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The Lifestyle of Active Adults and Baby Boomer Retirement Tips

The Lifestyle Page will be devoted to sharing boomer stories related to fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. In addition, we’ll feature Active Adults and Baby Boomer Retirement Tips that will interest our boomer audience.

  • Family Circle Changes
    Family Circle Changes

    Family Circle Changes

    I was having coffee with a friend recently, and we started talking about the bittersweet family circle changes that occur once your kids start getting married and/or having children.  You begin to realize that you are no longer part of their “immediate family circle”, which is made up of your children’s spouses and/or children.  This realization comes with a somewhat painful jolt.  For the majority of your kids’ lives, you have been the person they turned to for love, support, advice and comfort. It’s tough to realize that you are no longer the center of their universe. Suddenly that role is filled by a spouse and/or children, and it feels like you are on the outside looking in.

    It is our jobs as parents to raise a child and have them be able to live life on their own.  It’s important that they know how to do that.  After all, you will not always be around for them.  As we raise our families, we know the day will come when our little ones will grow up and move on to live their own lives.  What we are not prepared for is the different role that we now play in their lives.  “Your” family is now secondary to “their” family.  The focus of their lives is now squarely on their own family, and that is the way it should be.  As parents, however, there is a sadness that we feel as these bittersweet family circle changes begin to happen.

    My friend made a very good point regarding this.  She said that as a parent of grown children, you probably talk about your kids a lot. You still love and worry about them, like you did since the day they were born.  Nothing has changed for you.  Unfortunately, things have changed for your children.

    Their emotional balance has shifted. Their priorities and their conversations are about kids, jobs, spouses, etc.  Mom and Dad are no longer the center of their emotional universe.  You may think that this sounds a lot like the “empty nest syndrome”.  It’s really not.  It is a step beyond that.  Empty nest is more about the child physically leaving the family home to live elsewhere. It’s a more of a physical absence in our lives, with distance being the cause.

    So what does that mean?

    It means that we parents are now standing just outside the inner family ring that our children have built.  This in no way means that we are not still involved in our kids’ lives in a meaningful way.  It does mean that we have been replaced as the center of their universe.  This is where the jolt of sadness comes in.  Let’s face it, it’s disconcerting and scary to NOT be the center of the universe for our kids.  Perhaps this is the reason parents don’t talk openly about this issue.  It’s downright uncomfortable to acknowledge our feelings of sadness as these bittersweet family circle changes occur.  It feels selfish on our part to feel anything but happiness for our kids.

    We parents need to graciously accept the fact that our children have moved into a new phase in their lives. Talk to friends about the situation, and feel reassured that every parent experiences this.  Think back to when you were raising your own family.  You will see it was the same for you with your parents.  Find ways to maintain strong family ties from just outside your children’s new inner family circle.  To quote my friend, Tobi, “the sadness lessens as we grow into our changing role, and watch our children, with joy, as they tend to their families.”

    Head Boomer Sue – www.bestboomer.com

    (with special thanks to my friend, Tobie)

  • Amazing Boomer Adventure

    Amazing Boomer Adventure is about two baby boomers who have chosen to embark on an incredible journey.   They sold their house in North Carolina, and have started a two year trip around the globe.    I met Linda and Joe when they were staying in Colorado for three months over the summer.  When I heard their amazing boomer adventure story, I knew it had to be shared with others.

    Amazing Boomer Adventure

    Joe & Linda

    How the Amazing Boomer Adventure Began

    Joe and Linda raised their two girls in Alabama and then moved to North Carolina (they now have four grandchildren).  The couple had talked often about what they would do once their kids were grown and on their own.  One of their biggest interests was to travel and see the world.  It came about that a number of things fell into place for them to be able to pursue their amazing boomer adventure.

    1. They decided to sell their North Carolina home of 18 years.  They had updated the home and the real estate market had improved markedly.  The couple knew their home was in the best shape it would ever be, so they put in on the market to see what would happen.
    2. Linda’s mom was ill, and she and Joe decided to rent a place near her.  This allowed Linda to be with her mom.
    3. Their house sold sooner than they expected, and then Linda’s mom passed on.  At that point, they realized it would be the perfect time to travel and pursue their amazing boomer adventure.

    Putting the Amazing Boomer Adventure into Action

    Linda and Joe decided to take two years and travel.  They put together a list of locations they wanted to visit and began to plan timelines, accommodations and mode of travel.  One of the first decisions they made was to spend several months in each location.  Since some locations were possible retirement spots, it enabled them to truly get a feel for the people and way of life in that particular region.  The second decision was to utilize Airbnb for places to stay in each location . (For more info see https://www.airbnb.com/.)  They feel it is a cost effective way to travel, and usually cheaper than renting a hotel.  Linda and Joe gave away or sold everything in their home.  They loaded up their car, including bikes, and headed out on their amazing boomer adventure.

    As I said, I met Joe and Linda in a walking group.  Their energy and zest for life are contagious!  They are extremely active and enjoy walking and biking.  As for the future, they envision themselves “settling down” (I love this idea) somewhere near their children and grandchildren.  Joe and Linda see flexible volunteering in their future.  For now, however, they are living their dream of travel and experiencing an amazing boomer adventure.

    Chief Boomer Sue at www.bestboomer.com

     

  • Unvoiced Boomer Issues

    Unvoiced Boomer Issues

    There are two unvoiced boomer issues that need discussion.  One issue affects all boomers, and the other is unique to single baby boomers.   Both issues are top of mind for Kris, who is a 65+ year old, single woman.  Kris is independent, very active and in a decent place financially. She pointed out two unvoiced boomer issues that she is currently dealing with:

      Issue #1 – Affordable Housing

    Finding affordable middle income housing.  She would like to downsize from her current three bedroom    home to something smaller.  It’s getting more difficult to keep up with the house maintenance the older she gets.  Getting reliable help at a price she can afford has been challenging.  As a result, she is looking at selling her home and moving into a smaller, more maintenance free home.  Kris has been looking at town house options, senior condos, and retirement communities.  What she has found has been discouraging.

    Developers have been focused on building high end options, looking to cash in on the much talked about baby boomer wealth.  They have basically ignored building communities that are affordable for boomers with a mid-level fixed income. What these developers did not realize is that there are far more average baby boomers that need affordable housing than there are wealthy boomers.  This oversight is becoming a huge issue for many boomers that want to downsize.  Right now they have two alternatives, high end or low income housing.  Neither one is the right answer for Kris or others like her.

    Issue #2 – Single Baby Boomer Issues

    Single baby boomers, especially those with no immediate family, are faced with figuring out how to deal with looming aging issues.  Who do they turn to if they have a health issue?  Kris is losing her eyesight.  It is a slow progression, but it has become difficult for her to manage some aspects of her life.  At some point she may not be able to drive.  Can she depend on friends to help out?  Can she afford to pay for all the services she may need?   Then there are finances.  If you become unable to manage your money, whom can you trust to help you? Even boomers with children can experience these same trust issues.

    Kris has taken a proactive approach in making sure she has her affairs in order.  She has spelled out what she can in her will, including how she wants to be buried.  The more difficult part finding a person you can trust your money with and one who will honor any end of life health decisions.  It would be smart to create a legal document that spells out how you want things handled. This legal document is referred to in various terms, such as “living will”, health care directive, and advance directive.  The document names all refer to the legal document that describes your wishes regarding life prolonging medical procedures.

    Conclusions

    I am writing about this today to raise awareness around these two unvoiced boomer issues.  There are no ready answers for either situation.  Boomers need to voice their concern and start dialogues with community leaders and developers to encourage more affordable housing options.  Single baby boomers need to be proactive and begin planning in anticipation of health issues.  Again, raising awareness and beginning discussions can result in creative solutions.

    Chief Boomer Sue at www.bestboomer.com

  • Boomer Health Challenges

    Boomer Health ChallengesBoomer Health Challenges outlines the key health issues that are plaguing baby boomers as they age.  Physicians are seeing rising growth in all these categories.  While some of these conditions are unavoidable, many of them can be prevented or controlled by lifestyle choices.  Below are the top boomer health challenges:

    Boomer Health Challenges

    Obesity

    Obesity, alone, causes many of the boomer health challenges listed below.  Sadly, this is a condition that can be completely prevented by practicing positive lifestyle choices, such as exercise and a healthy diet.

    Type 2 Diabetes

    Kidney damage, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, vision loss, and nerve damage are just a few of the health issues that Type 2 diabetes can cause. Be smart. This is a disease that is preventable and controllable through healthy lifestyle choices.

    Cardiovascular disease

    As one of the top boomer health challenges, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women over the age of 60.  Coronary heart disease, which narrows and/or blocks the arteries carrying blood to the heart is the most common. Do yourself a favor and eliminate tobacco products, control high blood pressure/high cholesterol, exercise, and eat right.

    Cancer

    There is probably at least one person in your family that has developed cancer.  It is the second leading cause of death among baby boomers.  Early screenings for colon, breast, skin and prostate cancer can catch these diseases in the early stages while they are still highly treatable.

    Arthritis and Joint Replacement 

    Arthritis and joint replacement are common as we age.  Joint swelling and cartilage breakdown can be very painful.  Treatment options are extremely diverse.  You can choose from medication options, natural healing solutions or actual joint replacement.

    Alzheimer’s

    Unfortunately for baby boomers, Alzheimer’s disease is dramatically rising in our age group.  There is no cause or cure for Alzheimer’s.  It has quickly become the disease that baby boomers fear the most. While new research has not found a cure, it has begun to identify some key information to aid in identification and treatment.

    I hope this information has given you a better idea of the boomer health challenges that we are all facing.  Make your health a priority.  Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way to keeping you healthy.  More importantly, many of these conditions are PREVENTABLE!  Don’t throw away your chance at a happy, healthy boomer life by making poor lifestyle choices.  You can find additional information in a Scripps Health article on the Top 10 Health Concerns of Baby Boomers.

    Chief Boomer Sue at www.bestboomer.com

  • Lengthen Lifespan Reap Rewards

    Lengthen Lifespan Reap Rewards Lengthen lifespan reap rewards is the real life story of Betty and Harold.  I cannot think of a better way to  start 2015 than to share how this wonderful couple has embraced life, and extended their lifespans in the  process.   Harold is 85 and Betty is 84.  They have been married for 65+ years and have experienced  many ups and downs.  Their love for each other is joyous to see, and their dedication to living as long as  possible is downright inspirational.  So let’s take a peek at how Betty and Harold have managed to  become shining stars in the quest of lengthen lifespan reap rewards.

     Lengthen Lifespan Reap Rewards

    I first met Betty and Harold in a walking group I joined when I first moved to Colorado.  They were the walk leaders, and I remember feeling slightly embarrassed that this couple was more active than I was!  Their enthusiasm for welcoming new walkers to the group was so charming that I immediately felt like I had known them forever.  This alone made me want to become a group regular.  Without even trying, they had drawn me into becoming more active.  They were the living embodiment of lengthen lifespan reap rewards.  Without a doubt, the more active you are the longer your lifespan will be.

    Betty’s motto is “walk on”.  After four bouts with cancer, this is her daily mantra.  Nine years ago she and Harold became vegans.  Betty was frustrated with doctors telling her there was nothing she could personally do to prevent the cancer from coming back.  Since she was feeling so lousy, she decided to change her diet.  She has felt substantially better since becoming a vegan and Harold has also adopted this lifestyle change.  I am not trying to tout veganism here.  I am simply trying to show people that it is important to take responsibility for their own health.  In this case, rather than depending on doctors, Betty took responsibility for herself.  She worked to find a solution that would help her health and wellness.  Betty and Harold’s greatest desire is to spend as much time as possible with their children, grandchildren, friends and each other.  They know that it takes personal health responsibility to make that happen.

    Harold and Betty lead active lives.  For their 50th wedding anniversary they bicycled from Germany to Austria. For their 65th anniversary, the couple biked through Provence, France.  While they no longer bicycle due to Betty’s balance issues, they fill their time with other activities.  Betty and Harold walk at least five days a week at five miles per walk.  Harold will tell you that Betty drags him into all of these activities, but you can tell he enjoys them as much as Betty.  With their goal in mind of living as long as possible, Betty and Harold take responsibility for making it happen.  They are shining examples of lengthen lifespan reap rewards.

    We are all capable of extending our own lifespans.  Far too many of us do nothing to help ourselves.  The determined ones, like Betty and Harold, are already achieving the goal of lengthen lifespan reap rewards.