Women’s Wellness. Use It Or Lose It

Remember when exercise was all about “feeling the burn”? Jazzercize, cardio, stationery bicycling and zoomba? Today healthy living, especially for seniors, is also about movement. Walking 30 minutes a day 3x a week is exercise. Tai Chi looks like pushing air around, but is considered a top means of movement and exercise. Who knew?

As we age, the facts of energy levels, muscle loss and thinner bones dictate that just getting going is what’s important. The way to keep fit is by using those muscles, breathing deeply and maintaining balance.

What does wellness look like?

The picture of health may sound like a cliche with no real meaning, but true health has physical characteristics that are recognizable. A straight back, skin that glows, good teeth and eye sight, and a pleasant attitude all give the appearance of a healthy person. It’s possible such a person has a chronic condition, a cold coming on or is actually very healthy. But wellness is about more than physical appearance. Optimism, confidence and a sense of wellbeing plays a large part in being and feeling well.

Getting out there and doing the yoga or clocking yourself around the block takes a commitment and motivation. Those muscles won’t improve just by thinking about it. Lethargy can knock you down for the count. If you find yourself feeling bogged down, here are some encouragers to try.

  1. Partner with a friend. Set up a time and place to meet and set out together.
  2. Find before and after pictures of people who have followed a program and improved their looks, weight, stamina -or whatever the goal. Put the pictures on the fridge and picture you looking back.
  3. Set specific goals and write down rewards to give yourself when you achieve them. A purchase, a trip or a night out.
  4. Join a group. There’s encouragement in numbers. Everyone’s there for the same reasons, if for different goals.

Groups have leaders, teachers or trainers. They can advise you and help you stay motivated. There are many kinds of group exercise programs. Levels of workouts can help you start with something manageable and build those muscles gradually.

Groups also offer the opportunity to meet new people. Socializing is as important as exercise. Just the fact that you’re commited to a plan will put a smile on your face.

Attitude has to do with self esteem and the determination to live your best life. It’s about showng up. When you sign up for a class, join a gym, or find instructional videos to do at home, you put yourself in the driver’s seat.

Two birds with one stone

There are an abundance of activities that get your body moving and are also fun. Dancing, water aerobics, volley ball, golf, shuffle board, tennis, soft ball and pickle ball bring people out for a few hours of toning and sunshine. Indoor sports are available all year around.

Sticking to a program yields results. You can see the changes in your body and your sense of wellbeing. There’s an element of pride that you’re sticking to it, using those muscles and keeping lungs and heart in good shape. Ageing wlll take its toll regardless, but slowing the process and enjoying life at the same time is golden.

Don’t lose hope

Do I do all the things I recommend to you? Well, my workouts right now consist of walking and yoga at home. I just moved, so I’m learning where things and places are. My bicycle has a flat tire, my arm muscles are used to break down boxes, my legs go up and down stairs and my back is starting to complain.

For me, variety is the spice of life. Yoga for relaxation and balance, bicycling for strength and fresh air and the pool for overall endurance and socializing. Hanging out on my noodle does wonders for my attitude. This isn’t a pass/fail test. Push yourself a little, try something new and join one group. Your body will tell you if you need a little more. When you realize you can barely carry the groceries in from the car, listen to those voices!

Share your story

I’d love to hear from you. Pass along any tips, funny stories or plans that went awry.

To your health!

 

AH………FEEL THE JOY!

Women’s Health. The Cost of Wellness

A major key to an enjoyable retirement is having enough money. No matter how much you save, there’s always the fear that you’ll run out. There are some good solutions to that problem. The other major key to making your golden years truly meaningful and satisfying is health. These two elements dovetail for many retirees, because declining health is a leading cause of financial drain. The cost of staying well can greatly diminish your ability to pursue your plans.

Historical Background

The picture for women and health issues includes the woman herself and her entire family. Women are the go-to persons who take charge of wellness and illness for everyone. They take children to the doctor, remind husbands to make appointments, and see to their own health issues. Thus, over her lifetime, women access the health systems more than men. At the same time, women experience greater out-of-pocket expenses, depending on her age, her employment situation and marital status.

Staying well is the ultimate goal of personal habits and regular medical attention. The fact of reproduction plays an integral part in the life span of females. Often, insurance premiums are higher for women’s medical procedures, or the cost is passed on entirely to the patient.

Because women earn less than men, take time out for childbirth and care, and devote time to in -need family members, their work record is affected negatively. Chunks of time are lost – and also wages – while women attend to the health needs of themselves or someone else.

Today’s Picture

By the time a woman is approaching retirement, she has seen insurance and treatment costs rise considerably, while salaries have not kept pace. According to the Health Reform Monitoring Survey, 40.2 % of women have failed to get needed medical treatment, compared to 29.5% of men. The reasons stated were costs they couldn’t afford or other problems paying medical bills.

The insurance situation in America today is a nightmare. Health costs are higher and outcomes lower than in other industrialized nations, leaving the public with few optimistic choices. Efforts are being made to change the system to make cost and outcome a reality that individuals and families can afford.

Meanwhile, what can be done to give women an edge in maintaining a status of wellness?

  1. Know and understand the habits recommended for keeping yourself healthy. These include nutrition, fitness and exercise, alcohol and tobacco consumption, stress and sleep patterns. Give yourself the best possible opportunity.
  2. Regular medical checkups. See practitioners you like and trust.
  3. Set aside a health emergency fund. I know it may be difficult, but putting off or ignoring symptoms can be disastrous.

Most retirees work these days. 72 % of senior citizens expect to work after “retiring”. The reasons vary, but many need the extra cash. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that those ages 65 and over will experience the fastest rates of labor force growth by 2024. And the good news is that employers are taking a more positive look at hiring older people. The benefits greatly outweigh any skepticism about older workers.

The benefits include:

  1. Experience
  2. Flexibility
  3. Dependability
  4. Willingness to learn
  5. Willingness to teach

For anyone who experiences a need to increase monthly income, the options are numerous. The cost of health care and wellness is far from certain. Stay tuned for more information about the opportunities to maintain the lifestyle you deserve.

Best Money Advice for Stressed Seniors

Will I outlive my resources?

The biggest worry for seniors today is whether they’ll outlive their money. It’s a reasonable concern. The options for retirement are numerous and varied. Retire early. Retire later. Delay social security. Move to a retirement community. Stay where you are and divide your time in several places. A winter home somewhere. A rental overseas. No wonder seniors are stressed. How does money fit into this picture?

The US Department of Labor Blog offers considerable advice on the subject of retirement. One relevant link states “it pays to understand how your savings and benefits work”. In fact, the www.dol.gov is one of the best resources for all things “money”. The website allows you to surf around and get information that includes charts, graphs and checklists for your own calculations. Tweaking the numbers and making critical changes to your saving and spending habits could give you considerable peace of mind, and allow choices you thought were closed.

Financial tips for women

Senior women have less money and more to worry about than men. When couples retire, they usually have joint investments, along with social security checks and possibly a pension. It’s likely that the pension is a benefit from the husband’s job.

It’s important to understand that pensions are retirement benefits – not death benefits. If the husband dies first, his pension usually stops. It’s also important to consider that health issues or other unexpected expenses may have diminished the savings meant for both of them.

One in four older senior women lives below the poverty line. Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. This will continue for 20 years. And only one-third of women 65 + years old is married. That’s a lot of older, single women!

Getting good, reliable and personal financial advice takes some research. Women usually were not given good – if any – advice about saving, investing and retirement planning. It was assumed that someone else – husband, father, brother or uncle – would “see to it that she was allright”. Today, companies are waking up. Women are earning, saving and handling their money. But it’ only a beginning. Much more needs to be done. Women need to know what men know.

A good way to find a professional financial planner who will teach you, not just “take care of it”, is to ask women for references. Women in business or friends who have their own accounts can give you some tips and a few names. In your initial conversation, stress that you want to learn the basics.

Websites are also excellent resources. Business sites, money blogs and Baby Boomer newsletters have current articles concerning the cost of living and your piggy bank.

Learning and Earning

Here’s the good news. There are many ways to increase your monthly income. The days when retirement meant NO MORE WORKING are over. Seventy-two percent of older people intend to work during retirement. Quit one job – start another. Often, that second job is already in place when the retiree actually quits.

Turning a hobby or craft skill into a business is a top choice for many seniors. Anything you make by hand can be sold on a website. Computer skills not so great? Youtube is the biggest and most versatile classroom around. There are literally thousands of videos, easy to follow, that will teach you enough to get started. Local colleges, organizations and businesses teach skills for computers, phones and ipads.

Skills you used on the job for many years may be converted into a teaching or coaching career. Pass along what you know to others, online or in a classroom situation. Libraries, community centers and local colleges are great places to look for opportunities to put together a learning experience. Usually, there are categories, from baking cupcakes to painting to carpentry. Choose the number of classes it will require for completion, what to charge and sign on.

There are franchises just for seniors to help other seniors. They are usually affordable to buy into, and the parent company is hands-on for long-term help. These may include moving advice, home health assistants (not medical), or businesses offering a variety of services. If you have some skills and/or an interest in learning, you can design your own business venue. Online or in person, just use your imagination. Pet walking/sitting, house cleaning, running errands or shopping may be exactly what you want.

Stress and anxiety

People who have had a regular paycheck their whole lives can find it extremely difficult to worry about money matters. Many individuals and couples do considerable planning before retiring, making sure they have all the bases covered. Despite that fact, things can go wrong. The economy can take a huge dip, health issues may arise, or family situations may throw a monkey wrench into the best of plans.

Losing sleep, getting headaches or ulcers or becoming depressed is not uncommon. Sometimes a little tweaking isn’t enough. It may be time to call in the professionals. Financial planners, counselors or legal advice may be necessary. Ask for help when you need it. There are pro bono people who can give you good advice. Professionals can also throw you a lifeline, and start you on the road to recovery. There are millions of older citizens today who are struggling to carve out a lifestyle that delivers enjoyment.

Resources at hand

Organizations you may already belong to are often packed with fun and affordable things to do. Take a look at the fine print or the offerings on their websites to see what’s going on. Travel, hobby/interest groups, sports, leisure and day trips abound. Get involved, get acquainted and get going. Socializing is a key component to your new life.

Seniors are living longer and healthier lives. It’s not just golfing and grandchildren anymore. Many people become expats and live abroad at least half of every year. Paris anyone? Today, you can live without a car (I did for 2 years), and get your walking quota in with no problem. Shopping online is becoming the norm, and a bicycle is considered a necessity for many folks.

Hey, this is something we look forward to for years. Embrace change and live your best life.

 

 

 

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