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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baby Boomers: Fascinating Facts

So, you think you know the boomers…

Whether you are a boomer or one’s parent, you may find Dr. Mary Furlong’s book Turning Silver into Gold an interesting read. Furlong is an academic entrepreneurial marketer and author. Most important, she is an expert on the boomer demographic.

For example, did you know:

  • The average adult American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and wears a size 14 dress.
  • 1 in 4 boomers in the United States owns a second home. The typical vacation home buyer is 52 years old, earning an average of $82,800. The largest concentration of these vacation homes is in the Midwest.
  • Boomers are the first generation in American history in which the majority of them have achieved at least some form of higher education.
  • For the boomers, health care is shifting from a medical topic to a blend of entertainment, fitness, beauty, and spiritual well-being.
  • Gardening is the most popular hobby of adults over 50.
  • Boomers make up 60% of all the divorced people over the age of 50 in this country.

Furlong’s book offers more surprising and entertaining statistics, along with the back story of the boomers. She is crystal clear about the fact that this generation has had a tremendous amount of influence on all aspects of the United States. Moreover, the boomers have changed the world forever. That’s impressive.

Yours in the name of boomer solidarity,

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a freelance writer specializing in social and health concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Information for Life

When you most need vital information from a senior is when they are least able to give it, but a new, specially designed product from SCSA can change that.

The Information for Life kit is a tool that allows seniors to put together a comprehensive compilation of their personal, legal, medical and financial information. This provides the critical information needed to make decisions for seniors and handle their affairs when they are no longer able to do so for themselves.

The kit provides documents where you can compile information on topics such as:

  • Who to call in an emergency and next-of-kin contact information
  • Household information such as where your extra house keys or if you have a pet that needs to be cared for
  • Whether you have an advance directive or living will that makes your medical wishes known and where it can be found
  • Medical information such as medications and health insurance
  • An overview of pertinent financial documents and their location
  • And much, much more

It takes only once for those who care for seniors to know what they don’t know. It takes the Information for Life Kit to provide the answers.

Click here to access and download the available IFL forms!

Blog posting provided by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Healing Tips for the Cancer Patient; Estate Planning Made Easy; Betty White Proves that Being 'Hot' Never Ends!

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors has released February's Senior Spirit e-Newsletter.

Senior Spirit
features the latest news on important issues facing seniors, their families and the people who work with them. Each issue contains comprehensive articles on medical news, financial topics and lifestyle trends as well as how these issues impact you, your business and your senior clients - all straight from the experts.

The topics contained within the February issue include:

Download Senior Spirit Now!

Interested in having the Senior Spirit e-Newsletter sent right to your inbox, every month? Sign-up today!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thinking Green

This is not about politics. It is about courtesy and consideration—or simply, acting like an adult.

The media would have us think that going green is about changing light bulbs, driving a Toyota Prius, or shutting down a major power station. Not that these aren’t valid green considerations that may benefit our lives, but first and foremost, thinking green is about noticing and acknowledging that there is someone else in the room.

The conservative senior, Roger Scuton is a prominent writer, professor, and philosopher. His new book is entitled Green Philosophy which posits that the problem with our environment is the direct result of “the loss of equilibrium that ensues when people cease to understand their surroundings as a home.” He believes that we should remember the lessons we taught our small children when we wanted them to learn to fit into the world and become productive, considerate people who would be welcome everywhere. In our homes, we understood the value of being polite, well-mannered, thoughtful, and generous of spirit.

Now, as older Americans we must set the example. If we make a mess, we clean it up; if we break something, we fix it. These rules have always made good sense. They are simple. Basic. And they still hold true.

It can be argued that this view is naïve, that the real world does not support this kind of reasoning. But thinking green really boils down to realizing that we are not the only people in the room.

~Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer specializing in social and health concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good News. Really.

In these bleak times, it is only fair to share some good news that is available--especially when it has to do with the topic of aging. There is so much concern and interest in this subject matter on the part of boomers and their parents. And, actually, there is much positive information to impart.

America is aging at an unprecedented rate. The number of seniors over the age of 65 is increasing dramatically…daily. Because of this, the aging process has become a major focus of researchers who are busy collecting data and uncovering some fascinating realities about this group. Never before, in our nation’s history, have so many people lived into the later stages of their lives and remained so healthy and industrious.

Most seniors live independently, maintaining close relationships with their families and friends. Also, it has been noted that most people’s personalities remain relatively consistent and stable throughout their lives. And, for most seniors who experience a decline in some of their intellectual ability, this decline is not severe enough to impair their daily lives. They adjust.

Concerning demographic and social issues of the older set:

  • Life expectancy for women is now 80; for men it is 73.
  • Our current population of older Americans is increasingly more educated than in past years. While 34% of those over 65 graduated from high school, that figure will rise to 83% by 2030.
  • 64% of seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 are married and living with their spouses. Of those over 85, 24% are married and living with their spouses; 48% of them are living alone. One half of the women over 65 are widowed.
  • Religious affiliation is the most common form of organizational participation among older adults. 50% report that they attend services on a weekly basis.
  • Two-thirds of older Americans claim to have voted in recent elections, as compared with only 50% of younger adults.

All too often we are bombarded with negative myths about getting older; these confuse, distress, and frighten us. It is imperative that we know the truth about the process of aging; clarity and precision matter here, and they will serve us well so that society, and individual families, can best deal with and prepare to assist the older population.

Moreover, it is also important to remember that depression and social isolation are not a normal part of aging. According to the latest statistics, today’s seniors adjust successfully to the various challenges inherent in growing older. After all, they have had decades of trials and tribulations. They have a lot of experience in terms of problem-solving and negotiation; they are used to flexing and adapting.

Most seniors are quite satisfied with their lives; they live happily and productively. This is the norm for today’s older adults.

I told you there was good news.

For more information about this research you may contact The American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C. They can be reached at or (202) 336-6123.

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a freelance writer specializing in social, health, and spiritual concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cheap Fun in Retirement!

For hundreds of years, people have said that laughter is the best medicine. Laughing and having fun helps us relax. When we laugh our body produces endorphins that help cellular development and produces a feeling of wellbeing. This is not a new idea but rather one that has been pushed by the wayside in our ever-busy world. People don’t allocate enough time for fun and relaxation and for some, have even forgotten how.

How many of your clients are retired and not having fun? It is important for all of your senior clients to revisit how to have fun and you can help by suggesting ways to bring more ‘whimsy’ into their lives. Obviously your clients can go out and buy entertainment and a good time but here are some easy, very affordable ways to have some fun in everyday life:

    A. Take a trip to a toy store. Visit a toy store for the sole purpose of trying out the toys. Your clients will be surprised at the amount of fun they will have and the number of memories that spark from the visit.

    B. Play childhood games. Suggest to a client, with a partner, brainstorm what you played as children – this will help recall the games of youth. Then teach grandchildren how to play the games we grew up with – “I Spy”, “Ring-around-the-Rosie”, “Battleship”, “Find me!”

    C. Create a laugh-a-day challenge. Another suggested fun exercise. Challenge a partner to a laugh-a-day contest. The object is for each to come up with the best laugh of the day. They may use any materials they wish – newspapers, comics, cartoons, on-line jokes, skits, etc. Declare a winner at the end of the day and have a prize that can be battled for again and again.

    D. Go on a photo safari.
    Take a camera and try to obtain the most unusual photo within the house or neighborhood.

    E. Plan a surprise picnic. Prepare a surprise picnic lunch for a partner together with a blanket laid out in the back yard or on the living room floor. Ready a bottle of their favorite wine and when the partner arrives home, lead her into the yard or living room and have a delightful lunch.

    F. Organize a paper airplane flying contest. With the neighborhood children or grandchildren or both, teach them how to make paper airplanes and then have a contest on whose airplane will fly the farthest.

    G. Transform a room. Another fun thing to do with children is to transform the dining room into a fort by draping sheets over the table. Then pile cushions under and around the table and everyone be in the fort having a wonderfully imaginative time.

    H. Distribute stuffed animals. Buy several stuffed animals and distribute them at a local seniors’ home. When distributing the toys, take time to talk to the seniors. Find out something interesting about each person.

    I. Give anonymous and unexpected appreciation. The next time when in a supermarket, gas station or restaurant, give a sincere thank you to the clerk or server for doing a great job and then watch his or her facial expression. Call your doctor’s office to learn his birthday and send a card of appreciation.

    J. Give a partner a day off. One day every few weeks, tell a partner she has the day off to do whatever she wishes and that the cleaning, gardening, or whatever will be done. Have a delicious dinner prepared when she returns.

    K. Field trips. Take a trip to a local winery, brewpub, museum, art gallery, or antique shop. Make a day of it with lunch, a walking tour of the area and a leisurely time on a park bench.

    L. Volunteer for the next Santa Claus parade. Contact the local organizer of the Santa Claus parade or any other parade of choice, and volunteer to be a character within it. If necessary, plan and prepare the costumes.

The above are only a handful of ways your clients can have fun without having to spend a lot of money. Encourage them to let their imagination go wild. What would be fun to do? Encourage your clients to create a list. If they get stuck coming up with ideas, suggest fun ideas that have worked for you and others.

Remember to regularly ask clients what they are doing to have fun in their retirement. You may be surprised at what you hear. Pass on to other senior clients the great ideas shared with you - this way everyone wins!


Richard (Rick) Atkinson
, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is author of the best-selling book, Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. He is available for speaking engagements. Twitter: @dontjustretire.

Monday, February 6, 2012

“If You Want to Live a Long Time, Love and Be Loved”

When Leo Abse was 91 years old, he was interviewed by Maureen Cleave, a mere 73. Now deceased, Abse was a Welch lawyer, politician, and gay rights campaigner. For over 30 years he was a Labor Member of Parliament, seeking to liberalize divorce laws and promote private members’ bills.

At 83, he married for the second time, after Marjorie, his first beloved wife, died. His new mate was a gentle woman named Ania Czepulkowska from Poland. She was 50 years his junior, working on her Master’s when the two met over his garden fence.

Looking back on his long life, he saw nothing but good. Born in a benign climate of non-conformity in Wales, he did not attend a university. He felt that it was an advantage not to have been groomed to conform through the educational system. Also, he believed strongly in God and held that God would look after everyone who helped himself. “The art of staying alive is never to repeat yourself. Stay stretched,” he said.

For decades, Abse was writing at his desk at 10:30 every morning. His life experience taught him, “You can continue living productively if you follow the rule of the Roman stoics—carpe diem. Don’t live expectantly, live for the day. Also, if you want to live a long time, love and be loved. I married two women who loved me.”

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer specializing in social, health, and spiritual concerns of seniors. She resides in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Exploritas: From Alaska to Zimbabwe

It’s time to see the world.

Whether your dream is to canoe the Cache River Wetlands in Illinois, or explore Mahabalipuram and the sandstone temples that arose in south India more than a thousand years ago, the Exploritas program can help you to realize that dream.

Formerly called Elderhostel, Exploritas is a not-for-profit group travel program that combines exceptional educational and hostelling opportunities for adults over 55 and their guests. The program is based on the belief that retirement is still an active and exciting time in one’s life, and that learning is an integral part of a healthy, fulfilling existence. Exploritas has two special features: it provides safe, stimulating, learning environments at good value.

This was the nation’s first—and the world’s largest—educational travel organization founded for older adults. Exploritas pledges to provide its participants with instruction by knowledgeable, professional group leaders; talks presented by experts in their fields; in-depth field trips; and the combination of travel and adventure. Since its creation by Marty Knowlton in 1975, more than four million adults have taken part in its various programs.

Thirty-four years and approximately 8,000 programs later, Exploritas continues to squire intrepid travelers throughout North America and to more than 90 countries across the world. Currently, the program is composed of a network of more than 1,800 colleges, universities, environmental education schools, museums, state and national parks, along with other academic and cultural institutions.

All Exploritas programs include accommodations, lectures, activities, gratuities, travel insurance, and most meals. Each program has its own distinct aspects: some are geared toward outdoor experience; some pertain to individual skills; a specific location; a topic of interest, such as culture, food, or wine. There are literally hundreds of choices.

Some programs are more traditional, while others, such as Adventures Afloat, involve traveling off the beaten path to some of the most remote and exquisite locations in the world. What better way to discover diverse histories, cultures, and natural environments than from the deck of a floating classroom?

Another program that Exploritas offers is called Outdoor adventures, one of the more active choices. It includes bicycling, hiking, bird-watching, and water sports such as kayaking, rafting, and canoeing. Local experts share in-depth information while venturing with travelers into some of the Earth’s most fascinating environments. Participants get to experience the wonders of the natural world by exercising their bodies and their minds at the same time.

A unique facet of this program is the intergenerational component. This is a major draw for many because it offers grandparents, their children, and grandchildren the opportunity to investigate mutual interests, such as geology, dinosaurs, outer space, genealogy--you name it. Exploritas provides the learning experiences that bridge the generations.

This travel program is a celebration of the curiosity, enthusiasm, and passion of senior adults from all walks of life. Its travelers are open to fresh ideas, broadening experiences, and making new friends. They are well-educated: almost half have four-year college degrees; 20 percent have earned advanced degrees. But the defining characteristic of them all is that they love to learn new things: Exploritas vacationers enjoy exploring the world.

Additional information is available at or

Enjoy your travels,
Laraine Jablon

(Excerpt from her CSA Journal article, Elderhostel: From Alaska to Zimbabwe, September 2009.)

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer specializing in social, health, and spiritual concerns of seniors. She lives in Nesconset, New York, and welcomes your thoughts.