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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Self-Compassion: Being Kind to Ourselves

Conscious aging offers us seniors the opportunity to look at all our relationships and to heal, forgive, and extend compassion to others and ourselves. In fact, recent research strongly suggests that if we give ourselves a break and accept our imperfections, it may help us to be healthier. Several studies have shown that people who score high on tests of self-compassion tend to be happier and more optimistic.

But, let’s be clear about one thing: self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence; it is not a matter of lowering one’s standards.

Jean Fain, a psychologist and teaching associate at Harvard Medical School, states, “Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet. Most plans revolve around self-discipline, deprivation, and neglect, while the best proven weight-loss methods are self-love, mindfulness, and group support.” Dr. Fain suggests that people begin their diets by loving who they are because self-compassion is a more effective motivator than self-criticism.

Another pioneer in the study of willpower and self-discipline, Kristin Neff, is an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Neff agrees with Dr. Fain. In her own research she has found, “The biggest reason people aren’t kinder to themselves is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent; they think that self-criticism keeps them in line. They have gotten it wrong because our culture says that being hard on yourself is the way to be.”

Both doctors believe that as we age, we can live more deeply through self-compassion and grow wiser in doing so.

You may want to read Jean Fain’s book, The Self-Compassion Diet or Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind.

~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.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Meet CSA Spotlight, Judy Rough

Judy Rough, CSA
480-200-3415 -

Owner and founder of Carefree Transitions, LLC

Owner, founder and creator of Papervana, LLC

I can honestly say that when I was young, I was not fond of “old people”. I only had my Italian maternal grandmother in my life and the words of wisdom I walked away with from Nana were, “Don’t give your mother any trouble!”. I even played sick when my Girl Scout troop was to sing Christmas carols at a nursing home. Old people scared me, made me feel uncomfortable and I assumed they smelled. I actually carried these stereotypes for years, even when So how in the world did I end up in businesses that serve seniors and love it? Well, first I grew up and before I knew it my parents were senior citizens and I had no fear of their generation. Nursing homes became Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Care, Memory Care and Hospice and consumers were more demanding about how older adults were going to spend their retirement years. I changed and society changed.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and fought my way to become a survivor. I decided that I was no longer going to let fear stop me from living my dream of owning my own business. After working with my sister to relocate my parents in 2005 from their NJ home of 43 years to a CCRC near the Jersey shore, it was my mother who suggested I should start a highly detailed and all inclusive business that helped relocate seniors. Carefree Transitions was open for business in the Phoenix metro area in 2006 and we have been helping seniors with their transitions ever since. Our industry called Senior Move Management (SMM) is an extraordinary one, but unfortunately one that is not yet widely recognized in the US. I have actually used Senior Move Managers on two of my personal moves and will never move without one again. Everything is unpacked, cleaned, organized and put away in one day with every moving box and piece of packing paper removed. Then you are ready to engage in life in your new home and community immediately with no stress trying to find your important belongings. This is a service everyone who is moving should have, but especially our seniors.

To read more of Judy's story, click here.

Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Senior Dating: Helen Fisher

Navigating the dating waters can be challenging on many levels.

Helen E. Fisher, biological anthropologist and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the anthropology department of Rutgers University, understands this and offers her insight into the process of dating for those who are ready to undertake the finding of a mate.

She notes that in the past 50 years, dating and marriage have changed more than in the past 5,000 years. This is largely due to the entry of women into the work force. Fisher notes, “Women are expressing their natural sexuality, experimenting with love and sex before marriage, living with their partners, marrying later, divorcing, and remarrying…in a sense we have returned to a social life style similar to the hunting and gathering societies, before people settled down on the farm and marriage codes got more rigid.”

Believing that people of any age can feel intense romantic love, she has studied the romantic element in some 800 men and women of American and Japanese decent. Fisher has concluded that we can fall in love at every age—even in our 90’s. This calls to mind every sweet story we’ve ever heard about octogenarians and nonagenarians who have found each other and moved in together or married--sweet, hopeful, life-affirming tales.

According to this expert, senior dating is a lot like junior dating—full of excitement; anguish; at times euphoria, when things go well; and despair when they don’t.

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer living in Nesconset, New York. She welcomes your thoughts.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Adventure After 50

As French author Andre Gide once said, “It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves—in finding themselves.”

Baby boomers are by far the largest demographic of American society today. Their influence shows no sign of waning as they enter their senior years. This group is healthier, more youthful, more vigorous, and more involved than past generations have been. Both boomers, and many of their parents, are living longer than any other group, and are often willing to take tremendous risks in order to realize their dreams. No other generation has ever been this audacious.

These older citizens are living their lives with passion, understanding that aging does not mean slowing down. It also does not signify a quiet retirement in a hushed, lazy suburban town. Boomers, along with their older brothers and sisters, often enjoy exciting experiences and venues involving music, art, and sports—to name just a few. They love to learn new things all the time, and make their own rules, knowing very well that the current chapter of their lives may prove to be the most remarkable period of opportunity and exploration yet.

The capacity for growth and exhilaration on the part of this generation’s seniors can be described as “voracious.” Some continue to work; many have embarked on a second career or are becoming entrepreneurs. Millions travel all over the world to places they never thought they would ever want to see; many do volunteer work, or are concentrating on some unique endeavor, like writing the next great American novel. Some have taken up sky diving, or the ukulele. To be sure, these boomers and their parents are pursuing their bliss in one of myriad ordinary and extraordinary avenues: the concepts of venture, peril, chance, fortune, and luck are all applicable here.

The common thread, however, is the examination of traditional views and cultural issues on the part of these seniors. They question everything, and they love to learn--two of their most defining and outstanding characteristics, in fact. This group is largely composed of avid readers with open minds, savvy enough to know that there are many ways of becoming more knowledgeable about the world, aside from taking classes, which they continue to do. They are willing to alter their lives when they view it as necessary for their well-being and prosperity. The world is their oyster.

Many seniors are pursuing goals that are much different from the ones they sought in their younger years. At this point, some seek adventure in the form of personal fulfillment, realizing that it is finally time “to decide what I really want to do when I grow up.” And in coming to this realization, many have a desire to publically demonstrate a true understanding of community. Many are fortunate to have developed a positive worldview enabling them to enrich their lives through generosity and maturity.

This worldview would serve us all well.

~Laraine Jablon

Excerpt from her CSA Journal article, Don’t Stop Now: Adventure After 50, September 2009.)

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer living in Nesconset, New York. She welcomes your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Helping a Grieving Client

It’s very difficult to help another person grieve unless you’ve been invited into the process. Until that invitation presents itself, you may feel helpless and there is little you can do to comfort your grieving companion or client. This feeling is natural and one that should not be dismissed. However, you can provide support by making yourself available. You can offer to help with practical things such as accompanying the person when making funeral arrangements and being available 24/7.

It’s important to be a good listener. Encourage your client to talk about their emotions and vent their frustrations. Take interest in the stories about his/her loved one’s life and death. One suggestion – don’t offer advice unless you have been asked to provide it, and encourage your client to re-engage in their social activities, hobbies and interests.

Few people can cope with the pain of losing a loved one on their own. They need to talk about their loss and share their pain. This is a normal part of the healing process. However, if your client’s reactions are extreme, suggest professional help and assist them in taking this step.

Janice recently lost her husband Herb. He had not been well for the last 6 months and though the doctors were optimistic of Herb’s recovery, Janice thought the worst. When Herb eventually died, Janice’s immediate reaction was denial. Herb was always there and he will return. Janice then became angry not only at Herb for leaving her alone in retirement but also angry with herself for being reliant on him. He paid the bills, did the banking, dealt with their financial advisor, all the things Janice now has to do.

As part of Janice’s grieving, she began thinking Herb would have lived longer if she only had made him see his doctor when he started to complain about his ailments. She also thought Herb would have survived longer if she was a ‘better wife’. As weeks passed, Janice became resigned to Herb’s passing and she began to pick up the pieces. Janice began paying the bills, closed out Herb’s bank account, contacted a widow’s support group and met with her religious leader about volunteering. Janice was moving on.

Throughout her grieving, Janice’s friends and financial advisor were with her every step of the way. Though it was a little awkward at first for the advisor as most dealing were with Herb, the initial discomfort disappeared when Julia, the advisor, called Janice when learning of Herb’s death. Julia followed up by dropped over with flowers and a card. Along with Janice’s friends, Janice and Julia shared frequent phone calls, met for lunch or just sat to talk. Janice now considers her advisor, Julia, a friend and someone who acted as an anchor as Janice navigated through the stormy seas of grief.

There is the Golden Rule we all grew up with: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ As a financial advisor, you have a unique opportunity to help clients with many of their life’s occurrences. In return, clients reward us by not only recognizing our caring but by referring our services to family, friends and acquaintances.


Richard (Rick) Atkinson, Founder and President of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is also author of the best-selling book, Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It! Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. Rick now offers ‘Women’s
Only’ retirement planning workshops. To contact Rick, call 416-282-7320 or Twitter: @dontjustretire.

Friday, March 2, 2012

82-year-old Grandmother Catches Medicare Fraud on Tape

ABC News goes undercover sending an 82-year-old grandmother, in perfect health, to the doctor. What they discover will blow your mind. Check out this video provided via ABC News...

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