How Gazingus Pin Awareness Can Save You Big Bucks After 60

Gazingus-Pin-Awareness-Can-Save-You-Big-Bucks-After-60

Taxes aren’t handled the same worldwide. As tax time in the US has recently come and gone, my blood pressure will stabilize and profound sighs diminish. Now it’s a good time to concentrate on another money issue – namely, what we buy.

Most of us manage to pay our bills on time, but few track what those bills actually purchase. Sure, there is food, medicine, transportation, maybe a mortgage or rent, electric, utilities and phone bills, etc. But what about all the Gazingus Pins we purchase?

What Is a Gazingus Pin?

Gazingus Pins? You don’t own one? I suspect you might. Okay, so what is it? The term was coined by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin in their financial program Your Money or Your Life, a book that has truly influenced me.

A Gazingus Pin represents all the basically needless things you continue to spend money on out of habit. It’s a spending impulse – the reflex hammer hits, and presto, you reach out and grab the item, not able to resist the procurement.

We All Have Them

These aren’t easy habits to quit. And we always have a rational ‘reason’ (hmmm) for the acquisition. Unsurprising, it might not seem so rational to others.

It could be the next skein of yarn purchased to have on hand for that ‘someday project,’ or the $4.95 magazine you half read during grocery check-out, or pretty gems and minerals that ‘really don’t take up that much space.’

Other options include the bottles of nail polish whose colors jump off the shelf to catch your eye, or even that daily latte on the way to work where free coffee (albeit ‘nasty’) is available.

My husband’s Gazingus is hand-tools. And after years of visits to the local Ace hardware store, I believe I am being sucked into that craving. Furthermore, I am drawn by socks and plants (not necessarily at the same time). These culprits call my name by their color, comfort, or sale price.

Books used to be a vulnerability until I made a commitment to save money, and wall space at home, by using the library more often.

The Next Minimalistic Idea?

You may wonder if this concept is just an approach to save more money. Not exactly.

If you love your dynamic nail polish and change it every couple of days, if you enjoy the compliments, if it makes you feel special, and you find the cost pays you back in spades for the joy it affords, then this is probably not your Gazingus Pin.

It isn’t my call, or anyone else’s – although I do wonder if limiting the purchase to a bottle of flamboyant lacquer every couple of months wouldn’t deliver the same compliments.

These habitual, wasteful items are only wasteful for you if, after they reside on your shelf, you tend to shake your head, realizing you would prefer to have the money back in your wallet. You are the judge.

However, sometimes loved ones or those close to us can identify our ‘little weakness’ quicker than we can. For instance, my husband has said, “If you’d buy better socks, you wouldn’t need as many.” Uh-oh, he evidently doesn’t share my ‘rationale’ for the sock habit.

Shaking the Gazingus Pins Off

Gazingus Pins are not easy to give up or even reduce, but the price they cost us is in our control. In “Time and Money at Tax Time,” I recount a few favorite financial sites.

As a whole, they probably offer more information than we have time (or desire) to consume. Still, they are great resources. Yet, the one thing they can’t do is describe your Gazingus Pin and how to trade it in for more life energy.

Money is exactly that – something we gain for the life energy we have expanded. Maybe you would join me in saying I don’t want to surrender life energy for that assortment of doodads that is growing at my house – unless I truly find pleasure in that collection.

It could be that my socks provide just the right comfort, or I find plants that thrive and bloom with minimal care.

Awareness Can Save Your Bucks

Simply being aware of Gazingus Pins, or how often we reach for our credit card when it’s not really necessary, is a giant leap forward. It guides us to concentrate our spending on the two high-value elements of the spectrum: needs and true desires.

Whether watching a budget while deep within retirement or making plans for years to come, Gazingus Pins can really take a bite – nibble by nibble perhaps, but still a flesh wound. I think I must have saved thousands of dollars at this point, simply by resisting books (other than for gifts or references).

Admittedly, downloadable audio files along with other books from the library and heavily-stocked consignment book stores in my local town balance things out.

As with so many weaknesses that we might like to conquer and change, self-awareness is a useful beginning.

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Always Dreamed of Writing a Book in Your 60s? Prepare Well and Find the Perfect Writing Space

If you have decided, now that you’re in your 60s, that this is a good time to finally write the book you’ve been promising for so many years you’ve lost count, you have to start with some very basic questions: how, why, where, and when?

Writing is one of those strange creatures that, like a unicorn, is ephemeral. It can be hard to think through the process (yes, it is a process) and create something that others will enjoy and that will provide them with benefits.

Would-be writers seem to think you just sit down and write a book. No. Most people fail to realise how much preparation is involved in writing a book. Many of the questions you must ask yourself may seem irrelevant. They’re not! This is an article that will explain more.

The #1 Question Is, “What Do You Want to Write?”

Do you have any idea of what you want to write? Fiction? Non-fiction? Relating to business (perhaps you want to teach knitting), telling the family story, sharing some nutrition ideas or exercise tips and tricks?

Whatever you’re going to write, please do not skip the research and preparation step. It’s unlikely you will sit down and write a book with no research – no matter how well you know your topic.
If you don’t have an idea to get you started, perhaps you can make use of this exercise.

Fiction Requires More Research and Preparation

If you’re writing fiction, you will need to create your characters, your plot, decide who is the antagonist, who is the protagonist, and so it goes. This is a huge amount of preparation and will probably take much longer than a work of non-fiction.

Non-Fiction Requires You to Know Your Demographic

If you’re writing non-fiction, is the book about something you want to teach or share? What do you need to know to write the book, and who are you writing for? There are a lot of questions to answer before you put pen to paper.

Our course, Just Write the Damn Book, includes as much time devoted to preparation and research, as to actual writing! One of the items we include is finding the right space to write.

Be Physically Comfortable

If you are over 60 and this is your first stab at becoming an author, you have the luxury of finding the right spot to write! Don’t imagine you have to take yourself to Paris and live in a garret for 3 months. You can be creative anywhere!

What is important is to find is a space that is physically comfortable, emotionally suitable, and where you can work uninterrupted. You need:

A nice chair (with a cushion)
A solid desk or table
Plenty of light, preferably natural
Good room temperature
A large bottle of water – can’t stress the importance of this one
Pencils and pens
A large writing pad
A PC or tablet

These are the necessities. Whether you need a coffee machine or not is entirely up to you!

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How Caregiving Taught Me the Need to Plan for Aging

Caregiving-Taught-Me-the-Need-to-Plan-for-Aging

You may have taken care of an older relative in the past, but odds are, you’re a caregiver right now. If that’s the case, I say, “Good on you, and congratulations for stepping up.”

Taking Responsibility

There are many people, especially women, who find themselves helping older loved ones. Sometimes, it’s expected of us, and other times, our hearts are just made that way.

I’ve been there. It’s now 12 years since my father died, and 16 since Mother passed. Today, I deal with a few issues I helped them address. But I feel much more prepared than they did.

Growing older was simply accepted back when my relatives were 60-ish. They didn’t feel the need or urgency to prepare for it. It was part of life. However, they did save money, prepared legal docs, and set-up their funeral. The rest of their planning was put on the offspring.

Caregiving Costs Us

I moved back from San Diego to Texas to help. My sister took early retirement.

It’s the same story we hear about every day; the one caregivers face when stepping up to elder care realities:

  • “I gave up a six-figure annual salary to keep my father out of a nursing home.”
  • I retired early from my academic position to move to another city and take care of my dad.”
  • “I deferred retirement to maintain the 6-figure income to cover my mother’s assisted living or nursing home expenses, when unable to care for her at home.”
  • “I retired to give my mom 24/7 care. While we were able to cover the expenses without any real issues, the cost to me was in personal and social life.”

Many family caregivers understand the heavy costs of growing older. We often face aging alone without support and know preparation for our older years is significant. No wonder we often raise the question, “What will become of me?”

Caregiving Is a Hard Job

Caregiving is hard. Period. No ifs, buts, or maybes about it. Do you agree? However, looking on the bright side, elder care is a prominent teacher! It taught me about my own future and how to prepare for it. That’s how I see the lessons of family care.

It gives clear warnings and what’s to be expected in a decade or more down the road. For that, I’m ever grateful.

Looking back, I realize the time after my father passed jolted me into reality. I clearly remember thinking, “Holey moley, who’s going to do all that for me?”

Aging Alone Can Be Frightening and Dangerous

The areas I deeply pondered were:

  • Social connections and support
  • Housing
  • Fitness and health
  • Local area
  • Accessibility

And not in that order. Housing came first since I lived in a two-story home in a small town, where a car was an absolute requirement.

A thought kept nagging me for some time: “Carol, how long will you be able to climb these stairs, and to drive? How large is your social support system? And are you truly content here?”

Then, also, a member of a group I manage had a frightening experience that served as a loud reminder. She shared her story:

The other week, I became sick, nauseous, and dizzy from vertigo. Normally, it would not have bothered me but now that I’m older, it created a panic causing my aloneness to consume me. I really didn’t want someone to take care of me but wished someone would just check in on me.

A phone call would have been welcomed. I was in no condition to drive and suddenly realized if I needed to go to the emergency room, I was up a creek. I live in my own house and have neighbors I don’t really know. I have no family, kids, or siblings. I felt helpless and vulnerable; again, not my usual style.

What’s a person to do when alone with no nearby help? It’s a question that I hear frequently. If you’re in that situation, prepare right now. For without a plan, you may be stumped.

It Takes Careful Planning

If you’re aging alone, always check with your doctor – she may steer you in a good direction. If you’re lonely and have no one to call or to check in on you, call the Area Agency on Aging. The department on aging may refer you to local support.

Know that faith organizations are creating programs to assist people like us. If you’re not currently a member, consider finding a faith or service organization that aligns with your values and principles. It may be a senior club that’s a good fit.

I can’t stress enough the importance of social connections when aging alone. However you do it, the point is, get connected and stay that way. It takes effort, but the time you put in is well worth it.

And plan.

It’s my hope that women engage with one another and form local groups that meet, have fun, and have conversations about how to stay strong, safe, and independent for as long as they are able. We’ve got to have each other’s back because it’s too hard to do it alone.

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Source: CareTips

Is Living in a Retirement Community Right for You? Here’s How to Find Out!

Retirement Community

A few years ago, I began thinking about how I would choose to live if I could live any way that I wanted to.

The plan that evolved centered around a small age-restricted “village” of a dozen or so cottages or patio homes arranged in a rambling circle with their backyards facing in around a common area and a community building.

The common area would include a pool, hot tub and gardens, with walkways meandering through the property.

A Vision for Living in a Community

The community building would have a central gathering room and a kitchen. I envisioned shared dinners and happy hours, group workout sessions and opportunities for residents to learn from each other.

I envisioned this idyllic little retirement community – the Entourage concept that I write about in my book Retiring Solo – populated by women living in their own homes, but with the ability to open their back doors and step out into a social and community support system that would wrap itself around them like a warm hug.

They would be women who I would live near, but not with, and with whom I would laugh, cry, learn, work and (hopefully) grow old. They would watch out for me and I would watch out for them.

At the end of the day, or whenever and as often as I chose, I could go into my home, close my door and enjoy my space and privacy. It really would be the best of both worlds: community and castle, social and solo. Nirvana.

Growing Older Together

Just about every woman with whom I share this idea gets excited by the possibilities. Each is intrigued by the idea of a smaller-scale, community-oriented neighborhood that offers privacy, community spaces and shared amenities.

As solo women, we often prefer to live alone, but we want to do so in an environment that provides social connections, activities and the sense of community we crave. Community – and the support system that it creates – makes it easier to maintain our independence by allowing us to “live alone, together.”

No one wants to age alone or in isolation. Community is the continuity that we all seek in an ever-changing world. We may not want to be involved or participate in our community every minute of every day, but we do like to know that it’s there and available when we need it or want it.

Living with Other Adults

I recently moved into an “active adult resort community” as part of my efforts to build an entourage of neighbors, friends and confidantes. I did a lot of research on the types of people who are expected to live in the community to ensure that I wouldn’t be too young, too active or too solo (adult communities traditionally attract a lot of couples). I hadn’t been searching for a free-standing home, but I do like the idea of having privacy and the benefits of a close-knit community just outside my door.

Six months later, I have made many new friends, added new activities and skills to my repertoire and even traveled with some of my new neighbors. The people who come to live in my community appear to be searching for the same things: close friendships, vibrant social life, and an active, healthy lifestyle.

Living in an active adult community is both an experiment and a learning experience for me. It offers an ideal combination of privacy and social life, recreation and work as I work and write from a home office. Surely my experience will also be useful to refining the entourage concept, which I still hope to see realized one day.

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The “Commons Way” of Living Can Help Us Adjust to Changing Times

The “Commons Way” of Living Can Help Us Adjust to Changing Times

I was reading about the role of the “commons” around the world when I learned that Canada is warming up at twice the speed of other countries, and the Arctic is warming up three times faster.

You’d think that would be good news for Canadians who like to head south for the winter, but it’s not.

The reason Canada is warming faster is because our northern permafrost and sea ice are melting. The result is less ice to reflect the heat from the sun. The ground absorbs more heat, causing temperatures to rise.

Times Have Changed

This made me think back on the changes I’ve seen since childhood. From about age nine, I would pack a lunch and hike with my friends through the woods and up what we called Mount Baldy. Once on the other side, we made our way to a place we called Blueberry Falls.

It was a fast-moving stream that tumbled down over a series of rocks. We would dip our reusable jam jars into the stream for a cool, refreshing drink. I wouldn’t do that today. The stream is too polluted.

Back in the day, I’d think nothing of walking or riding my bike the two miles between my house and our local lake. I think the road is now a major highway and much too busy for kids to cycle.

We roamed the forests surrounding my town freely – as if they belonged to all of us. It was our backyard “commons.”

What’s a Commons?

“Commoning” refers to a way of living, working, sharing, and playing together on common land. Historically, it meant participants in the commons of the Earth defending the common good.

It’s where the term, “commoners” originated. It is community members sharing their knowledge to help each other.

Sixty and Me is a community of mutual support and can be considered an “Online Commons.” It’s a place to share information, ideas, and resources.

Nature Is More Unpredictable Today

Rising sea levels are leading to soil erosion along the shoreline. Friends of mine who have a waterfront property spent $50,000 last year to put in a rock wall under their cliff to prevent further erosion.

In the past few years, Canada has experienced widespread wildfires that have destroyed homes and entire communities. Last summer, the smoke from the interior wildfires blanketed the coast and kept many of us indoors for days.

Where I live, we experience drought conditions in the summer and many residents need to get water delivered to their homes, as wells are known to run dry.

In the winter, we rely on the rains to fill cisterns. We didn’t get much rain this winter and summer-like temperatures began in March. I’m already seeing water trucks pass by my window several times a day.

The hot summer drought conditions often seem to be followed by torrential rains that cause mudslides. This winter, the Artic outflow sank further south and dumped extra-cold, snowy conditions, while the north was warmer than normal.

Lately, we’ve had a few surprising, intensive windstorms. We had one at Christmas that took down lots of tall trees and power lines. Most of the island was without electricity for days.

Luckily, we are well prepared for such events. Our city friends back east are having a harder time. April has brought them freezing rain, downed power lines, and left them without heat or hydro. They’re not prepared for these conditions.

There are similar weather stories worldwide. I don’t think most of us are really prepared for dramatic changes in the weather. But it’s happening – ready or not.

Market Mindset vs Commons Mindset

The Market Mindset is all about what can be bought and sold. It’s about humans maximizing benefits for themselves. It’s based in competition and monopolies.

Workers often feel like an unfulfilled cog-in-a-wheel working in large companies. Powerful corporate lobbyists tend to control the government.

We are not yet doing enough to clean up the gigantic plastic island of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean – even though much of it ends up in the bellies of whales and other sea life.

A Commons Mindset is centered around the resources we need to live.

It is based on humans being co-operative, social beings. It’s based on collaboration and a belief that locally-owned businesses can employ more people in meaningful work.

Networks of communities work together for the common good. Planet Earth is the collective commons that needs our urgent attention.

Women Are Most Vulnerable

Due to lower income, women are more likely to live in poverty, making it difficult to cope with extreme weather conditions. Older adults are also vulnerable to climate-related health issues, as they are highly susceptible to heat stroke.

What Can We Do to Help?

Below is a list containing a few suggestions we can all do to help ease the burden on our planet:

  • Bike, walk, or use public transportation.
  • Shop local – especially at Farmers’ Markets.
  • Recycle and re-use items.
  • Spend more time outside appreciating nature, perhaps alongside children.
  • Replace plastic bags with reusable cloth bags.
  • Reduce the amount of packaged foods consumed.
  • Join a nature restoration project.
  • Have a conversation with others about what to do.

Jane Goodall, whose life work is saving chimpanzees, has said, “More and more people are beginning to realize that we want to die knowing we’ve made a difference.”

Everyone deserves to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat healthy food. If you are looking for purpose and meaning in retirement, and want to leave a world that’s healthy and safe for your grandchildren, taking steps to heal the Earth is a good legacy to leave behind.

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Vitality and Energy: Why You Need Them Both After 60!

Vitality-and-Energy-After-60

We all want to maintain our health and age well. Whilst energy levels can dip and dive, did you know that vitality will always sustain you?

I’ve learned that what separates a vitality-person from an energetic-person is that it’s not about dashing here, there and everywhere. Rather, it’s much more about mindfulness and soulfulness.

I’d like to share why vitality is so important as we age. I’m 63 now and confident in navigating my energy and vitality, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing through those waves!

At 36 I underwent early menopause resulting in clinical depression with huge energy dips and dives alongside a breakdown in my immune system.

I resolved from then onwards to understand how to manage my energy levels and age well, rejecting the medical practitioner’s prediction I would be “Old before my time” and my sex life was over. That was a red rag to a bull, let me tell you!

Through my journey I discovered vitality. But first, here is a question for you.

Are You a Lark or an Owl?

I’ve learned that I’m wider-awake with more energy in mid-afternoon into the evening. I’ve always been like that, so in charting my energy dips and dives I began looking for patterns. It turns out our birth time can effect our more productive energy times.

So I’m an owl. I was born in the evening and I’m more alive in the evening. If you’re born early in the morning you may well be a lark. Is this you – up with the lark early in the morning?

Do You Have an Energy Dip Between Midday and Mid-Afternoon?

After my surgeries, I learned that if you want to even out your energy patterns, it’s a good practice to take a nap or rest in the afternoon.

Giving myself ‘time out’ reduced my stress intake and increased my ability to relax at will. It is a vital skill for moving through the ups and downs of life and a step on the way to living on the inside of my beautiful mind where I could open up to vitality.

In fact, why don’t we all take a leaf out of the kindergarten’s book where everyone had cookies and milk and rest after midday? Imagine how different the world might be if everyone had an afternoon nap together? The world would be offline between midday and 2pm every day!

Unlocking the Door of Vitality

There’s something different about people with vitality.

You can’t help but notice when they enter a room. There’s an aura around them, they seem to glow, whatever the time of day or night.

They’ll take challenges in their stride, moving through life’s gateways, including the inevitable ageing threshold, with alacrity.

They exude inner strength and inner peace. There are no dips or dives in vitality, it’s with them all of the time.

Nothing to Do with Age and Everything to Do with Transition

People with vitality move through the ups and downs of life, whilst others get stuck, or simply can’t or won’t move on. In my toughest times so far, I was stuck in the memories, thoughts and experiences and needed to learn a way to let go of what hadn’t worked so well for me.

I had to do this because my outlook on life and physical wellbeing were suffering. I needed to understand and accept that change is part of life. When we transition well through our personal challenges our payback is vitality.

Inevitable Change in Our 60s and Beyond

After we hit 60, our roles change, many things shift and I’m not just talking about gravity! Of course, it can be difficult to accept that life isn’t like it used to be, and that “We aren’t like we used to be.”

Why Is Vitality Important as We Age?

The choice becomes vital because every choice you make may be crucial to your imminent wellbeing. If you choose to take even one small step toward moving through any stuck part of your life, your transitions in life will be easier.

What’s worked well for me – and over 10,000 hours working with clients – is creating a timeline to help free up what’s holding us back from having the time of our lives. I learned how to let go of what has gone before including holding onto past memories that were no longer serving me well.

Most importantly, I learned how to reflect, release, repair and reset my mind at will. It’s less painful than remaining stuck and unable to go with the flow! A lighter hearted approach ensues whatever and whenever life throws a curved ball. Vitality steps in.

How Will You Know Your Vitality Is Growing?

On the outside the years will continue to show changes in your physical body, and energy levels will dip and dive. But on the inside, in your beautiful mind, the soulful and mindful ‘you’ continually glows because it’s here where vitality exists.

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Too Much Sitting? Health Consequences Are Comparable to Smoking!

Too-Much-Sitting-Health-Consequences-Are-Comparable-to-Smoking

Is sitting the new smoking?

A 2014 article in the New York Times described research by Dr. Levine of Mayo Clinic identifying sitting as a “lethal” activity with many of the same health consequences as smoking. That led to headlines such as Sitting Is the New Smoking,and a public health push to get moving more throughout the day.

Since then some researchers have pushed back saying, yes, sitting is harmful to health, but comparing it to smoking is irresponsible. Smoking is quite simply the most harmful lifestyle habit to health, period.

I think a big difference is that people who smoke know without question they are damaging their health and choose through habit or addiction to do it anyway. Sitting, on the other hand, is fully ingrained in modern life and seems so benign.

Research Findings

So, let’s take a look at the research. Sitting for long periods of time (8+ hours per day) has been linked with metabolic syndrome, a term for a cluster of symptoms including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Prolonged periods of sitting – whether it’s at a desk, in a car, or in front of a screen – seem to also increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some studies even equate that risk to the risk of dying posed by obesity and smoking.

A real eye-opener in this research was that twice-weekly aerobic exercise classes don’t offset sedentary time as much as we would all like to believe. Sitting, as it turns out, is an independent pathology.

As Dr. Levine puts it, “being sedentary for 8-9 hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It’s bad whether you are obese or thin.”

Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, found that electrical activity in the muscles goes silent while seated, causing a cascade of harmful metabolic effects.

These include a drop in insulin effectiveness, lower ability to break down lipids and triglycerides, and reduced levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

Hamilton even studied young, fit, and thin subjects, and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin uptake after only 24 hours of being sedentary.

Programmed for Movement

Digging further into the research shows that the body’s response to sedentary behavior is genetically programmed. As it turns out, back in cave-dwelling days, being sedentary was a signal that something was terribly wrong – an injury or illness that could spell death.

So, the body responded with short-term metabolic changes (like increased cortisol) designed to get the body up and moving and healing. The key word is short-term.

When these metabolic changes become long-term through prolonged sedentary behavior then health starts breaking down. The value of periodic movement breaks (at least 1 per hour) signal to the body, “Hey, I’m fine here, no need to panic!”

Making Movement “Deposits”

Make a pact with yourself to create movement breaks throughout each day. Get up every 30-60 minutes and move about, take the stairs, stand up when you talk on the phone or read a document.

Seek opportunities to ingrain movement into every hour of the day – and then hit the gym or go for a walk to support cardiovascular health. Don’t compound a day of sitting with more sitting at home! Keep movement on your radar and be willing to take action.

My husband thinks I’m a bit weird, but if we’re watching TV, I often get up during commercials and do knee lifts, small kicks, stretches, etc. I’ve even been known to break into a dance of some sort (picture a lot of strange looks and head shaking from the other side of the room).

It is a bit silly perhaps, but I know from experience that it makes a big difference in how I feel at the end of a program.

For my new website, I have launched several Vitality Spotlights® movement minutes filmed outside in Montana, Hawaii, and Yellowstone National Park! These include exercises you can do anywhere. Please let me know what you think! If you like these videos, I can share more in my future Sixty & Me blogs!

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4 Everyday Bad Habits You Don’t Know You’re Doing (That Can Wreck Your Health!)

Everyday-Bad-Habits-You-Don’t-Know-You’re-Doing-That-Can-Wreck-Your-Health

I admit, I love people-watching. Not peeking around corners, creepy-stalking but waiting in line or hanging out and watching my fellow humans being themselves.

In addition to the airport and Starbucks, observing people at the gym ranks high on the best people-watching places.

It’s even more interesting because everyone’s occupation is hidden behind a T-shirt and shorts. Or spandex.

In other words, you don’t know a person’s True Identity unless they tell you.

The woman next to you on the stationary bike could be a CEO, flight attendant – or she may be an auto mechanic. Ditto for the guy in the ripped tank top and hoodie.

I especially enjoy seeing my fellow over 50/60-year-olds working out.

I observe the exercises they choose, their form, and how they move about the gym. It gives me ideas for areas in which I see people either struggling or doing things incorrectly.

Besides that, I’m nosy.

But I recently noticed people doing less obvious sabotaging practices that could do damage over time. Here are my top four.

Leaning on Things

I first noticed the habit of leaning on furniture and equipment when people sign in at the gym (the cardio section of the gym sits directly in front of the check-in desk, so I have a bird’s eye view of people coming and going).

Instead of simply punching in their code on a small keypad, many boomers (people my age, so no hate mail, please!) lean on the counter while entering their info, supporting themselves on their forearms.

At first, I wasn’t sure why anyone would use this posture. Then I realized this position takes the pressure off the lower back. So, if your back hurts, supporting yourself this way eases the discomfort.

But here’s the thing: It’s lazy. Plus, if your back is weak, so is your core. Nothing good will come out of that combo.

And if you continue to rely on countertops for balance instead of actively engaging your core muscles, guess what? Yes! Your core and your back will only get weaker. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Engage those abs, pull your shoulders back, and stand up!

Pushing Off

I’ve caught myself pushing off because I have osteoarthritis in both knees and they can get cranky. Getting up out of a chair by pushing off the armrests is easier on the knees, for sure.

But once again, it’s a bad habit that leads to more weakness over time.

Because you’re not only taking the easy route, but you’re missing out on an opportunity to strengthen your quadriceps muscles which, ironically, can help your knees.

So, the next time you’re about to get up from a chair, think for a second.

Focus on and squeeze your quadriceps muscles (fronts of your thighs) and use them to help you stand up from your seated position. Count it as a “one repetition squat.” Sending you a virtual high-five!

Overall Poor Posture

Poor posture is a rampant problem among all ages, but its effects hit home after 60.

Nearly everything we do involves forward motion, such as sitting hunched over a desk. Since your body shape is the result of what you do all day, sitting with a rounded back for weeks, months, and years achieves the posture of a bay shrimp.

Aside from looking as if you’re headed up the tower to ring the bell and alert the townspeople of their impending demise, a rounded spine wreaks havoc on other body parts – namely, the shoulders.

This position compresses the shoulder joint and can, over time, lead to rotator cuff problems (shoulder stabilizers), frozen shoulder, and other issues. Shoulder injuries become more common with age, even if you’re not practicing tennis serves every weekend.

So, be sure to strengthen your back muscles by performing rows, and pay attention to your posture throughout the day. Ears, shoulders, and hips should align when sitting. Add knees and ankles, if you’re standing.

Hanging on to the Treadmill Rails

Using the treadmill rails for support is a bad habit not limited to us 60 and over people.

By hanging on to the treadmill you burn fewer calories because you’re supporting part of your body weight (ditto for any other cardio such as the elliptical).

Plus, when you hang on while walking on an incline (as most people seem to do) you negate the benefits of walking uphill.

Think about it. When you hold on and lean back, your body becomes perpendicular to the platform. So, you’re basically walking on flat ground. On the other hand, if you lean forward as you would walking up an actual hill – without holding on – you’re kicking in those hamstrings and glutes.

Afraid of losing your balance? That’s even more reason to let go – if you can walk on your own normally.

But if you’ve been holding on, slow down the machine and start by holding on with only one hand. Then progress to letting go completely.

If you’re unsure of yourself, switch to a machine that doesn’t run by itself.

For example, I use a stair stepper machine at my gym because I like being able to stop on a dime without worrying about the machine taking off on its own.

The stationary bike or elliptical trainer are other good choices, for this same reason, if you’re a bit unsteady.

Having said that, however, if you don’t work on your balance by safely challenging yourself, the situation will only get worse, not better.

If you don’t have a balance problem, great! But if you do, start by raising your awareness so you can stop and adjust your exercise position. The key lies in catching yourself and fixing the habit before it becomes a real issue.

The post 4 Everyday Bad Habits You Don’t Know You’re Doing (That Can Wreck Your Health!) appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post 4 Everyday Bad Habits You Don’t Know You’re Doing (That Can Wreck Your Health!) appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How Volunteering Can Enrich Your Life After 60

How Volunteering Can Enrich Your Life After 60

What improves your quality of life? What do you need to feel content and satisfied? Researchers asked retirees what was most important to their quality of life. There were four key answers:

  • Having something to do;
  • Having relationships;
  • Having a stake in the future;
  • Having a sense of continuity.

Volunteering your time and expertise is a nice way to gain all of the above. When volunteering, you have something to do in a social situation, while working for the common good and contributing to your family, community, or society.

Governments, non-profits, and society encourage retirees to volunteer. Many consider volunteering a time honoured and valued activity for everyone – but especially for retirees.

There are several reasons why volunteering is good for you from the responses of the brain to meeting your own goals.

The Neuroscience of Altruism

Researchers have looked at altruism’s effects on your brain. Altruism is doing something positive for someone else with no expectation of a return, as in volunteering.

When someone acts altruistically, different portions of the brain show activity. One portion of the brain is associated with rewards. This reward response occurs whether one is voluntarily or involuntarily altruistic. Your brain rewards you for altruism whether you expect it or not.

Research has shown that cultivating positive emotions is good for your health and can even improve it. It decreases stress and increases pro-social behaviour and personal well-being, along with raising self-esteem.

Baby Boomers Already Volunteer

Long-term social studies on volunteering predict that baby boomers will continue to volunteer at rates higher than the previous two generations.

A large number of baby boomers offers a deep source of expertise and knowledge for non-profits and communities. But retired baby boomers have their own goals as well. Many want to take part in productive activities and remain physically and mentally active for years to come.

Volunteering can fulfil retirees’ quality of life criteria and meet their social and emotional needs. Very often it results in productive and vigorous activity.

Fulfilling Your Own Goals Through Volunteering

Volunteering enhances our quality of life because of the effects of altruism on the mind and body. Hence, it can provide productivity, connectedness, and legacy. But if volunteering doesn’t also fulfil your needs, then it does not improve your quality of life.

For example, I wanted to volunteer at a school, because I missed my grandchildren. I applied to work with the students but ended up cleaning and doing kitchen work. Since I can do the cleaning at home, I quit – the volunteer work wasn’t meeting my needs.

Planning for Volunteering

Friends or acquaintances may ask us to volunteer. Deciding first on what type of activities you would like to perform in a volunteer capacity is important. On receiving those requests, you will know whether they fulfil your goals.

Volunteering can be part of your legacy to your society as well as meeting your definition of “productiveness.” It can involve giving away your millions like Bill Gates, or it can be something much simpler.

Andrea Putting discusses her volunteer efforts in a recent podcast episode. She organises annual events for people of different religions where they drink coffee and eat chocolate together.

Called Chocolate and Coffee Day for Religious Harmony, this event promotes the similarities we share regardless of our individual religions. It is a simple idea, but it is true to Andrea’s beliefs and ethics.

There are many ways to be altruistic. Volunteering time or donating money can be very positive. Your brain rewards you and enhances your mental and emotional state.

For baby boomers, improving your quality of life through altruism can also fulfil your goals for a productive and active retirement.

The post How Volunteering Can Enrich Your Life After 60 appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post How Volunteering Can Enrich Your Life After 60 appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

7 Priceless Tips for Retiring Abroad (#2 Could Save Your Sanity!)

7 Priceless Tips for Retiring Abroad

International moving is not for sissies! It’s a jolt to every cell in your body. I know – I just did a reverse commute!

Whilst many of my compatriots are finding their new retirement havens abroad, I recently moved back to the U.S. after living for 25 years in Merida, Mexico. (Why did I make that decision? Well, that’s a topic for a future post!) Today I want to share with you my hands-on experience in international moving.

If you were, at some time in your life, a corporate person who moved internationally, you know that you didn’t have to lift a finger, your company did all the work and paid the bill. But when you have to move yourself, that’s a whole new learning curve. Here are some things to consider.

Early Investigation of Options Puts You in Control

Do the work. Start early with researching your options for moving and the companies that can move you.

Who will be your freight forwarder? Will you ship by container or pallet? Air or sea? What are the different costs and time frames? Take the car or sell it? What about the animals? So many new things to learn, different variables, costs, pros and cons to consider.

Don’t Even Think of Packing Yourself

I always packed by myself when I moved locally or in the country. But now my things were going to be stored, jostled, and crane-lifted. I hired international packers who knew what they were doing and how to cushion the blows.

They used stronger boxes of different sizes for different things. They knew how to pack paintings and fragiles. Moreover, they knew how much to pack in a box.

Brilliantly, my international packing company arranged for customs agents to be present, so I didn’t have my boxes opened later for inspection without me being there.

Do You Really Need to Take Your Furniture with You?

I owned beautiful pieces that I had custom designed and cherished for years. But they served a tropical climate and a big house lifestyle. I was going to move into a one-bedroom flat in a big city.

Moving furniture and cars is pricey! So, I sold all my furniture and made the decision to move only things that had emotional value in my life – 41 boxes worth!

When I arrived at my new flat, I bought a bed, a dining table and a couch. Now I’m unpacking and seeing what my new lifestyle is like before I buy anything.

Garage Sale Early and Often

There’s no such thing as one garage sale. You will have many. Have the first one earlier than you think you should have it, and sell things you can totally live without and haven’t used in ages…the extra serving bowls, brooms, linens you don’t like anymore, etc.

As you get closer to your packing date, you can start paring down to your essential stuff. At the very end, after packing, you’ll also find huge quantities of stuff you can’t believe you own that you’ll need to get rid of fast.

Closing Your Accounts

Start early (earlier than I did!) to investigate how and when to close your existing household accounts: cable or satellite TV, mobile, landline, internet, and utilities.

I learned the hard way that some companies require a month’s lead time to terminate accounts, and by then, you may be gone. Dealing with things long distance is never fun.

Plan a Refuge

Arrange for a place to stay (with friends, preferably, but a hotel is fine too) when your house becomes too barebones to sustain you.

I stayed in my house a bit too long, sleeping on the couch in the living room with no curtains on the windows. Staying with friends is comforting in a time of great disassociation and stress.

Stick Around!

Don’t think you can wave to the moving truck and then go to the airport. Plan to stay at least one week after your things ship. My final week in town was crucial, with customs paperwork, taxes, closing accounts, banking, seeing doctors, and farewell lunches.

It also gave me a much-needed rest from packing and all the associated stress. I caught up on sleep before I flew, knowing that I’d need strength to start the unpacking process.

Bonus Tip: Call in Your Tribe and Ask for Help

When friends know exactly what you need, they’re only too happy to help out. So, be specific: Can you come over and sit with me? Can you feed me dinner? Can you take me to the doctor? Will you have lunch with me?

Moving is a stressful shakeup of the soul. Let’s benefit from all our experiences.

The post 7 Priceless Tips for Retiring Abroad (#2 Could Save Your Sanity!) appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post 7 Priceless Tips for Retiring Abroad (#2 Could Save Your Sanity!) appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

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