Do You Want to Set Your Day Right? Do These

Health Secrets

early bird

Early bird!

Do you often wake up in the morning with no motivation to get up? So you stay in bed a little longer until boredom grudgingly forces you to. That’s what happens when you have not set anything exciting and worthwhile to occupy your day.

I used to feel the same way right after my wife died. I was so down and did not want to get up until almost lunch time. Finally, I realized that I was slowly wasting my life away. Oh, I did not mind dying then. But not the way I was leading myself into.

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Don’t Move to a Retirement Community before Reading This

Health Secrets

Home alone

Home Alone, and Happy

Three years ago I thought of moving to a retirement community.

I live alone in my home which, I think, is too big for me. So I scouted around for a community near my home that can give me a simple, quite, and joyful retirement life.

I found two – near enough to my children so I won’t feel isolated from them. Unluckily (or luckily) for me, they did not satisfy my needs.

Both were fenced off from the rest of the world and, except for a small door with a peephole, they seemed so monolithic. My first impulse was, “Oh God, I want to live in a community, not a prison.”

So if you are planning to do the same, read this first before you do.

 

Why Stay Put at Home:

Since then, I decided to stay put until the rest of my days. You should, too, for the following reasons:

1.  Familiarity:
Familiarity with your surroundings has a great effect on your happiness and wellness. You know your home as the wrinkles on your hands. You know the community, the people, and the amenities, down to the name of the clerk in your favorite convenience store.

It removes the hassle of moving into new and unfamiliar surroundings, of being with people you never knew before, of adjusting to the quirks and hang-ups of the guy next door.

Adjusting to a new environment such as a retirement home is difficult and stressful for anybody. It could be near impossible for you.

 

2.  Uncertainty:
Staying home near people you know, like family and friends minimizes, it not removes the uncertainty of immediate help in case of emergencies

To have people, neighbors and family members, around that you can call easily in case you need help removes anxiety and boosts your peace of mind.

 

3.  Availability of resources:
Even if you stay home for retirement, you can still be assured of adequate health care services because these days there are so many providers you can get in touch with.

Other than these home care service providers, there is a multitude of user-friendly hi-tech devices that help you manage your health care needs.

All these means that immediate help is never far away in case you need it

 

4.  Independence:
According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 90% of seniors want to retire at home, mostly for sentimental reasons. They feel that if they have survived all these years at home, they will survive the rest of their days.

Another reason is independence.

Seniors feel that independence is all they have control over in the face of the changes in other
aspects of their lives. It also gives them a sense of achievement, which is necessary for promoting purpose, self-worth, and well-being.

When my children moved out of my home right after marriage, I felt the world tumbling around me. I thought I could never get over the thought of us living separately. But after my period of self-denial, I found out that it was not such a bad thing.

In fact, I am glad they did. It allowed me free use of my time and activities which would have been impossible had they stayed on. A daily riot would certainly be happening now had they and their spouses lived with me.

 

5.  Minimize risk of abuse:
Old people, because of their condition, are often subject to elderly abuse. In fact, the problem is escalating despite the availability of services to prevent its occurrence.

Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and above have experienced some form of elderly abuse.

What is worrisome about it is that in 60% of the cases, the culprits are close family members.

Retirement and nursing homes are not any safer for old people as well. The number of elderly abuse in retirement and nursing homes is unavailable because most of these are swept under the rug and never reported.

This is minimized, if not avoided if you stay alone at home provided ample services are available in case you need them.

 

6.  It is Cheaper:
If your home is mortgage-free, stay put because it is cheaper in the long run. Retirement homes can be expensive depending on the state, services, and amenities provided.

In 2012, a private room average cost was $248.00/day; a semi-private was a little less at $222.00/day.

This could be exorbitantly high even if your retirement income is substantial. It will definitely leave a huge hole in your budget.

 

The Bottom Line?

It is your call. But before you make a decision, weigh things carefully because staying put or moving to a retirement home are not exactly two peas in the same pod. In fact, they are poles apart.

Do your research. Surf the Internet, talk to friends or have a sales person give you a call. Get as much information as you can. The more the better. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down due to your own lapses or negligence.

Focus your attention on total costs, health care services, nutrition plan, activities to promote togetherness and camaraderie, safety, proximity to shopping centers and malls, family visitation privileges, etc.

Make sure you get all the pertinent information and understand them all to avoid future regrets.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

Image: http://www.seniormoneysaver.com/dining_in_cooking.htm

~oOo~

If You’ve Reached this Far, Celebrate. Here’s Why

Health Secrets

celebrate life

Celebrating life at 86

Do you know why you have to celebrate if you’ve reached this far? Because it takes a lot of hard work and a huge dose of luck to make it. In fact, many did not.

The average lifespan now, both male and female is 69 years. But how many of your boyhood friends, cousins, neighbors, work associates are still today? That you are is worth celebrating, isn’t it?

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Elderly Poverty: Shocking but True and What You can Do About It

Health Secrets

Elderly poverty

Elderly poverty – shocking but true!

Elderly poverty is true and shocking but you hardly notice it, or ignore it. You’re so busy with your own life to give it any attention.

But it is all around you. You see it each time you take a walk or go to your neighborhood convenience store. They are those dirty and bedraggled senior citizens sleeping on street corners, alleys and even subways.

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How to Treat a Gay in the Family

Health Secrets

I am surrounded by gays, but this one tops them all…

“Uncle, I want you to meet my husband, David.”

Immediately, my jaws dropped and I was transfixed not knowing whether to jump with joy or drop dead with embarrassment. I was totally taken off guard that I froze – unable to give the couple a hug or a congratulatory handshake.

Why? You see, husband David, apparently married my nephew, not niece.

Same-sex marriage is not only taboo in my country’s strictly religious culture, it is also not allowed by law (they married in Australia). To have a close relative, a nephew, marrying another man is nothing short of a near-death experience; my ancestors must have turned in their graves.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gays. In fact, I am surrounded by them. There is a gay in every generation of both sides of my family, i.e., a brother, an uncle, close and distant relatives, not to mention close friends. Even I was effeminate as a child my Mom wanted me to become a priest, and had I more than one son, the other would probably be gay, too.

I am ambivalent towards them. I know that their sexual orientation is not their fault. In fact, I sympathize with them for having to face the stigma of being gay everyday of their lives.

If you have a gay in the family, as I do, treat him with respect and understanding – especially when they are old and grey. Their sexual orientation is a work of Nature which they couldn’t do anything about as you can’t do anything about yours.

Don’t be swayed by ill-informed statements like that of Ben Carson’s that being a gay is a choice. Nobody would choose to live a life of constant harassment, ridicule, abuse, or be ostracized by the mainstream.

Would you?

I once had a lively chat with two gays in a coffee shop. I wanted to pick their brains on how it is to be gay. Well, both are earning a living and, at the same time, supported by closet lovers.

Even as a child, they knew that they were “different,” and had to fight a long battle of attrition against family members who couldn’t accept them as they are. They won, ultimately.

That’s how it is with gays. Before making a public “debut,” they have to face the same gauntlet of disapproving family members. For them, that is the toughest hurdle. Once they gain acceptance at home, let the general public be damned.

Younger gays are a raucous bunch, even vulgar. There is nothing sacred for them and are always ready to take a swipe at anybody or anything that frowns on their sexual orientation. And they are fearless fighters for their rights. Never lock horns with a gay. You will surely lose.

Age mellows them somehow, and elderly gays are more subdued, introspective, genteel, and act accordingly. But that doesn’t improve their lot in the eyes of society in general.

They still are subjected to unfounded restrictions you and I are spared from. For example, gays are…

 

1.  Childless and alone in their old age:
Studies show that gays are four times less likely to have kids compared to non-gays of the same age group.

This leaves them with without any help when they need it most.

Relying on government programs is not encouraging either. Medicare  doesn’t cover everything for a long-tern nursing home care and, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, only 3% of  senior gays are covered with a private long-term insurance.

Elderly seniors’ old age future is anything but rosy.

 

2.  Poorer than non-gays:
Gays, even today, suffer from employment discrimination. This leaves them with hardly any savings when they reach retirement age.

A study done by the University of California, LA, shows that 4.9% of elderly gays (collectively called LGBT) are poorer compared to non-gays. Overall, 42% of elderly gays suffer from financial difficulties at retirement.

 

3.  Still discriminated upon:
Despite gaining much acceptance, gays still feel biases against them.

For example, gays are often not welcomed in some senior centers where they could socialize with other seniors and to fill out important paperwork dealing with government assistance programs for seniors.

Even the professional staff at these centers is, in most cases, not trained to handle the peculiar needs of gays.

 

4.  Having peculiar health problems:
Many gays suffer from mental issues that affect their lives like loneliness, depression, isolation and thoughts of suicide, according to SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts).

This because a lot of them dd not seek treatment early on for fear of being considered mental cases. Now it is considered to be due to a genetic framework that didn’t perfectly fit – not a mental illness.

Another health issue is HIV. In 2011, more than a quarter of the 1.2 million with HIV in the U.S. were gays, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

There are currently more than 39 million people in the U.S, aged 65 years and older, who identify themselves as gays (LGBTs, for lesbians, gays, bi-sexual, transgender). That’s a lot to reckon with; a lot of votes no politicians can ignore.

You can mock them, ostracize them, call them names or label them but that can’t change what they are. They cannot do anything about their sexual orientation as much as you cannot do anything about yours.

At the end of the day, you are left with no choice but accept them as they are. Besides, other than their sexual orientation, they also need the same things you and I need; the same hopes and aspirations. They also expect the treatment from society you expect.

And they are a gregarious lot to be with.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

Image: http://www.advocate.com/marriage-equality/2016/1/25/watch-sweethearts-candy-celebrates-same-sex-marriage

~oOo~

Travel: A Remarkable Body/Mind Therapy for Seniors

Health Secrets

I hope the flight is on time

Do you sometimes feel like living in a cage? Not the sturdy, steel-bar kind but just as confining. It is your self-limiting thoughts that lock you in a lonely, uneventful and often miserable existence.

Your thoughts detain you in your comfort zone; fearful of the uncertainties that may come should you dare venture out. Thus you grudgingly accept your lack of purpose, of staring at the same old, scruffy walls of your home, eat microwavable meals, watch old and boring sitcoms, and talk to people as old as you and as locked in their own cages.

You find life to be such a drag.

Being a live-alone widower, I sometimes feel the same way – like a hamster going round and round its wheel. It is maddening. So each time I like a hamster, I get up, get out and just go before I implode.

You should do the same –when you feel the walls closing in on you, just go, anywhere, and loosen yourself up a bit.

A walk around the neighborhood is often good enough. If you want to explore, have an adventure, go for a long drive, or take a train or a plane trip to a far, far away place. Believe me, it is remarkably therapeutic to both body and mind.

 

How is travel good for the body?

It is a good exercise, especially for seniors, i.e., dragging your heavy baggage around, running after a taxi, or lining up in front of a check-in counter.

Exploring the streets of unfamiliar cities, or walking around museums, sightseeing or leafing through bookstores is exercise you couldn’t at home.

US News reported that a typical travel can make you walk up to 10 miles a day.

 

Why is it good for the mind?

Traveling exercise the mind as well.

Navigating new cities, exploring museums, chatting with new people, practicing new languages, and seeing new sights are all stimulating to the brain; they flex your mental muscles and keep your brain active.

Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis says, “With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome.”

Learning new things is good for the mind, so is giving it a rest.

Other benefits you get from traveling are:

 

1.  A change in scenery:
Travelling allows you to see new and different scenes.

You can walk through the clouds in mountain tops, or feel salty spree on your face while sitting on a quiet and lovely beach somewhere.

Though less frequent, but a scene in scenery is just as necessary for your body and mind as changing your linens, your underwear, or clothes.

 

2.  It is liberating:
Travel makes you forget, even for a while, your daily concerns and opens up a world of endless possibilities. It allows you to do whatever you want to do, and go wherever you want to go. That is freedom.

You can try out new things, explore places, or live outside of the norms you live by back home.

It can make you forget of your age and be as gleeful as a child again.

 

3.  Connecting with others:
Traveling gives you an excellent opportunity to connect with other people, i.e., the guy beside you in a bus, train, or plane, for example.

They are not just people who happen to be near you, but valuable sources of information, and possibly becoming good friends.

They can give you invaluable safety tips, interesting points to see, places to avoid, nearest police station or hospital.

If done amiably, a few minutes of friendly conversation can allow you to see them as they are, like how they live where they work, their marital status, or number of children, if they have any, etc.

While waiting for my daughter and her hubby who were window-shopping, I talked with the mall’s security guard. From him I learned so much about the city, which I could never have through walking around the shopping center.

 

4.  Allows you to find yourself:
In the course of a day, you are so engrossed with money, relationship, and health issues to know that there is so much in life other than fighting bushfires.

To see the horizon, you need to view it from a distance.

Traveling gives you that distance; it is seeing things from outside your cage. It allows you to see yourself from another perspective, i.e., your life’s purpose, your values, your needs, what makes you happy or sad, what interests you most in life, and your goals and ambitions..

Away from the maddening crowd, travel allows you to find yourself.

This year I have logged a lot of travel mileage. Most of them were with my daughter and her hubby who kindly took me along. The rest were solos.

Regardless of the mode, I always come home refreshed, rejuvenated and with lots of memories of the trip and a ton of pictures for posterity.

I plan to make three solos before the year is over and next year, when I turn 70, I plan to take a very long motorcycle ride.

That is how addicting travel is. Once it gets into your system, and make you want to do it as long as you can.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

~oOo~

Simple Tips to Avoid Money Problems

Health Secrets

money problems

Got money problems?

Are you having money problems? You are not alone. A lot of people, worldwide, have the same problem.

While younger adults can survive it, seniors often find it difficult to wiggle around the problem. Because of age, they have very few options to mitigate the problem.

And it is ironic that it comes at a time for joy and relaxation; a time to travel or do something interesting, reflect, write a book, or simply put one’s feet on a chair and take things easy.

Instead, you are frequently stressed out not knowing how to pay your bills, buy nutritious food, or your much-needed medicines. You don’t go out to save on transportation money, nor socialize to avoid unnecessary expenses.

You become a pariah to your own self. Money problems often shut you off from the world, make you want to dig a hole in the ground and disappear. It robs you of the freedom of choice.

I know how it feels because I was in a very grave financial situation a few years back. It was tough; it made me feel suicidal. What kept me going then was my wife who encouraged me never to give up.

And I did not.

In hindsight, I find it kind of funny that in the depth of your despair, that’s when you see the light.

I suddenly realized that agonizing over money will not make the problem disappear; money will not rain down from heaven even if you cry buckets of tears.

It made me realize that if you look at money problems from a different perspective, you will find valuable lessons from your misfortunes – the silver lining behind the dark clouds.

I still have money problems but not as serious as before. And that episode in my life made a better person of me. It helped me, and it can help you. I

Here they are:

 

1.  A good attitude about money:
Money is an instrument to sustain life, not life itself.

If you consider money the centerpiece of your life, you will forever be miserable because you will never be satisfied with what you have, no matter how large a fortune it is.

So use it to give meaning to your life. Use it wisely and prudently. It is hard to come by, and once it is gone for good. And if you are a retiree, replenishing it is next to impossible.

Howard Schultz said, “…I have never defined myself by my worth. I always try to define myself by my values.”

 

2.  Live humbly:
I have learned over the years that pride ultimately drags you down.

There’s nothing wrong with self-confidence. In fact, we should all be confident with ourselves. But beyond that, when it becomes egoism, it is unhealthy – especially if your ego cannot be sustained or supported.

Live humbly. Humility has its rewards. Besides, after having reached this far, there is nothing to prove anymore, is there?

Henry David Thoreau said, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”

 

3.  Be practical in your purchases:
People often buy things due to peer pressure or because it is the “in thing.” They want to keep up with the Jones’s. Unwittingly, they get into serious money problems.

Don’t be like them. Buy things because they serve your needs and your budget. While some argue that expensive things last longer, you still have to balance the pros and cons before opening your wallet. There is no point in buying something that will outlive you.

 

4.  Learn from your mistakes:
They say that life is a good teacher. And it never makes a mistake – if only people heed its lessons.

Your financial problems are not caused by somebody else, or that you were born under an unlucky star. They are caused by the things you did in the past. So don’t ever do them again.

Heed Bill Gates’ advice when he said, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it’s important to heed the lesson of failure.”

 

5.  Make a budget and stick to it:
Another experience I learned over the years is that the best way to get into money troubles is not having a budget.

No matter how small your financial resources are, have a budget. That is the only way to account and control your expenses. Without it, you will never know where your scant resources went. You will never know if you’ve bought all you need.

If Thomas Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management, has a budget, shouldn’t you?

He carries a list when he buys his groceries and will only carry the amount to cover them all. He says, “You couldn’t spend money you don’t have.”

 

6.  Save:
It may soon foolish to talk about saving if you have barely enough to last a month.

If you keep to your budget and exercise restraint in your spending, you can. It may be difficult, but it is a smart thing to do to cover unseen emergency expenses.

Set aside for the rainy days any amount you can squeeze off your budget. Over time, it can buy a loaf of bread or a box of milk.

 

7.  Sell a service:
If you have reached this far and still healthy you can earn a few dollars by selling a service.

If you have money problems, it would not be a bad idea to sell your skills to people or organizations in need of it.

There is nothing to be shy about it. You need extra cash, then go out and earn it. Besides, a lot of people are already into it, they created the work-from-home industry.

Money problems among seniors cannot be taken lightly because of the magnitude of the problem and its repercussions.

It can lead to physical and mental health problems put a strain on your relationships and can cause family breakups.

While it can be argued that your money problems have their roots way back, but it is up to you to stop them from spreading before they choke you to death.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

Image: http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/

~oOo~

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