match you up with someone who’s your age, has similar interests, and might just make you smile!
  4. Go shopping – This doesn’t just mean the mall. Have you checked out local thrift stores, secondhand furniture or antique shops, or small vintage stores? There are likely plenty of unique little places that would be a great place to shop!
  5. Join (or start) an organization – Unless you live somewhere with a single-digit population, chances are high that there are organizations filled with people you’ll get along great with! From veteran organizations to community groups, who knows what fun you’ll find? And if you don’t see an organization that matches your needs, why not start one?

These are just five out of the hundreds of activities that you can do to stay active, keep healthy, and most importantly, have fun. And of course, once you’re done, you can rely on Compassionate Care to be there for you, with in-home care services that keep you healthy and safe at home as well. Call (561) 244-5098 or (888) 814-3778 for a free in-home assessment.

On Becoming 90

This is a fantastic article written by Dr. Natasha Josefowitz on turning 90. Prepare to be inspired!

“I often still feel like a spring chicken, but I’m coming to realize I’m really just an old hen. So this column is to prepare all of my readers who, if they are lucky enough, also reach 90.

What is reassuring is that it is too late for me to die young. I sometimes wonder which of my organs will fail first. I’m on the alert; so far there are no signs.

These are some of the things that are beginning to happen to me with more frequency: immediately forgetting the name of the person I just met, constantly misplacing my iPhone (having to call from my landline to find it), not remembering the name of the movie I saw last night (but then neither does the friend I was with), needing to look at my calendar several times a day and still mixing up dates and times, losing track of conversations (because of diminished hearing) and therefore simply nodding and smiling when others do so, walking with my eyes focused on the ground rather than the scenery around because I’m afraid of tripping.

Two things seem to happen as people age; the first is that paranoia sets in: Whenever I lose an object in my apartment, I have a knee-jerk reaction that someone took it; I always find it later in an odd place. The other is losing one’s filters: I say things I had not meant to say; they come out of my mouth before I can stop myself.

What do I do differently now than when I was much younger — like when I was eighty? When I drive, I plot my turns more carefully than I used to. I take Uber to far away or unknown destinations instead of driving. I look at the back of my hair in the mirror to cover any pink skin that might be showing. I stand on one leg when I brush my teeth to practice good balance. I don’t order dessert, but take a spoonful from my dining partner’s — remembering from Weight Watchers that the second bite tastes the same as the first. I have refused to attend some boring events; I meditate more conscientiously; I write everything down that I need to remember and put it in a visible place for continued reference throughout the day. I use the speakerphone even when I’m alone on a call. It has taken me ninety years to finally feel I don’t have to finish everything on my plate. But I admit I still have trouble with the old admonition to not throw out or give away anything that is still serviceable, hence, the superfluous clothes in my closets.

The good news is that far from slowing down in old age, the brain can actually keep growing new dendrites, which are the connections between neurons. Old brains are as plastic as young brains; in fact, the connections between the two hemispheres of our brains become better integrated with age. Our reasoning powers and emotional stability increase, as well as tolerance for contradictions. Older people have fewer negative emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, and are thus happier than they were in their youths. And the best part: I don’t ever have to have a colonoscopy anymore, nor a mammogram, nor ever go to a gynecologist again. I will outlive any possible cancer.

Indeed, I feel less hassled by small things. I am more tolerant and more compassionate. I try to be less judgmental then I was in my youth. I am also wiser; I figure out problems and find solutions faster. It is rewarding to still be able to be helpful and available to others.

My bucket list is empty. I have been everywhere I wanted to go (having worked as a lecturer on many world cruises). I am happy to stay put in my retirement community surrounded by caring friends.

I remember many joyful times in my life: the college years, having children at home, having no children at home, traveling with my husband, being in the trenches as an early feminist, teaching, and finally being here today. Even though I lost a husband, a brother, and a son, I am grateful for the palm tree and the ocean outside my window and even more so for my daughter, my four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who will come visit to celebrate my 90th birthday.

So now you all know what to expect when you arrive to your tenth decade but that may not be the end other story, as there are more centenarians now than ever before. Ten years from now expect a column on turning one hundred.”

[source]

Personal Finance Checklist At Age 50

In a youth-oriented culture, it is easy to feel a little over the hill by the time you turn 50. When it comes to building wealth though, your 50s are the prime of your life – a period when you have a chance to emerge from debt, enjoy your peak earning years and start to see your investments make a serious contribution to your net worth.

To take advantage of this crucial phase of your financial life, it is important to understand some key factors that can help you make the most of your 50s.

Personal finance checklist at age 50

As you look over your financial situation once you turn 50, here are some things you should attend to:

1. Shift more heavily from borrowing to saving

Early in your career, accumulated savings are likely to be modest and it seems you are taking out one loan after another: student loans, car loans, home mortgages, etc. By the time you reach age 50 though, you should have greatly reduced your debt burden. In its place, you should see a growing portfolio of retirement assets. This is the type of trend that can feed on itself: the more you retire your debt, the more of your monthly budget can go to savings rather than loan payments.

2. Estimate your Social Security benefits

The U.S. Social Security Administration will provide you with a free projection of your retirement benefits based on your career earnings so far. While this will remain subject to change based on your subsequent earnings, by age 50 you should have enough of a track record to get a sense of what contribution Social Security will make to your retirement income. This projection can also help you start to think seriously about the pros and cons of retiring early or working longer to achieve the maximum annual benefit.

3. Reassess your retirement goals

In addition to Social Security, look at your other retirement savings and see how much income they project to provide. Knowing where you stand will help you make more concrete plans about the future, including when to retire and what kind of lifestyle to expect.

4. Use catch-up retirement saving opportunities

Looking at your projected Social Security benefits and your savings accounts relative to your goals may tell you that you have some catching up to do. Fortunately, the government gives you some catch-up opportunities in the form off additional tax-deferred retirement contributions to 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) plans that you can make once you turn 50. Use this as an incentive to start making extra contributions.

5. Keep your asset allocation aggressive

People often feel their investments should get more conservative as they get older, but age 50 is too soon to throttle back to a less growth-oriented asset allocation. At that age, you are probably still more than a decade away from retirement, and still have an investment time horizon of some 30 or so years stretched out ahead of you. Plus, if you are contributing heavily to your retirement plans, this positive cash flow will help smooth out some of the volatility from growth investments.

6. Update your will

If you first made a will when you started your family, you might find things are radically different by the time you turn 50. Your kids may be on the verge of adulthood and your net worth may be substantially greater, so it is a good time to take a fresh look at what provisions you’ve made for your survivors.

7. Don’t be shy about discounts

Turning 50 makes you eligible for AARP membership. Don’t let that make you feel old – just look at the discounts available, and think of it as an advantage you’ve earned.

8. Take advantage of senior checking accounts

Some banks offer checking accounts for older customers that have no monthly fees. Eligibility is often set at age 50, and with free checking getting harder to find these days, signing up for one of these accounts can be another advantage of getting older.

9. Survey your career opportunities

Since these can be your peak earnings years, you should assess whether your current employer is the best place to capitalize on those years, or whether you could do better somewhere else. To think more defensively, you should also take an honest look at whether your job skills need freshening up so your employer does not view you as out of date.

With proper attention to your finances, this could be your greatest decade for wealth building. After all, it is too late for procrastination and too early for slowing down. This is prime time.

reference: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/personal-finance-checklis_b_14682764.html

My Grandmother Found The Love Of Her Life At Ninety

“I have a boyfriend,” said Grandma over the telephone. It was August of 2016, and I was pretending to be in Arizona although I had in fact moved to Istanbul. For years Grandma had been saying that I should stop travelling to Turkey because it was “a very dangerous place.” Having decided that the truth wasn’t worth her worries over coup attempts, mass arrests and repeated bombings (okay, maybe she was just a little bit right), I’d immediately turned the conversation to Grandma’s news. I wasn’t expecting, of course, that her life had suddenly become more interesting than mine.

“He’s ninety-three,” she declared. “And such a gentleman.”

“I thought you didn’t want one of those?”

(A year after Grandpa died, I’d told her to get a boyfriend. She’d reacted as if I’d suggested the purchase of a straitjacket. “What would I want one of those for? I’ve got a dog!”)

“Things happen,” said Grandma.

“Oh?”

“Our caregiver introduced us two months ago.”

“Is he a friend or a boyfriend?”

“A boyfriend, definitely,” she said with a joyous tone I’d only heard her use once before, just after she adopted her dog, a sweet poodle mix named Fifi. “He takes me out to dinner a couple times a week.”

“Do you hold hands?”

“No. It’s not convenient. We both have canes.”

I proudly told my coworkers about Grandma’s relationship. They said, “Isn’t that cute? She has a companion.” Everyone assumed that the relationship would continue thus: romantically platonic. But I hoped for more.

Grandma was born in Brooklyn in 1926, married in 1945, and widowed in 2010. She no longer drives and complains that email and Skype are too difficult but still lives alone in New York and Florida townhouses. As a child, I spent a lot of time with her, partly because I liked it, partly because my parents wanted to offload me and partly because I was to serve as the female child that Grandma had longed to have instead of four sons. (When my father called to announce my birth, she exclaimed, “I’ve finally got my girl!”) While I was in primary school, Grandma and I sewed doll clothes on her Singer, gathered string beans and tomatoes from her garden, watched romantic movies while eating buttered popcorn, and played with makeup and nail polish. I also watched her paint still life watercolors, a hobby that substituted for the romance she wished she had had instead of her strained marriage. Even at the age of ten, as I listened to my grandparents’ arguments from the back seat of Grandpa’s caddie, I wondered why they didn’t just get a divorce already. And so, after Grandma was widowed, I could almost understand how Fifi the dog could seem superior to a husband.

But after Fifi’s newness faded, Grandma became increasingly cranky. When I visited her in Florida for a weekend in 2015, hoping for some meaningful conversations about her life, she was only interested in the weekend’s to-do list. On Sunday afternoon, she threw a fit because I’d clogged her garbage disposal with kale stems. “Don’t you have a disposal at home?” she shouted. “Don’t you know that you can never ever put greens in it?”

“Actually, I put kale stems in my disposal all the time—”

“Go to your room!” she bellowed.

“I’m thirty-nine,” I said.

“Don’t sass-mouth me!”

I grabbed the dog leash and called Fifi instead of fulfilling my sentence. While walking, I remembered my uncle saying that Grandma had struggled with depression for most of her life. At one point, probably in her thirties, she’d become so despondent that she’d walked out of her New York house barefoot, wearing only a nightgown in the middle of winter. This knowledge helped me maintain a contracted patience during Grandma’s continued muttering about the horrors of the clogged disposal (even after it was fixed). On Monday morning, a few minutes before I left for the airport, Grandma apologized for her outburst. I kissed her forehead and said, “It’s ok.” But I didn’t promise any future visits.

Trying to put this incident aside, I sent Grandma a copy of my favorite novel, Love in the Time of Cholera (geriatric romance, hint, hint). When I asked what she thought of it, she said, “Not really my thing. I prefer Danielle Steel.” So we couldn’t spend a weekend in the same house; our literary tastes didn’t agree; and she obstinately refused even the possibility of a boyfriend. But if Grandma was into Danielle, it meant that she hadn’t given up on love. And that was why I was so thrilled with her August 2016 boyfriend announcement.

In September, I called for updates. Boyfriend had started using his cane on the left so that they could hold hands while walking into restaurants. The week prior, he had driven Grandma home from dinner, seen her to the door, and given her a photo of himself. At their next meeting, she gave him her photo. In 1940s etiquette, this exchange meant exclusivity. In October, Grandma said her beau had started coming into the house for a cup of decaf after their dinner dates. “And he’s quite a kisser, I’ll tell you, but the other day he tried something I wasn’t ready for.”

“Details,” I said.

“I’m not telling,” she replied.

“What are you afraid of, Grandma? Getting pregnant?”

“I’m not ready. We haven’t been going that long.”

I found Grandma’s antiquated slang adorable. She and Boyfriend weren’t dating. They were going.

“Grandma, he might think you aren’t interested.”

“But I don’t know if I want that.”

“Who doesn’t want that? Count yourself lucky you’ve found a man who still can.”

“He can wait.”

“At ninety-three? Listen, Grandma, maybe I could teach you a few things—”

“Maybe I could teach you a few things!”

When I called in November, Grandma told me she’d bought Boyfriend a new suit because she wanted to take him to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Even though everyone else would be casual, Grandma insisted on being accompanied by a well-appointed man. I remembered her arguments with Grandpa about his old “dungarees” and terrible barber. Thankfully, Boyfriend was more compliant.

For Christmas, Boyfriend gave Grandma a silver and diamond necklace. Smart man: the way to Grandma’s QVC-addicted heart has always been jewelry. For his present, Grandma took him shoe shopping (she hated his “god-awful” loafers) and also invited him to sleep over at her place. “We’re so in love!” she told me on our Christmas Eve call.

“Did you buy lingerie?” I asked.

“At my age? Are you kidding me? He’ll be happy with what he’s got.”

“Does he take Viagra?”

“No. Says he doesn’t need it.”

I called her the day after Christmas. “Well? Did you?”

“No. He had diarrhea. The big night is postponed to my birthday.”

While I was at lunch on December 29th in Istanbul, Grandma’s ninetieth birthday party was just finishing up in New York. I received photos of a beaming couple on my iPhone: Grandma, dressed in an elegant pink outfit that she herself made decades ago, was sitting in an armchair; well-suited Boyfriend was leaning on the chair back. The best way to take a photo without canes, obviously. I showed the pics to my motley group of Greek, Turkish, Armenian, and Arab coworkers. They marveled at this ageless love affair, especially since Grandma is in better shape at ninety than most Middle Eastern women at seventy-five.

A few days later, I made another phone call, this time to Florida. “Did you finally do it?”

“Sort of. It was late after the party, and we’d had too much wine. But it was good, whatever it was. He drove me to the airport the next morning. It was so hard to say goodbye! We’re talking three or four times a day on FaceTime.”

“You learned how to use FaceTime?”

“Yep. On my iPad. By the way, I bought some cute nighties and a black lace bra and underpants.”

“Thong?”

“Don’t push it.”

I heard kids screaming. “Where are you?” I said.

“Walgreen’s. His ninety-fourth is next week. I’m picking out a card.”

“Get two, Grandma. One sexy and one romantic.”

“Ok. You know, I should have done this boyfriend thing a long time ago.”

“Don’t you remember I suggested it after Grandpa died? You said no way.”

“Well, you were right. It’s a good life.”

I called again on Valentine’s Day, knowing that Boyfriend had just arrived for a two-week visit. “I bet you’re having a better Valentine’s Day than I am,” I said to Grandma.

She sassily replied, “I bet I am, too.”

A man asked, “Who is it?”

“My oldest granddaughter. The one who tells me to buy sexy underwear.”

Boyfriend took the phone. “Hey, Nektaria,” he said. “I’ve got to thank you for the lingerie help.”

“No problem. I’ll keep working on it until she gets a thong.”

“Looking forward to it.”

“And I have to thank you for making Grandma so happy,” I said. “She’s a different person.”

He laughed. “Well, not too many people our age get to have a romance. Anyway, let’s meet soon. I’ll tell you stories about your grandmother that you’ve never heard.”

This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. “I promise to visit as soon as I can,” I said.

[source]

Study: Humans Haven’t Reached Full Lifespan

HUMANS HAVE BEEN living longer for decades, and a new study shows there is no ceiling in sight for lifespan.

A study published Friday in the journal Science found that the death rate of seniors abruptly slows around 80 years old and then plateaus at 105 years old, which they interpreted to mean that humans are not close to a biological limit on how long they can live. The researchers examined records of Italians who had reached 105 years old between 2009 and 2015 (born between 1896 and 1910). Their search resulted in 3,836 people. After verifying their age with their birth certificates, the researchers examined which of those Italians had died during the study period to determine the rate different age groups died at.

This study comes after a 2016 study by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine put the maximum human lifespan at about 115 years.

The new study focused on mortality rates, which are relatively high in infancy and decrease during a person’s early years. They then go up in a person’s thirties and drastically increase when people reach their seventies and eighties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, Elisabetta Barbi, a demographer at the University of Rome, and her team discovered that among very old Italians, the death rate stops rising around age 80, begins to decelerate and then plateaus after age 105, according to the study.

“If there’s a fixed biological limit, we are not close to it,” Barbi told The New York Times.

Co-author of the study, Kenneth Wachter, a demographer at the University of California, Berkeleyechoed Barbi.

“The plateau is sinking over time. We’re not approaching any maximum lifespan for humans yet,” he told the Times.

Brandon Milholland, co-author of the 2016 study, however, has his doubts due to the study’s limited scope.

[source]

Three Things We Can Learn From Our Elders

Every generation has its own stories, perspective and lessons to pass down, and it’s up to us to listen. Before the world of social media and digital content being stored indefinitely, we would sit at the feet of our oldest living relatives and hear stories about their lives. These stories would contain life lessons and powerful messages.

Next time you see your grandparents or great-grandparents, sit and listen for a bit. See if you can learn something special. Here are three things we can and should learn from our older family members:

Inner Strength

Chances are that your grandparents or great-grandparents went through a LOT. Today’s world, even with the amount of upheaval we can find ourselves in, doesn’t compare to theirs. Working back-breaking jobs, seeing their spouses for scant minutes at the end of a day, going to war and relying on letters for communication, and feeding large families with almost no supplies. They persevered and pushed through for their family and for survival, and they didn’t have a choice! If we can harness even a fraction of that resilience and fortitude, we can make them proud.

Humility

In a world that didn’t have YouTube or reality television, there were no celebrities. You counted the number of friends you had on one hand, and there was no social media to boost your ego for getting lots of engagements on a post or photo. Being humble wasn’t a special trait back then – it was the standard, and each of us would do better to introduce more humility into our daily lives.

History

Your grandparents, and grand-uncles and grand-aunts, and everyone from the older generation have the best stories! They’ve lived through the events you’ve only read about in books, and they can tell you firsthand what it was like. You can hear about their feelings and fears and hopes and what it truly meant to be present during some of the major moments of history. And on a smaller scale, they know all about the family history – the juicy gossip, the sacrifices made, and the origins of your own personal DNA.

Here at Compassionate Care, we treat each client with the care and respect he or she deserves. Providing outstanding in-home care services is only the beginning. Our caregivers provide clients with loving, compassionate care that evokes the way we would treat our own relatives, and we are always willing to sit, listen, and learn something. Call (561) 244-5098 or (888) 814-3778 for a free in-home assessment.