The Battle Against Senior Loneliness: 5 Ways to Make New Habits That Keep You Engaged

Senior-Loneliness

Loneliness is a funny thing; it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Have you found that you’re not socializing as much at this point in your life?

Maybe you’ve stepped away from your full-time job where people were only a fingertip away, and now you have to stretch much further to make connections. If you’re retired or working independently from home, loneliness is a real problem with significant side effects.

When I thought about loneliness and did research on this topic, I assumed that being lonely would create people eager for connections and wanting to seek friendships. But the opposite is what I found out to be true.

Loneliness is draining, upsetting, and distracting. Loneliness is NOT the same as wanting to be alone which can often bring positive attributes such us solitude, peace, and renewal.

It turns out that loneliness is a significant reason for unhappiness, and it’s important to know why we’re lonely to address it.

In fact, according to Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, “Alone or Lonely,” the rate of loneliness has doubled in the past 30 years. I’m not too surprised by this statistic, especially when you think of how life and communities have changed.

Many Different Types of Loneliness

  • If you just moved to a new city, it makes sense that you’re lonely.
  • If you feel different than other people, you may feel isolated.
  • If you have family and friends but no deep intimate relationship, you may still feel lonely.
  • Maybe you’re too busy or lack trust in others or want some peace after a hectic and full life.

The Solution Depends on the Situation

Luckily there are many ways to change your habits so you can combat the situation. According to a study published in the PLOS Medicine journal people with social relationships are not only happier but live more than 50 percent longer that the rest of us!

This alone is a great reason to change some habits! One thing is for certain, they all take a level of motivation, strength, and willingness to break old habits and establish new ones.

Get Better Sleep

Quality of sleep is detrimental. Yes, sleep. One of the most common indicators of loneliness is poor quality sleep, including taking a long time to fall asleep, waking up a lot during the night, and feeling sleepy during the day.

Sound familiar? Lack of sleep makes you grumpy, lowers your energy, and increases your likelihood of getting sick.

Create an Engaging Social Environment

Connect with other people. Join a book club, sign up for Pilates class, chat with the check-out person. Make a people connection during the day, every day.

Make a Difference in Your Community

Nurture others, including animals and plants. Volunteer, teach a class, attend a class, babysit, get a pet, fill your house with plants, tend the garden. There are so many ways to nurture in this world, and the love returned is twofold.

Open Up Your Heart and Mind

Unfortunately, loneliness can make people feel cynical, judgmental, and critical of others. It’s important to be aware of these traits in case you see them developing in you. It turns out that lonely people are less accepting of others.

Try Something Entirely New

Have you considered going to a retreat where you would meet like-minded women? A safe place to explore new ideas and to feel empowered? Why not inspire your well-being through unique experiences designed just for you? There are many events just for women like you.

Meditate

Meditation is your best friend. The sheer act of meditating makes us feel connected to everything and everyone. Meditation cancels out the mental, emotional, and physical effects of loneliness. Even though our friends may walk in and out of our life, meditation is always here to stay.

Finding a retreat of likeminded women to spend some time with is fun and beneficial. The sheer act of participating with others in activities to nourish your soul will and does change your life forever – not to mention the lifelong friends you can make.


If you’re interested in finding some fantastic life changing and beautiful retreat opportunities, contact me HERE.


Most of us at some point in our life have suffered from loneliness. Have you found any good habits that worked for you to combat this dreaded feeling? Which habits were easy to achieve, and which required more work on your part? Please share with our wonderful community!

The post The Battle Against Senior Loneliness: 5 Ways to Make New Habits That Keep You Engaged appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Make Stretching a Part of Your Daily Routine: Your Mature Body Will Thank You!

Stretching-Daily-Routine-Mature-Body

Do you remember doing calisthenics in your gym class? You might recall the part where you had to try to touch your toes by bending over from a standing position or while sitting on the floor with your legs extended.

You probably did these stretches at or close to the start of the class or after playing field hockey or some other sport.

The theory behind all that stretching was that it was a good way to avoid muscle cramps or pain after exercise. In reality, stretching to maintain or increase your flexibility as you enter your 60s and beyond is very important for your health.

This is true whether or not you regularly exercise. Many boomers make it a point to try and walk 10,000 steps a day or eat healthier foods but ignore stretching.

Stretching to maintain flexibility is especially important for boomers since joint flexibility tends to decrease as you age. There is some evidence that after 71 men show an accelerated decline in both upper and lower bodies, while women tend to have a constant rate of decline in the lower body.

How much of a decline are you looking at? Well, flexibility may decline by up to 50 percent in some joints. Since the decrease is very gradual, you may not even notice it until you need to do something that requires good flexibility such as bending over to pick up something you dropped.

The Benefits of Stretching and Staying Flexible

The first thing to keep in mind is that good flexibility is necessary for almost all your daily activities – from the most mundane, such as getting out of bed and self-care, to more complicated tasks such driving and dancing.

For example, some flexibility is required when you reach for something on a high shelf or turn the steering wheel. If you’re not flexible, both of these everyday tasks could be challenging and even threaten your ability to live independently.

Another very important benefit of stretching and staying flexible is the reduction of falls. Stretching may help with balance. After the age of 60, the number of falls tends to increase. In fact, falls are responsible for a high rate of disability and even death if you are over 65 years old.

With almost 70 percent of falls resulting in death among boomers, it’s important to do whatever you can to not become a member of this group!

Other benefits of stretching and flexibility include:

  • Increased blood flow, which can help you better control your blood pressure;
  • Reduced muscle tension, which can help you feel less tense and stressed;
  • Better muscle coordination;
  • Higher energy levels;
  • Improved mood by aiding the release of “feel good” endorphins;
  • Improved posture which can help reduce back and arthritis pain.

Stretching 101

Even though healthcare professionals recommend stretching every day, if you’ve not done any stretching for a while, your best bet is to ease into it by starting slowly. A couple of times a week is a good start.

Also, be sure to talk with your doctor to ensure that you’re in good enough health and shape to start including stretches in your daily routine. Actually, this is also a good idea for any physical activity you may be thinking about.

Before you begin, you need to know that there are two kinds of stretching. One is called dynamic since you’re using movement to stretch your muscles. Some examples of this type of stretching are swinging your arms, doing shoulder circles, and swinging your legs or doing half squats.

The other form of stretching is called static, because you are not moving any body parts at all. You basically ease in to the stretch and hold it for 30 seconds or so while breathing.

Good examples of this kind of stretching are touching your toes to stretch your back and crossing one leg over the other leg’s thigh to stretch your hips. Be sure to warm up before doing static stretching. Some walking in place – or around the block – is good for this.

If you enjoy spending time with like-minded people, consider participating in classes that focus on flexibility. These include yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and even walking. You can improve your flexibility and make new friends at the same time.

Nutrition and Flexibility

You can enhance your flexibility and ability to do stretching exercises by making sure your body is getting enough of the right nutrients.

Stretching involves your joints, bones, and muscles, so it makes sense to eat foods that have the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need to function at their best. Include the following in your diet as a complement to your stretching:

Plenty of Water to Keep Hydrated

Set a goal of at least eight glasses of water a day and keep it handy when you do your stretching and other exercises. Water helps to lubricate your joints and helps nutrients get where they need to be in your body.

Foods with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • green leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale;
  • nuts, such as almonds and walnuts;
  • fish, especially salmon and tuna;
  • fruits, including berries, oranges, and cherries;
  • spices, including cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.

Foods That Support Connective Tissue

Don’t undermine the importance of foods that help maintain your bones as well those that promote collagen production such as fish, red, green, and orange vegetables, berries and garlic.

By watching your diet and adding stretching exercises to your daily routine, you can help ensure that you enjoy good flexibility and all its benefits at any age.

How often do you stretch and what kind of stretches do you do? What kinds of benefits have you experienced as a result of stretching? If you don’t stretch, have you thought about it or is there a reason you don’t? Tell us all about it. Please join the conversation.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.

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Source: CareTips

6 Steps to Restoring Balance After Retirement

After Retirement

Many of us have the tendency to head towards the finish line at work, telling themselves that they are going on an eternal holiday and the well-deserved rest they have earned over 40 years in the  labor force.

But the morning after the retirement send-off brings with it a major shift in routine and structure that few people think through and plan carefully.

We all know what we give to our work, but what is it that work gives us? It gives us:

  • Routine
  • Security
  • Challenge and stimulation
  • Identity
  • A sense of belonging with people who speak the same ‘language’
  • Opportunity to grow
  • Opportunity to contribute to the world around us.

In my coaching practice I refer to the “Model of 6 Human Needs” to unpack what actually occurs at retirement. I then use it to help my clients re-structure and balance their lives.

This model is presented in the New Insights life coach training programme and is based on the original model conceptualized by Anthony Robbins.

In the coaching context, we look at how to balance these human needs in your everyday life.

Certainty

Certainty is about having routine and structure that give your life predictability and security. If you were to have too much certainty, you would become bored because everything would be planned to the last minute.

For some people, certainty after retirement comes with the routine of gym classes, walking or hiking that start the day; for others it may be Tuesday golf and Friday bridge.

For yet others, it may be a part-time job, mentoring or volunteering. If extra finance is what is going to give you security, finding an income will be a major aspect of building your certainty.

Variety

The challenges that stimulate you both physically and mentally give you variety. These would include meeting new people, learning new things, stepping outside your comfort zone.

A little bit of adrenaline is good for the body! Too much variety and you find yourself in crisis or stress management mode. That’s why we need to balance variety with a measure of certainty for a healthy lifestyle.

Significance

For around 40 years your identity has been rooted in your role at work. When people meet you in a social setting they tend to ask what you do as a means to starting the social chat.

This, therefore, becomes your identity – when I say I am a retirement coach people can then put me in context, and they have an idea of which questions they can ask next.

This becomes my identity and differentiates me from the person standing next to me and, by implication, gives me significance. When you retire it is important to take on a new identity to replace the one you had when working full time.

Love and Connection

In any profession there is a jargon you learn in order to fit in. Finding love and connection is more about feeling you belong than a hippie-style feeling of love. Having originally trained as an occupational therapist some 40 years ago, I left the profession at 35, but today I can still ‘speak the language’!

Even though I have not treated a patient in 30 years, I still feel that I fit in and belong when I meet other occupational therapists because I understand what they are talking about.

In retirement, you need to find people who are in the same position as yourself, who are experiencing the same challenges, in order to feel you ‘belong.’

Too much significance and we start to lose the love and connection, and vice versa.

Growth and Contribution

In your job and career you were learning new things all the time. If it was not attending structured courses or training, simply keeping up with the changing technological environment kept you on your toes.

In retirement, if you do not actively seek out opportunities to grow and contribute they probably will not come to you. Opportunities are all around. These could include volunteering or mentoring, starting an encore career, or simply re-structuring your regular working environment to suit your new lifestyle by consulting or working part-time.

But you need to actively seek them out. I find myself with no shortage of opportunities to grow because of the new and evolving concepts of digital marketing and networking in my coaching practice. To feel I am contributing I have signed up to mentor someone for the year.

I find this model a good place to start the process of replacing what you left behind at work when you retired.

What are some opportunities you have found in retirement? Do you feel more or less busy now than when you were working? Please join the conversation below.

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Source: CareTips

Stomach for Brains! How Probiotics Can Help You with Your Memory

fermented food probiotics memory

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the many benefits of probiotics. They are good for just about everything – from your sinusitis to irritable bowel. But, did you know they could be beneficial for your memory?

How, you ask? Reasonable question. Probiotics live on our mucous membranes, mostly in the gut. It’s quite a ways from there to our brains.

What is “Brain-gut Axis”?

It turns out that there might be a connection between the bowel and the brain in the form of the “brain-gut axis.” What is this?

It is analogous to other teams of organs cooperating together, like the pituitary-adrenal axis, responsible for our stress response.

But, unlike its older equivalents, the brain-gut axis is a hot new term. There are almost 500 research articles related to it, all of them published just in the last 5 years.

The idea that there is a two-way communication between the gut and brain is not a new one. Even in our vernacular, we sometimes talk about “thinking with the gut,” “gut feelings,” etc.

However, we had no good explanation as to how these two rather distant organs talk to one another. Enter “good bacteria.” Well, now we may be getting somewhere.

You Contain a Vast Community of Little Helpers

It is a sobering and humbling thought that you have 10 times more bacterial cells in your body, than you have your own cells. Admittedly, they are much smaller – adding up to about 3% of your body weight – and scientists now consider them another body organ, called “macrobiota.”

Macrobiota includes beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as pathogenic ones like Escherichia coli or Clostridium difficile (which you may know by their shorter nicknames: E. coli and C. diff).

The composition of the bacterial “community” differs widely from person to person and depends on many factors such as (obviously) diet, but also others, for instance whether or not you were born naturally or via C-section, breast-fed or on baby formula and were you exposed to antibiotics in your life (it is precious few of us who weren’t).

Antibiotics were a wonderful victory of modern medicine, but as it often happens, there was a hidden downside. Disruption in our gut bacteria is the price we paid. At this point, we still don’t fully comprehend the extent of the damage.

Dysbiosis (another term for gut bacteria imbalance) is likely responsible for a surge in irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and the now wide-spread food intolerances.

There is a possible link to the increase in diabetes and obesity. But there are more and more voices connecting dysbiosis to depression, anxiety and memory loss.

How Do Bacteria Help Our Brains?

Gut macrobiota is responsible for helping with food digestion and production of certain vitamins, like vitamin B12. Thus they may have a part in our immune response.

We only are beginning to understand how deeply their metabolism is interwoven with ours. It should then come as no surprise that probiotics can influence our nervous system and more specifically, our brains.

In one study, mice – after they were artificially infected with a bacterium – displayed signs of memory loss. Interestingly, the control group that was treated with probiotic did not manifest the memory loss.

So far, researchers have found out several fascinating facts about how these little guys connect our brain and guts.

The bacteria can, for instance – through various mechanisms – activate our adrenergic (“fight-or-flight”) and parasympathetic (relaxation) nerves.

They have particular connection to the vagus nerve, which is widely represented in our gut and can directly activate its endings in the gut.

More recently we found that bacteria are capable of actually producing neurotransmitters, which are the very means through which our brain cells communicate.

For instance, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), like butyric and proprionic acid.

They can directly influence brain function as well as behavior. SCFAs are neuroprotective. In research, they have improved age-related memory decline.

Escherichia, Bacillus and Saccharomyces can produce norepinephrine and Lactobacillus – acetylcholine (deficiency of which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease).

They have also been shown to affect the levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor – a substance that stimulates the brain to grow new cells and form new connections).

In turn, the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, even for such a short time as 2 hours (to say nothing of chronic stress), can change the composition of macrobiota.

Dysbiosis, a.k.a. gut bacteria imbalance, is responsible for overproduction of lipopolysaccharides. These are toxic byproducts which can increase stress hormone levels and decrease the levels of mood enhancing neurotransmitters, resulting in anxiety, depression and memory loss.

I have seen probiotics in operation most notably in one of my first patients, a lovely but quite demented lady whom I followed at a nursing home. Her dementia was at the stage where she did not recognize anybody and stopped talking altogether.

Imagine my surprise and delight, when – after a course of probiotics I ordered for a bout of diarrhea – she started talking again and recognized her husband!

A recent study on 52 patients with Alzheimer’s disease confirms that taking Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for 12 weeks significantly improved their cognitive status.

What Can You Do to Help the Good Bacteria Protect Your Brain?

To help the good bacteria protect your brain you can start with eating more fermented foods. And I am not just talking about yogurt, which often has a lot of sugar.

Consider kefir instead. Check the label to make sure that it contains live bacterial cultures. Or make your own (you can get freeze-dried starter bacteria at health-food stores).

Don’t forget about such staples like sauerkraut or pickles. The store-bought products often are pasteurized, but they still seem to be beneficial, even if to a lesser extent.

Another good idea is to feed your good bacteria foods they like – complex sugars called prebiotics. Some common foods that contain them are: garlic, onions, leeks, legumes, oatmeal and bananas.

Stay away from excess sugar, as it feeds the wrong kind of bacteria. Avoid “hidden” antibiotics in meat and dairy. If possible, chose the organic equivalents.

Consider occasionally taking a probiotic supplement. It is definitely a good idea after you’ve taken an antibiotic course, to crowd-out the “bad bacteria” and re-establish balance.

There are multiple good brands available out there. In choosing a probiotic, lean toward products with variety of strains (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, etc.).

Pay attention to the CFU number (number of colony forming units – the higher the number, the stronger the product). I tend to use products with at least 2 billion of CFUs for maintenance. If I work with an active problem, I may use higher doses.

What has been your experience with probiotics? Do you have any success stories you could share? Please join the conversation below!

The post Stomach for Brains! How Probiotics Can Help You with Your Memory appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How to Use the Power of Chatting to Create Meaningful Connections After 60

Meaningful-Connections-After-60

I like to chat. I chat first thing in the morning about any problems I faced in the night. Then I chat at lunch about events of the morning, and I chat in the evening about the rest of the day.

There is so much to chat about – some small disturbance in the local supermarket, family news from my children, problems with the computer, the characters in the book I am reading, a programme seen on TV. The list goes on and on.

Chatting seems so inconsequential, you might well ask how anyone could even think of writing about it. Yet have you ever stopped to think about how important it is?

The Significance of Chatting

I chat a lot with my husband, but also with other family members and friends, not to mention neighbours. Chatting is the glue that holds people together.

We live with someone or a set of other people, we live near neighbours and we keep in touch with a much wider circle of friends and family. What makes us feel a part of one another is chatting, talking about everyday mundane matters. It’s probably one of the more intimate things we do, aside from the obvious.

Spending such apparently inconsequential time with close friends and family allows us to keep abreast of the texture of their lives – what they are thinking about, excited about or, indeed, worrying about. We also get to tell them about ourselves. It is a key way of creating connections.

Even a brief moment talking to a neighbour over the proverbial garden fence can lead to a cup of tea, the discovery of shared interests, and, eventually, the possibility of helping each other in some way.

Chatting can take place over the phone or Skype or even texting, I suppose, although I don’t text except for sorting out plans. It may be at the dinner table, lying on a sofa or even in bed. Those early morning chats, before even getting up, are a lovely way to start the day.

Other Conversations

Of course, we have much more significant discussions with people we are close to. You can call such discussions chat or not. I probably wouldn’t, on their own. But, in the course of such conversations, we move quickly from issues which are important to ones that are less important and back again.

In some circles, the concept of chatting has a rather bad press. It can be seen as synonymous with ‘gossip,’ ‘chatter,’ ‘jabber,’ ‘babble’ or the like. And we all know people who tend to go on and on until we want to scream.

But it is quite wrong, in my view, to conflate these concepts. Chatting is, above all, talking and creating a sense of connectedness to other people.

The Absence of Chat

The opposite of chatting is having no one to talk to, or, in a word, loneliness. I don’t need to tell you how difficult that is. A recently widowed friend told me how the day-to-day chat about matters of no great significance was what she missed most in life on her own.

You can be lonely because you live on your own and never see anyone. But you can also be lonely when you live with one or more people who won’t – or don’t want to – talk to you. Whatever the reasons, it leads to a terrible sense of isolation.

And then there are the couples you see everywhere these days, sitting at a table over a coffee or a drink, each glued to their own telephone.

For years, loneliness was seen as something to be ashamed of, and few people were willing to admit to it. It is now slowly coming out of the closet as an issue to be taken seriously, with growing media attention and efforts to overcome it. Long may they thrive.

There is a need for more chatting in the world.

Do you like to chat? Who do you chat to? Do you wish you had more people to chat with? What do you like to chat about? Let’s have a chat!

The post How to Use the Power of Chatting to Create Meaningful Connections After 60 appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Forcing Bulbs: A Quick and Easy Way to Brighten a Winter’s Day

Gardening is good for the mind, body and spirit. But you don’t need a large garden, strong back or 365 days of beautiful weather to add some fresh greenery and color to your life.
All you need is a bit of time, some spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths and crocus, a container with drainage holes and quality potting mix.
Plant Your Flowering Bulbs
You may still find spring flowering bulbs at your local garden center, on-line through bulb retailers or left over from this fall’s outdoor planting season. And if you can’t find any spare bulbs I bet one of your gardening friends has a few they’d be willing to share.
Here’s how to create a simple planting in a shallow container deep enough to cover the bulbs. First, cover the bottom of the container with an inch or more of potting mix. Pack it full of bulbs, pointed side up.
Place taller bulbs like tulips, hyacinths and daffodils in the center. Position shorter ones like crocus and grape hyacinths toward the outer edge of the pot and scattered in between the taller ones. Place the flat side of tulips towards the outside of the pot for a better display.
Next, cover the bulbs with potting mix and water thoroughly. Place them in a cool location with temperatures between 35 and 45 degrees for 15 weeks. This allows them to form roots and initiate flowering.
Give Them a Chill
So, where do you find a suitable spot to give them a chill? A spare refrigerator works well. A friend of mine said “Every gardener needs a spare refrigerator for their bulbs and beer.” After all, I live in Wisconsin.
Those gardening in colder climates can sink the pot in a vacant part of the garden. Once the ground lightly freezes, mulch with evergreen boughs to make removing the pot easier. A gardening friend used to empty his prefab water feature for winter. He set the planted pots inside, mulched and covered the opening with a plywood board. The pots received the needed chill without freezing solid and it as was easy as lifting the plywood lid to remove the pots.
You can also set the container in an unheated garage. Add a bit of insulation if needed to prevent the soil and bulbs from freezing. You can store them in a bag of mulch or potting mix, storage containers or other similar items that seem to accumulate in all our garages; these all work well.
Create a Spring Garden
To extend your enjoyment, go big and create a long blooming spring garden in a deeper and wider container. Select a variety of bulbs with early-, mid- and late-spring bloom times. You will enjoy the changing beauty of these colorful flowers over a longer period of time.
Begin by covering the bottom of the pot with several inches of soil. Set the largest bulbs like daffodils, hyacinths and tulips on this layer. Add just enough potting mix to cover the bulbs. Now add the medium sized bulbs like smaller tulips and alliums when planting three layers. Cover with soil and fill the top layer with crocus, squills and grape hyacinths. Cover with potting mix and water thoroughly.
Give these a 15-week chill as well. Check the containers and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. After they receive their 15-week chill you can begin bringing your potted containers out of storage and into a cool, sunny location indoors. It takes about four weeks for the bulbs to sprout and bloom.
Or, wait until the worst of winter has past and place a few pots outside on your patio, deck or front steps. You and your visitors will enjoy the spring color indoors and out.
Where have you been able to find the best bulbs and greatest variety? What are your favorite bulbs for planting? Do you have chilling and storage tips to share? Please join in the conversation.

The post Forcing Bulbs: A Quick and Easy Way to Brighten a Winter’s Day appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Reminder from My Younger Self: Things It Would be Cool to Do One Day

My-Younger-Self

I was trying to unclutter my living space recently and found a folder titled “50 Things.” I’m pretty sure this was from around 2000. It was a time when my years with kids at home were waning and a new life was ahead.

I wanted to be sure that I was living with intention, so a list seemed like a prudent step. Where the number of 50 came from, I have no idea.

A Different Kind of List

This is not a “to do” list or a list of goals. I think it was more of a “wouldn’t it be cool, if…” sort of list.

It’s written on lined paper, two sheets. There are 50 numbers written down, one on each line, ready for a “thing” to be written next to it. There are 22 “things” listed. And 27 blank lines.

Either my imagination was limited or my time to imagine was interrupted. Either way, I am pretty sure I intended to return to it and to complete the 50 lines, adding “things” as I thought of them.

The list was forgotten, filed away in a box of other filed, forgotten folders. Until today.

My Imagination from 20 Years Ago

It is a good list that I am glad to have found. I’m glad to revisit my 20-year-ago self.

Reading down the list, I’m happy to report item #1 has been accomplished, “Have a book published.” In January of 2018, Which Old Woman Will You Be was made available for purchase, so that is one “thing” that I have done that I hoped to do.

As I work on my second book, I remember that this has been a long time “thing” for me to do. Write for others to read. Tell my stories. It was the first on my list of 50 Things, 20 years ago, and it is still important to me today.

There are other items from that list that I have also managed to do.

I have “kept a child who needs a temporary family” (#3) and I have written a column for a newspaper (#6). I have a laptop (#13) and I have been white-water rafting (#20) and snow skiing (#21). I saw a painted bunting (#19) when I was visiting my family in Texas.

And… there are those “things” on the list that I have not accomplished.

I still do not have a weed-free strawberry patch (#5). In fact, I don’t have a strawberry patch at all. I did have a blueberry “patch” at one point (#18) but it was never very productive. I still cannot “dance well enough that it’s fun” (#8) and we never “remodeled the girls’ dorm” at the Retreat Center (#10).

Those things I haven’t done and won’t do. And that is totally okay. Dancing is not something I want to spend time on at this point.

I realize now that the only way I really enjoy gardening is when my husband does it. And while I never remodeled the Girls’ Dorm at the retreat center before we sold it, I have had a part in plenty of remodeling since then.

Things Have Changed – or Have They?

The thing that stands out to me with this list is that I have both changed and stayed the same as 20 years have passed by.

I am still focused on writing. And getting better at it.

I still love to travel. So far, not to Sri Lanka or Santa Fe that were on my list, but who knew, back in 2000, that I would visit Hungary and Poland, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan with Habitat for Humanity? Who knew that I would love Honduras and make seven trips there, leading groups and speaking to organizations?

And I certainly did not anticipate my husband starting a travel business to Copper Canyon, Mexico!

I still love outdoor adventure. We bought kayaks last year. Most likely, they will be used locally on our fairly calm river, so no more white-water rafting, but enjoying floating along, enjoying flora and fauna and quiet.

I, then and now, have my own business. The one I have now is different than the Retreat and Training Center I had in 2000, but I still use the leadership and team building skills I learned then to create engaging workshops and presentations.

Now in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90), my list is shorter with fewer specifics:

  • I will keep moving so I can be fit and active into my 80s and beyond.
  • I will keep learning and growing, following my curiosity.
  • I will be ready for interesting opportunities that come along.
  • I will say no to opportunities that don’t interest me.
  • I will make living without regret a priority.
  • I will be thankful, every day, and show up as the best me ever.

What kind of list did you have when you were younger? What do you have on your list, now that you are over 60? Are there any lingering “things it’d be cool to do if…” you might plan into your life? Let’s have a conversation about them!

The post Reminder from My Younger Self: Things It Would be Cool to Do One Day appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

When it Comes to Making Money in Retirement, is $500 Better than $100,000?

making-money-in-retirement

Do you know what older adults fear most? Is it death? Nope. Getting a serious illness? Not even close. According to a survey by the financial company Allianz, baby boomers fear running out of money in retirement more than anything else.

Specifically, they found that 43% of boomers feared outliving their savings. That’s more than the percentage of people who feared cognitive decline and loneliness combined!

As a woman in her 60s, I can totally relate to these numbers. There is nothing more terrifying than the idea of not having enough money when I need it most. In addition, like many women, the idea that I might have to rely on my family for support in my later years is horrifying.

Unfortunately, by the time we reach our mid-60s, we are running low on options to increase our retirement savings. This is especially true once we leave our careers behind and start to rely on our savings to supplement our pension and Social Security income.

Does Our Sense of Helplessness Hold Us Back in Retirement?

Part of the problem, of course, is that the amount of money that you need to add to your retirement fund to generate significant income feels overwhelming. For example, let’s say that you managed to save an extra $100,000 in your 60s. At 5% interest, this additional money would give you about $417 per month – not a small amount, but, also not huge, considering how hard it would be for most of us to save $100,000.

Side note – Yes, I know that I am over-simplifying here. On the one hand, getting a steady 5% return without taking significant risks is difficult. On the other hand, I realize that you could also use some of the principle (amount invested) in your later years. Still, 5% is a good number for illustrative purposes.

The bigger issue here is that, even if we are still working, very few of us could earn $100,000 in just a few years. So, as we approach retirement, our fears grow and our confidence fades. We start to feel helpless to change our financial situation.

When is $500 More Important than $100,000?

The more I talk with women in their 60s and 70s, the more convinced I become that our concept of retirement is holding us back. Most of us think of retirement as a destination. We draw a solid line between our “working years” and our “retirement years.” As a result, when we reach retirement, we chain our expectations to our passive income. We believe that, for better or for worse, we’re done.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there is an alternative. Instead of settling for a lower standard of living in retirement, we can take control of our financial lives. Instead of relying on our Social Security income, we can look for creative ways of making money in retirement.

At this point, some of you will push back and say that you’re done working. Others will argue that you don’t have the skills to start a business. Still others will say that, after spending decades in positions of responsibility, you have no desire to take a low-paying temporary job.

I hear you. I really do. To be clear, I’m not saying that retirees should look for full-time work – unless they want to! Instead, I am arguing that every single person who is reading this article has the power to make $500 to $1,000 a month doing something that makes them happy.

Making Money in Retirement is Possible

If you don’t believe me, I highly encourage you to read this article that I posted with 60 ways to make money after 60. More importantly, take the time to read the comments at the bottom of the article. When you do, you will see that there are 100s of people just like you who have found ways of making money in retirement.

Some women are making artisan soap. Others are writing romance novels. We have people in our community doing freelance marketing work, designing jewelry, tutoring high school kids, pet sitting and organizing city tours.

The important thing is that you don’t have to create a big business to make a big impact on your retirement income. If you make $500 a month, you are getting the same income that you would have received if you managed to save an extra $100,000.

To be clear, I’m not saying that you should abandon the idea of adding money to your retirement account. Every dollar saved will add to your security. But, if you reach retirement without the retirement savings that you hoped for, don’t lose hope!

With just a little creativity, you can create a $100,000 retirement income in your spare time… and let’s face it, we have a lot of that now!

The post When it Comes to Making Money in Retirement, is $500 Better than $100,000? appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post When it Comes to Making Money in Retirement, is $500 Better than $100,000? appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How to Make an Easy and Economical Meatloaf

meatloaf

We love meatloaf a lot, especially the next day leftovers. I try to incorporate lots of healthy veggies to create one of those super power healthy dinners.

A huge bonus for making this yummy meatloaf is that we enjoy it for two nights. In fact, I think that it tastes better on the second day. This recipe is very forgiving in that you can add almost any veggies you have in your fridge.

Today, with so many different types of diets that people follow, it is wise to be flexible with some recipes. This recipe is also forgiving with the amounts of spices you add.

I try to incorporate turmeric and oregano to our food as much as possible for their special therapeutic health values. Turmeric is good for the brain, joints and heart, and oregano acts as an antibiotic in our system.

I personally cook with a glass baking dish as I am working at using healthier type of cooking pans such as stainless steel, ceramic and glass.

Special Meatloaf Deluxe

Ingredients

1.5 pounds of ground beef, grass-fed if possible

1/2 cup of quinoa

1 egg

1 cup of chopped spinach

2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil

2 tablespoons each of oregano, basil, tarragon, garlic powder and turmeric

6 green onions chopped in about 3”-size pieces

3 Roma tomatoes (one sliced for the top of the meatloaf)

1 cup of sliced red cabbage (this is optional as I had a cup or so of this cabbage left in the fridge)

Salt and pepper to your taste.

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Add ground beef to a large bowl along with egg and quinoa.
  • Blend these ingredients together until well mixed.
  • Add one cup of chopped spinach and blend well.
  • Add all the spices and the oil to the meat mixture.
  • Form an oblong loaf with the meat and set in the glass baking pan.
  • Add the sliced green onions around the outside of the meatloaf.
  • Add the carrots and 2 chopped tomatoes, encircling the meatloaf.
  • Fit the sliced red cabbage around the outside of the meatloaf.
  • Add extra oregano, basil and garlic powder to cover the veggies.
  • Add the sliced tomato over the top of the meatloaf.
  • Drizzle some olive oil over the veggies along with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the meatloaf uncovered.
  • Bake for about 1.5 hours until the meat is fully cooked.

*You can substitute ground chicken, pork or turkey or mix any of them together.

*This is a great low calorie dinner with lots of nutritious veggies and spices. You can serve this meatloaf with sliced cucumbers or tossed green salad.

*The photos were taken before placing in the oven.

The post How to Make an Easy and Economical Meatloaf appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post How to Make an Easy and Economical Meatloaf appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

You Need More Than Calcium Supplements for Healthy Bones

Calcium Supplements

As a child, I was always told I needed calcium for strong bones. So, I drank lots of milk and made sure to eat foods rich in this mineral. As an adult, I took calcium supplements. I figured I was doing what I was supposed to be doing from a nutritional standpoint in order to protect my bones.

What I learned later as I matured in age, is that while calcium is an important mineral for good bone health, it can’t do this job alone. It turns out that, like a lot of things in life, protecting our bones and warding off osteoporosis can best be described as a mineral “team sport.”

In addition to calcium, other players include trace minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese and magnesium. Not having enough of these other minerals may accelerate bone loss after women go through menopause and as people continue to age. That got my attention!

Let’s take a look at some of these other must-have minerals that may not be on your radar for good bone health.

Of course, everyone’s body is different, so please talk with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or using any supplements. Only they can tell you what is right for you!

Zinc and Copper

Zinc and Copper work together to protect our bones and minimize our risk of developing osteoporosis – especially after menopause. They need to be in balance to work best, so it’s important to make sure you check your zinc and copper levels regularly.

This is especially important with zinc since the quantity of zinc in our bones declines with age and especially after menopause (and if you smoke, you are decreasing your zinc levels even more).

Zinc helps keep our bones healthy by supporting bone growth. Without enough of it, our bones can’t maintain themselves. Zinc literally helps hold our bones together by providing the matrix on which calcium is deposited during bone formation.

A good analogy is when you help your grandchildren make sculptures by putting plaster on a wire mesh mold. Imagine trying to do this without enough mesh or with no mesh at all. That’s what happens in our bones without enough zinc.

It’s also necessary for good bone healing and for old bone re-absorption by our bodies, so that there is room for new, stronger bone to form.

If zinc helps create the matrix on which new bone is formed, copper helps ensure that the calcium deposited on this matrix stays put to keep bones strong.

Also, it is critical to the formation of flexible, strong and resilient connective tissue in your bones. This flexibility and resilience is what helps your bones bend instead of break, which can frequently happen if you suffer from osteoporosis.

Copper also helps other important bone minerals do their jobs better. For example, it interacts with zinc and manganese to create an antioxidant that protects your bones and helps maintain their strength and integrity. It also helps make sure that your bones get enough oxygen, which is critical for overall bone health.

You don’t need a lot of zinc and copper (about 8 mg and 900 mcg per day, respectively), and the good news is that you can readily get them from foods you probably already have on your shopping list. For zinc, these include Brazil nuts, oats, peanuts and split peas; for copper, you may eat buckwheat, peanut butter and vegetable oils.

Manganese and Magnesium

While manganese and magnesium sound a lot alike, they play very different roles in bone health and preventing osteoporosis.

Manganese is a hard, brittle, silvery metal, and it’s the fifth most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. It is also an important mineral to have in your osteoporosis prevention and treatment arsenal since it plays a role in bone formation.

Recent studies have shown that manganese, when taken with calcium, zinc and copper, may lessen spinal bone loss in some postmenopausal women. Lack of manganese can also have a negative impact on cartilage growth and repair. Cartilage is a connective tissue found in many areas of your body including your knees, ankles and elbows.

Magnesium is one of the major minerals in your body, and it plays an important role in helping remove old bone cells and creating new ones. It makes up only about 1 percent of your bones’ mineral content even though most of your body’s magnesium is stored in your bones.

This mineral, together with copper, helps your bones better absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough magnesium, your bone density may decrease, and your bones may become more brittle and prone to fractures.

As with the other minerals your bones need to stay healthy, you don’t need a lot of manganese and magnesium. For manganese, women need about 1.8 mg a day, and for magnesium, if you’re over 51 years of age, you need 320 mg daily.

Foods that contain manganese are nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, tea, wheat germ and whole grains (including unrefined cereals, buckwheat, bulgur wheat and oats), legumes and pineapples. You can find magnesium in leafy green vegetables (like spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Test, Don’t Guess!

It’s important to not only make sure your body is getting enough calcium, zinc, copper, manganese and magnesium but also that these minerals are in the correct balance. This is necessary in order to best protect your bones against osteoporosis or, if you have it, slowing down the negative effects of the condition.

The best way to do this is talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about getting nutrition testing that includes these key bone minerals.

All this information about the role various minerals play in keeping my bones strong was eye-opening. Now, I do not focus on just calcium. I also know that I can make some easy dietary changes to increase my chances of preventing osteoporosis. And if I do get osteoporosis in the future, I may be able to minimize its progression.

The post You Need More Than Calcium Supplements for Healthy Bones appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post You Need More Than Calcium Supplements for Healthy Bones appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

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