Tag Archives: aging

How We Age

Ursula Staudinger, a lifespan psychologist who directs the Columbia Aging Center said, “How old we feel imprints itself on how we act and experience old age. You either want to get into your own old age or you don’t, and it plays out dramatically.”

She continues to explain that instead of obsessing about your own chronological age — a measure that varies widely among individuals — “think about the historical year you were born,” she suggested, “and immediately your associations will change.”

This ability to view your lifespan as a chunk of history does more than help you get over yourself. It draws your attention to what is happening in the world as a result of our longer lives. The age boom, Staudinger pointed out, is unfolding in tandem with what she calls a “fertility revolution.” It means that as we grow older, there are fewer babies being born in our wake.

“It is the combination of longevity and fertility we need to take into account,” she said. “By the year 2070, population growth will come to a halt. We will be shrinking.”

Learn more about Dr. Staudinger and the work of the Columbia Aging Center at http://aging.columbia.edu/.





Preparing To Live To Be 100

The longer you live the more money you will have to spend, or conversely, the more money you should start saving now to prepare for living into your 100s. Modern medicine and the fact that many diseases and illnesses are able to be caught and even corrected early means that many of us are living longer, and in many cases, healthier lives.

If you’re hoping to live to be 100, how will you make certain you can afford it? The time is now to look at your finances and prepare for a secure financial life in your Golden Years. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don’t outlive your money:

  • Take stock of your spending. Scrutinize your spending for the next 30 days. Track where you’re spending and where you might be able to cut back and put that money into a savings account. It may be easier, and paint a more accurate picture, if you analyze three months’ worth of spending and take an average.
  • Talk with your CPA to get a snapshot of the amount of money you may need into retirement. Many individuals believe they will spend less money once they’re retired because they won’t have the expenses for food or commuting and other out of pocket expenses; what they don’t plan for is the money spent on hobbies or travel or leisure, now that you have leisure time. You may also see an increase in your family food budget because you’ll be eating more meals at home than in the past.
  • Save as much money, as often as you can. Check on your investments and, depending on your age, invest either more robustly or conservatively. Your financial adviser is your best point of contact for your investment planning.
  • Take a look at your lifestyle. Are there items you will want to do once you retire that you don’t now? How much will they cost? Are there activities you do now that you won’t once you retire? How much do they cost? If you plan to travel or take up a new hobby you will want to calculate those costs so you can budget for them. You don’t want to look at retirement as “sitting around the house with nothing to do” time you want to enjoy your Golden Years and pursue hobbies and activities you perhaps didn’t have time for while you were working and raising a family.
  • Will you be able to afford to live in your own home? Will you need to downsize or even make arrangements to live in a retirement community? What will that cost? Will it make sense for you to invest in long-term care insurance? Talk with a trusted advisor before you make any decisions on this purchase.
  • Get your paperwork in order. Don’t wait until you need a power of attorney or a healthcare proxy or a will – by the time you need it, it will be too late. Talk with your attorney and your family and get these papers drawn up early so they are in place in the event of a health emergency when you can’t speak for yourself. While it may be a bit morbid, you may want to put your funeral arrangements in writing and even get them planned so that your family won’t have to wonder at what your wishes would have been.
  • Pay off as much of your debt as possible. It’s best to not have to worry about credit card debt or loans with high interest rates, especially when retirement is drawing near and when your income will likely be lower than it was when you were working.

Taking steps to prepare for living to be 100-years-old is best done when you’re younger and in good health!

Turning 50 and Loving It

Remember when you were 10 years old and 50 year old’s seemed ancient?  Well, take a look at who’s turning 50 this year and you’ll see that 50 is quite young!

CNN recently shared an article entitled “10 reasons it’s great to turn 50“. They shared these reasons:

1) You can forget about contraception. Probably. Although it is biologically possible for many women to get pregnant after 50, it’s generally much, much harder and less likely:Women older than 47 account for just .01% of births.

Of course, the children you already have might be teenagers. Many women, like Michelle Obama, who chose to have children in their 30s will reach 50 with teens living in the house, and might be facing all the stress, angst and struggle that comes with seeing a child through adolescence.

2) You’re perfectly content to stay home on a Saturday night. In your 20s, you might have felt a certain self-consciousness — guilt, perhaps, or anxiety — if your Saturday night was spent in your sweatpants on the couch rather than out being social. These days, whether you’re married or single, you might have less energy, but you also know that a weekend night in doesn’t spell doom for your social life.

3) Yes, it’s hot in here—those are, after all, hot flashes you’re having. But that’s OK. While menopause can be a slog lasting as long as 12 years, the upside is not having to deal with periods. Ever again. Not to mention PMS, cysts, fibroids, or the aforementioned late-in-life pregnancy. Depression is less common post-menopause. Besides, there’s nothing like a hot flash on a cold day.

4) Fifty years in, you know who you are. As Michelle Obama told Parade magazine last summer about reaching 50, “I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman.” Many people cite their 50s as the best decade, when you know what you want personally and professionally and know — at least better than you did in your 20s or even 30s, at least — how to go about getting it if you haven’t already.

5) That said, it’s not too late to change direction. More and more people over 50 are taking on “encore” careers, reinventing themselves in professions that might more closely align with their passions. Nonprofit group Encore.org, dedicated to helping professionals find their “second act,” notes that as many as 9 million people age 44 to 70 are getting paid for work that combines their personal passion with a social purpose.

6) Mentorship isn’t over. Though the traditional mentor-mentee relationship puts the older, more experienced worker in the teaching role, just because all your mentors have retired doesn’t mean you have no one left to learn from. A recent trend has seen millennials mentoring boomers, teaching them about technology and keeping them current and vital. Some companies have introduced “reverse mentoring” programs designed to pair younger employees with older ones.

7) You sleep less — and can therefore do more. Studies have found that people need less sleep as they age, leaving them plenty of time to go for a run, work on a project, or do anything else your 20-something cohorts aren’t doing while they’re dozing an average extra seven hours a week.

8) You can age however gracefully you’d like. If you’re going gray, you can flaunt it, and you can be proud of your laugh lines. But if your crow’s feet or other signs of 50 years well-lived bother you, there are more options than ever before to do something about it, with fewer stigmas attached. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that minimally invasive facial rejuvenation procedures such as Botox, Juvederm, chemical peels and the like have reached an all-time high. Also growing: eyelid surgery and facelifts.

9) You’re your own meteorologist. Medicine has long disputed that achy joints can predict coming rain, but the old joke may have some truth to it. Doctors are coming around to the idea, admitting that those with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibroid myalgia, or nerve damage in the knees, elbows, and other joints — more likely, of course, as you grow older — can indeed feel ambient changes.

10) You’re not 60! Enough said, right?


Living to 100

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50,000 people in the United States were 100 years or age or older! It is further expected that the number of people over 100 years old will reach 110,000 by 2037 and those over 80 will reach six million by that same year.

So what is the secret?

Centenarians (folks who reach 100 or older) say that exercise, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep help!  Here are a few other suggestions that may help you live a longer, fuller life.

  • Eat, Pray and Exercise!   More than 80% of centenarians say they eat nutritiously balanced meals almost daily compared to 68% of boomers. Furthermore, these folks said that they pray, meditate or have some sort of “spiritual” activity and more than half of each group claims to exercise almost every day!  Your chances of reaching the age of 100 increases if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, regular  exercise (5 days a week) and reducing stress, according to a Danish study.  The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.
  • Laugh.  Centenarians laugh or giggle nearly every day! Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster to bring your mind and body back into balance.
  • Socialize.  The majority of baby boomers and centenarians say that they talk to or communicate with friends and family nearly every day. Additionally, reading, crossword puzzles, games keep your brain challenged and more healthy.
  • Sleep. A good solid night of sleep helps to repair many cells in the body, and potentially add two years to your lifespan.
  • Relax.  Centenarians work at a job or hobby far less than boomers but the key is to relax and enjoy “down-time”.
  • Groom yourself. Centenarians maintain good oral health as well as continuing the habit of daily bathing or showering. Aging or less activity outside the home should not be good reasons for poor grooming habits.

Take good care of yourself and live a good long life!



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Plan For Eldercare Before A Need Arises

Seeking resources to care for aging parents isn’t a task to be undertaken when in crisis mode. By the time an aging parent needs additional care, you may not know where to turn and you don’t want to have to make uninformed decisions on care for your aging relatives. If you’re in regular contact with your aging relatives it will likely be easy to see when they are reaching the point where they need additional assistance if they’re to remain in their own home.

As a caregiver, it will fall to you to make difficult decisions, but if you work with your parents, siblings and other family members prior to a need arising, you can have a plan in place for the time when emergency care may be necessary. In many cases, caregivers find it difficult to round up the care their aging relatives need because there typically isn’t a central location to find all the services necessary.

Here are a few agency names, services and contacts to search for in your particular part of the country to find assistance for your aging relatives:

Office or Agency for the Aging. These agencies are run under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are available in all municipalities. The Office for the Aging is a clearing house for local aging services. The individuals that work there can also help you become acquainted with the services available in your particular region of the country.

  1. 211 is a telephone service available in most major cities. This number can quickly put you in touch with critical elder care services in your community such as agencies that help with utility bills, food banks, adult day care facilities, respite care and more.
  2. Ministries in your area. Check with the religious organization that your parent belongs to and see if it provides any services for the elderly. Many large churches provide ministries that cater specifically to senior citizens. Your church may also be able to arrange for volunteers to come and either visit with your aging relatives or even help with light housework or cooking.
  3. Ask your employer if it offers any type of services to caregivers. Many caregivers don’t think to ask their human resource department if there are any resources available to them for helping in seeking out care for aging parents. In some cases, the company’s Employee Assistance Program may provide access to services to provide relief to both the aging relative and the caregiver.
  4. Home medical alert system providers. Equipped with a medical alert pendant, these devices provide peace of mind knowing emergency assistance can be easily accessed at the push of a button.

Steps To Help Your Aging Relative Feel Young

As your parents age you may notice they don’t remember things as well as they used to and it is worrisome to think of them living alone. If your parents are suffering memory lapses it is quite possible they could turn on a stove, for example, and forget to turn it off. Trips and falls in the home are also a concern as your parents get older. There are many ways to deal with health issues and to make your parent’s home more senior-friendly; from age-proofing by removing trip and fall hazards to make the home more senior-friendly, to equipping it with a medical alert system, here are some ways you can work

with your parents to help them stay active, healthy and in good spirits:

  1. Develop new, better habits: As your parents age it is easy for them to fall into bad habits such as not brushing their teeth as often as they used to, not taking their vitamins or even neglecting personal hygiene. Make certain your parents are keeping up with their hygiene and that they’re not relying on take out foods or other junk food because they don’t want to be bothered with cooking. If cooking is becoming problematic for them, look into services in your community such as Meals-0n-Wheels. Remind them that their health is important.
  2. Lifelong learning: Urge your parents to get involved in community learning activities. Many communities offer free or low cost classes at senior centers or community colleges. Stimulating the mind will help improve memory and boost self-confidence.
  3. Laughter truly is the best medicine: Whether it’s watching funny movies, seeing a play or just visiting with friends or family, laughter will help improve memory, lower stress and blood pressure and can even protect against infection.
  4. Regular exercise is crucial: Even if your parents are housebound because of the weather, they can still get up and move around the house. A walk up and down the hallways is better than sitting on the couch all the time. Ask their doctor about exercise equipment they could purchase to help them stretch and get some cardiovascular activities while they’re at home.
  5. Friendship matters: Whether your parents are members of a church or attend classes or even go out for coffee on a regular basis, they should try to keep in touch with friends or even their siblings. Studies show that having six hours a day of social interaction helps people retain their mental acuity.

In addition to the above tips, your parents should stick to regular sleep routines even though they may need less sleep as they age, getting a full night’s sleep is crucial to good health. Keep in mind that your parents may feel more confident with moving around the house and living alone if they are equipped with a medical alert system. These devices offer both you and them peace of mind that if they suffer a fall or a medical emergency that medical help will be dispatched.

How Can Your Loved One Stay at Home as They Age?

As our loved ones begin to age, they are inevitably faced with this perplexing question: How can they remain in the comfort and familiarity of their own home without jeopardizing their health or safety? Adult-proofing one’s home is an obvious first step, but what exactly does that entail?

  1. The first thing the elderly should invest in is a personal emergency response system. Medical alerts lend themselves well to providing both you and your loved one peace of mind, given the fact that your loved one has an emergency response button located on his or her body in the form of a bracelet or necklace. When emergency strikes, your loved one simply has to press the button and presto! help is on the way. With some medical alerts as low as $24.95 per month like LifeFone, purchasing a personal emergency response system is the perfect first step in insuring your loved one can remain in his or her home. Continue reading