Friday, May 11, 2012
“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” –William Congreve We seniors routinely enjoy the numerous positive effects of music--it enchants, distracts, improves our moods, and helps to relieve our stress. This is true, not just of soothing music; upbeat dance music has the same effect of decreasing the stress hormone cortisol, along with increasing the level of antibodies. Dr. Ronny Enk, who recently lead a study concerning music’s effect on the immune system says, “We think that the pleasant state that can be induced by music leads to special physiological changes which eventually lead to stress reduction or direct immune enhancement.” He is referring to the theory that music is represented in multiple parts of the brain, and accesses deeper pathways between neurons. It appears to enable stroke victims to connect their stored knowledge of words through songs, helping them to create the new connections needed for speech. Music has also been shown to help Alzheimer’s patients recall memories, and even restore cognitive function. It works the same way in all of us: when we listen to music we know, it stimulates the hippocampus which handles long-term storage in the brain. This can remind us of relevant memories we made while listening to a particular song. Remarkable. Let the beat go on… 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. Lhjablon@gmail.com
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 80% of seniors between the ages of 65 and 84 report having sleep problems. So the question is, what can all these people do in order to get their sleep? The foundation offers some ideas to consider:
- Avoid stimulants, such as coffee, tea, or chocolate—anything with caffeine in it—at least 3 or 4 hours before you go to bed.
- Exercise in the morning or afternoon, but not in the evening.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Use the bed for sleeping and/or sexual activity.
- Avoid the use of alcohol later in the evening; it can increase awakenings later in the night.
- Try taking short naps, but keep in mind that sleeping in the daytime will affect your sleep at night. You may find that a 30-minute nap can decrease your nighttime sleep, or you may sleep for a shorter time.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
At retirement, one relationship that often changes is with your spouse or partner. In the early and middle years of a marriage, couples normally don’t spend a lot of time together. As partners, they are busy making a living, raising a family and fixing up a home. In a recent survey, it was found the average married couple spends only three or four hours a week together without the children, and that may be collapsing on the couch and watching TV. Due to today’s hectic pace, each partner tends to develop his/her own schedule and routine around their work, family and home demands. Then retirement comes and it’s a time to relax and enjoy, which includes spending quality time with a partner. It’s supposed to be the time when we enrich our relationship; when we do things and go places together. However, a relationship filled with good times is not something that just happens. Like all other aspects of retirement, it requires planning and effort. As part of your client’s plan, it’s important to recognize that partners have built up their own space and privacy needs. Each needs time to pursue his/her own interests, hobbies, tasks or just ‘chill out alone’. One train of thought is if a client were apart from their partner eight hours a day during the working days, your client and his/her partner should plan to be apart approximately four hours a day in retirement. This enables each partner to have his/her own time and space. Encourage your client to talk with his/her partner about their individual needs and agree on how those needs can be successfully fulfilled. Frank and Amber agreed that when Frank retired he would participate in activities outside the home three mornings a week. They also agreed while Amber had the house to herself, she would indulge in her hobby – pottery. The couple agreed that twice a week, they would walk to their favourite pastry shop for coffee and once a week have a ‘date night’. This arrangement has worked out well and Frank and Amber have recommended their ‘time and space’ plan to other retired couples. As part of relationship planning, it’s important to identify to each other what retirement means in terms of roles and responsibilities. By doing this, your client creates a mini job description; it can outline dates, duties, responsibilities and authorities. Before Dick and Anastasia began their retired life, they discussed who would be responsible for what in retirement. It was mutually decided that Dick would do the grocery shopping, snow shovelling and raking. He would make the bed each morning, prepare for dinner and several other domestic chores. As part of the division of duties, Anastasia would do the cleaning and vacuuming, washing and drying of clothes, folding and ironing. They agreed that household decorating would be done together. This sharing of responsibilities assisted Dick and Anastasia build a harmonious working relationship without one partner feeling he or she is doing the lion’s share of the work. Though it is easy to take each other for granted, the preparation for retirement provides your client and his/her spouse an opportunity to assess and enhance their relationship. Being thoughtful, expressing appreciation, having a sense of fun and adventure, these are traits among others that add to the quality of a relationship and the satisfaction level between partners. As part of your client’s spousal retirement planning, encourage him or her to do little things that add spice to the relationship – such things as buying flowers, sports equipment or treating their partner to lunch. Saying ‘thank you’ goes a long way to recognize what a partner does. Spending quality time together and sharing fun activities adds to any relationship. Relationships are like a garden. They require regular care and feeding if they are to grow and become fruitful. ------- Richard (Rick) Atkinson, founder and president of RA Retirement Advisors, is an expert in pre-retirement planning. He is the author of Don’t Just Retire – Live It, Love It!. Rick facilitates workshops for clients of advisors and others. He is available for speaking engagements. www.dontjustretire.com Twitter: @dontjustretire.