When we travel on our business trade shows, we always come out with a new experience… But this time, we almost didn’t make it.

We arrived in the Atlanta Georgia Airport, looking forward to relaxing in a cool hotel room after a long day of traveling and adjusting to the thick humid air. We flagged down a taxi, and packed the 7 large bodies of our team into the old van, losing an inch of clearance as each person stepped into the van.

Packed shoulder to shoulder, the driver gunned it towards our destination. We thought nothing of it, until we reached the freeway…

The driver swerved through near-impossible gaps, with each grinding turn revealing the crunch of the old worn shocks that haven’t been replaced in years.  It was clear the van was overloaded; and at one point, we questioned if the driver was loaded (on drugs) too.

Clinging to the hope of a safe arrival, we veered of the exit and into the winding maze of Atlanta, Georgia. After a few heart-pounding stops, and almost rear-ending another car, we finally arrived at our hotel with the feeling of relief, and a new appreciation for life.

We do a lot of traveling, and although the experience was unsettling, it’s fun to look back on the crazy adventure and laugh.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007 the percentage of men ages 65 and older working in the workforce is at 20.5%. This number has steadily increased since hitting the lowest it has been in recent years at 15.8% in 1985. The percentage of women ages 65 and older in the workforce is at 12.6% this rising from 7.3% in 1985. This brings to mind a question why aren’t people retiring?

There are several factors that affect whether or not someone retires. These range from financial reasons to emotional reasons. In this article we will discuss the various factors that are involved in deciding to retire and what that means for the rest of the workforce.

Recession

The first reason we are to discuss is financial reasons. Whenever a country goes into a recession you can see the effects on the workforce almost immediately. Fewer people are wanting to leave their jobs because they don’t know if the grass is greener on the other side or if there is even grass at all. Fewer people leaving the workforce means fewer jobs for people who are beginning to enter the workforce, this leads to lower wages and an overall bad economy.

Most people in today’s recession have decided to work a few extra years and save some money instead of entering retirement when they planned to. Like we stated above their unwillingness to trust in their financial planning and the fear of the unknown keeps them working. The longer they wait to accept Social Security benefits the more money they will have in retirement.

Remaining Active

Another reason for why there are many that postpone retirement is that they don’t know what else to do with there time and working allows them something to do. By the time that most people reach retiring age they have been working in the workforce for a few decades. They probably are in a job that they enjoy and don’t necessarily want to quit working. Some also fear becoming inactive and don’t know what to do with the extra time that they have been given in retirement.

Don’t Want To

This reason may seem very practical but for some that are at the age of retirement they simply don’t want to retire. They have enough money to retire and have activities that they enjoy and would like to pursue but for some reason they just don’t want to stop working. Many people devote their lives to their work and when it comes time for retirement they don’t want to leave their life’s work and start on a new journey. For people that have this desire keep in mind that their are plenty of options to volunteer your time and skill set to help out the community or companies in your area. Depending on your skill set you can find ample opportunities to continue working in your field of study.

 

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1. Don’t be too bossy

Remember when you were growing up and you hated it when your parent’s bossed you around? Well don’t take this chance to give them the same treatment.  When you begin talking to your parent about their healthcare options bring up your concerns instead of telling them what they are going to do. Not only will this allow you to understand what their concerns are but they will continue to feel like they have control of their situation. Independence is key when caregiving for your family.

2. Don’t be the Doctor

Unless you are a doctor don’t diagnose your parents with anything. They don’t want to hear that they are getting old from real doctors why would they want you to tell them. If you feel like your parent(s) are having declining symptoms then schedule a visit to the doctor so that the professionals can diagnose them.

3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes your parent(s) is going to forget that they told you something or they might just want to tell the same stories over and over again. This might be because they are forgetting things or they just really love that story. Don’t get worked up about them telling you the same thing over and over, just listen patiently and attempt to engage in the conversation.

4. Don’t Assume Things

Just because you think that your parents won’t be able to do something doesn’t mean that you should discourage them from trying. New technology seems to be one of these things. Despite what you may think about your parent’s ability to use technology there are several of them that can handle their own when it comes to newer technology. This suggestion also is related to tasks. Much like a younger child who is learning to do things wants to do everything by themselves, so do your parents as they age want to feel like they can take care of themselves. Allow them to do this as much as they can.

5. Don’t Be Discouraging

Negativity in any form can be very disheartening. Think positively and emphasize the things that your parents can do instead of the things that they can’t do. Our minds are more powerful than we think and by thinking ‘my parent can’t do anything’ and focusing more on ‘my parents may be limited but there are many things they can do’ you will see a big change in your attitude and your parent’s attitude.

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1. Bowling

Did you know that three games of bowling is equal to one mile of walking? Or that you burn an average of 240 calories per game? Now you might think, ‘I’ve bowled before. I

Photo by Ginny

didn’t feel like I was exercising’. Isn’t that the best kind of exercise, the type that you don’t realize that you are burning calories. If you’re interested in bowling in a league ask your local bowling alley what league options are available to you or just begin bowling for fun and exercise.

2. Try a Wii or Kinect

With the modern technology that is now available in the world you can get a good workout by playing video games. The Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect use technology that tracks your movement across the room, using a camera they have developed games and workouts using these devices.  These consoles have developed games specifically designed as workouts. If you’d rather have fun and play a game they have developed several games that help with range of motion, balance and flexibility.

3. Window Shop

Walking is walking no matter where you are. You don’t need to go on a nature trail to exercise just walking through the city would do just fine. Remember that if you reach 10,000 steps per day that you can help promote weight loss. The window shopping part of this suggestion is there to distract you so that you don’t realize that you are exercising.

4. Golfing

Golf is a great game for the competitive senior although competitiveness is not a requirement when it comes to golfing. Golfing is a great way to exercise and on average you walk 5.16 miles when playing 18 holes of golf. This is the equivalent of walking about 10,000 steps which is a healthy way to promote weight loss.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson

5. Weight-Train with Groceries

Groceries can be really heavy, so why not lift with them? Weights can be very expensive so a very inexpensive way of weight lifting is to use your groceries. After you finish a gallon of milk, instead of throwing it away fill it up with water or heavier materials and use it to lift. Other groceries can be used as well such as heavy bags of rice or heavy cans.  This will provide you and very cheap and effective way of staying in shape.

 

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We have all seen people that in old age have begun to forget things or who struggle with diseases that overtime begin to make them confused or forget things. Staying mentally sharp is a goal that everyone entering the latter years of their life should have. Because of that here are four tips that help everyone regardless of age to stay mentally sharp.

1. Staying Socially Active

Your brain needs to remain active and engaged with other people, that’s why this is the first tip for staying mentally sharp. After a person retires they no longer are engaged on a day-to-day basis with their co-workers. We need to find replacement social engagements after we retire. Some activities include volunteer work, joining a club or participating in weekly activities of any kind.

2. Avoiding Stress

Stress can make people age faster and lead to several health problems. Learning to control and maintain stress levels can be one of the healthiest things you do, not just for your brain but for your whole body. Some researchers have indicated that stress can promote changes in your brain and has sometimes led to Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Puzzles

Using your brain and testing it is one of the best ways to keep mentally sharp. Doing the

crossword in your local paper or doing other puzzles like Sudoku can greatly increase your mental sharpness and help you remember things. Don’t get stuck doing the same puzzles over and over again because they will get easier with time. Change up what puzzles you are doing to keep your brain challenged.

4. Exercising Regularly

This seems to be a tip that is involved in every part of healthy living. Exercising regularly has been linked to stimulating new brain cell growth. This only occurs when you exercise on a regular and consistent basis. Tips on exercising regularly include exercise with a friend, vary the activities that you perform and don’t push yourself too hard, too fast.

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Let’s face it, every day we grow older. This can be a depressing thought when you really consider it but instead of allowing that thought to consume us, we’ve put together a few things to get excited for as we age and more particularly as we become senior citizens.

  1. Senior Discounts

    Photo by Vincent Lock

Let’s be honest this was the first one that came to everyone’s mind during the introduction. As most of us know several institutions and businesses offer senior citizen discount, in order to get the discount however you must admit that you are a senior citizen which can be hard to do sometimes.

If you decide that you want to become a member of the AARP they offer several different discounts, one discount allows you to save 60 percent when you shop at certain online stores.

2.  Travel

Another perk that comes from growing older is the time that you now have to travel. Throughout your life you probably made a mental note of places that you would like to visit. Well, now is the time. If you don’t necessarily have any places in mind there are several travel agencies that can help you decide where to go.

3.  Fitness Programs

Staying active and exercising is more important now than ever before. Local community centers or fitness centers usually have several programs for senior citizens to enjoy. This would be a great way to improve your health and mobility to ensure many years of healthy living to come. 

Check with your local community recreation center for a list of programs that you might be interested in.

4.  Volunteer Organizations

Now that you’re retired and you have lots of free time on your hands. This could be spent doing several things but if you have worked your whole life and gained experience chances are you would want use that experience. Find a volunteer organization that you can donate some of your time.

There are several places for volunteers to find somewhere to volunteer but we suggest searching online for the nearest opportunities.

 

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Caregiving for an elderly parent can take its toll on a person both financially and emotionally. Although difficult anyone that is considering becoming a caregiver for a loved one should always consider the costs of caring for that loved one.

The following statistics come from a survey performed by AgingCare.com referring to the costs that it takes to care for a loved one.

Personal:

63% of caregivers have no plans on how they will pay for their parent’s or loved one’s care.

62% of caregivers state that becoming a caregiver has affected their ability to plan for their financial future.

Although there are government plans in place like Medicare to help with the costs of caring for a loved one, they don’t pay for everything. Creating a plan for you loved one’s care before they are in need of it is the best way to ensure you’re prepared for the costs.

Financial:

34% of caregivers spend $300 or more per month out of their own pockets for their loved one’s expenses.

54% of caregivers have sacrificed their own spending money to pay for their loved one’s care.

Identifying what care your loved one’s needs is a good way to begin preparing for these costs. Although diseases and other illness come upon us quickly prepare for normal aging among your loved ones.

Work:

43% of caregivers have had to take time off of work to fulfill their caregiving duties.

48% of caregivers say they make less money at work because of their caregiving duties.

25% of caregivers have been fired or lost their job because of caregiving.

The best advice to avoid any type of miscommunication between your employer is to be honest and upfront about the challenges that you are facing as a caregiver. Most employers will be sympathetic to your cause and possibly allow you to adjust your work schedule or even take days off when needed to perform caregiving duties.

Physical & Emotional Toll:

53% of caregivers provide more than 40 or more hours per week.

37% of caregivers provide more than 80 hours per week.

21% of caregivers say they never get a break from caregiving.

This type of cost might be the most overlooked of them all. The best way to make sure that you remain healthy emotionally is to create a team of caregivers that can provide breaks from caregiving. These might include neighbors friends or  relatives.

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Falls happen to elderly for a variety of reasons but regardless of the reason falls can lead to further injuries and discomfort. For this reason it’s important to identify the things that increase your risk for falling and how to prevent them. Below are four reasons why people fall and how to avoid them.

Lack of Physical Activity

This is the primary culprit for falls among elderly. As people age they begin to lose

muscle mass and things that once were easy for us to do become much harder. Loss of mobility happens to everyone but there are ways for you to maintain the maximum

amount of mobility as we age.

Exercise is the best way to increase your mobility. Even going on a walk every day or stretching can increase your mobility and help prevent the risk of falls.

Impaired Vision

When people can’t see the obstacles in front of them then they can’t avoid them. Even walking without obstacles in the way can be challenging for elderly if they have impaired vision. This is another leader in causes for falls.

The easiest solution is to make sure that they have an updated prescription and have seen an eye doctor recently. Every situation is different so identify whether or not your loved one’s prescription is bad or they just refuse to wear their glasses.

Medications

Sometimes when a person has to take multiple types of medications they react differently with each other. A common symptom is being light-headed this can lead to a person falling and seriously injuring themselves.

The best solution for this issue is to understand the types of medications that your loved ones are taking and if there are medications that cause these problems talk to their doctor about their medications and the effects of them.

Surgeries

Elderly people that are coming out of surgery might not be as strong as they think they are. This will cause them to fall if they are not careful.

You don’t want them to have to have another surgery because they didn’t take the necessary precautions coming out of surgery.

The best solution is to purchase walking aids for them after their surgery that they can use to get around their house with. These could include security poles, walkers or canes.

 

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For most grandparents, it’s not often that you get to see your grandchildren…

Maybe its distance, a generation gap, or lack of common interests that keeps you from connecting with them; but regardless of your circumstance, here are 6 effective ways to connect with your grandchildren and build better relationships.

  • Facebook
    • The great thing about Facebook is that you can see what your grandchildren are up to. It’s a great place to look at pictures, explore their interests, and comment on things they like, or keep up on the events that are happening in their life. You can create a free Facebook account online at http://www.facebook.com, search for your grand kids, and add them as friends!
  • SnapChat
    • SnapChat is an App you can download on your phone that allows you to send and receive pictures from your loved ones. When you click on a SnapChat, the picture shows for a certain amount of seconds, and deletes from your phone. It’s a fun way to connect because it’s like texting, but with pictures.
  • YouTube
    • Sending videos back and forth to one another is a great way to connect with your grandchildren. YouTube allows you to have your own channel. Think as if the computer is a television and you get channel 4 to broadcast your thoughts, opinions and ideas to the world. If you aren’t into creating your own videos then share funny ones with your grand kids that you think that they will laugh at or will enjoy. Get your channel today by signing onto http://www.youtube.com
  • Read books together
    • At first you might think that this option is for grandparents that live close to their grandchildren, but that’s not the case. Due to modern technology you can feel like you are right next to your loved ones. Depending on how old your grandchildren

      Photo by Donnie Ray Jones

      are depends on the types of books you will read with them. When they’re young you can read them children’s books but as they grow older you can begin reading things that they are interesting to them and treat your conversations like a book club.

  • Tell stories
    • Remember how your kids used to get sick of hearing the same stories over and over again? Well now you can tell those same stories to your grand kids and they will feel brand new to them, they might even tell you to tell them the story twice. Another great way of sharing your stories with them is to write them down in a journal or on your computer so that they will always have the stories with them so they can learn about your life and be able to one day tell your stories to their kids and grand kids.
  • Phone call
    • The last suggestion is one of the surest ways of connecting with your grandchildren, give them a phone call. This suggestion has used been used by grandparents for years and years but that’s because it works. Just by taking a few minutes out of your day and calling your grand kids can do wonders for your relationships.

No matter your preference, I hope these ideas inspire new and fun ways to create a better relationship between you and your grandchildren!

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                Cruises have been growing every year since 1990 and some analysts expect the number of cruise passengers to increase by 3 million people over the next four years. The average age of a passenger on a cruise is 50 and older which means that there are several people living life large by taking advantage of what cruises offer. So what do cruises offer that other vacations don’t?

1. Good Value

This is probably the top reason for why people go on cruises. Cruises offer your hotel, food and entertainment all together for a very reasonable price. Not everything however is included for free in a cruise including drink packages and specialty foods other than the

Photo by Vincent Lock

dining room.

Traveling to exotic locations by yourself can be quite demanding on your wallet but travel on a cruise to these locations and you save a bunch of money and still enjoy these exotic locations.

2. Easy to Plan

Cruises are one of the easiest vacations to plan, especially if you live near a port. Cruises are great for large groups or just you and your spouse. No matter how big the group is booking a room on a cruise ship and planning excursions at the various ports is simple and easy to do. Most of it can be done online. If you don’t live near a port then add in your airfare or driving to get to a port into the plan.

3. On-Board Entertainment

Cruise ships offer a wide variety of shows and entertainment including variety shows and ice dancing shows. Most cruise ships even have a big movie screen that plays movies 24 hours a day. Add all that into the many lounges and casinos that the cruise ships have plus most of them have some form of live entertainment at them and cruises definitely offer the most entertainment than other vacations.

Photo by Jeff

4. Fine Dining

Not only is all of your food included in the price of your cruise but you get fine dining included in that price every night. Included in the price of your cruise are two free options for dining, a buffet and the dining room. At the dining room you get a 3-course meal every night. The meals that are usually served are regional cuisine so you get to taste the food from the area that you are cruising.

5. Unpack once

One of the more annoying things on regular vacations is the amount of time that you have to unpack and repack when you travel from place to place. On a cruise you only have to unpack one time in your room on the cruise ship and then travel to a wide variety of exotic locations.

6. Activities for whole family

Many people plan big vacations for their family every year. Whether it is for a big family reunion or you just want to take your family on a vacation if you take them on a cruise there will be something for every member of your family. Most cruise ships have places for your children/grandchildren to go interact with children their age, which gives you the chance to go and relax at the pool or a lounge.

 

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