Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Financial Planning BEFORE Buying a Retirement Home


 Most people look forward to the day they can retire and move to their dream location.  The problem is that the perfect place for retirement means different things to different people.  Do you want to stay in your current community and, perhaps, just downsize to a smaller home or a condo?  Do you want to move to a new community where you have always dreamed of living ... a small village, a beach town, or into the heart of a big city?  What about living in an active adult over-55 community?  Or, if you have chronic or serious health problems, you might want to consider moving to a CCRC, which is a Continuous Care Retirement Community. In a CCRC you begin by living in an independent living cottage or apartment, but are assured that you will be cared for if you later develop debilitating physical or mental problems.

There are so many good choices for retirement, how do you decide which is the right choice for you?

Visit as Many Communities as Possible

Even if you think you want to stay in your current area, try visiting a variety of housing choices in your community.  Go look at a local active adult over-55 retirement community, a CCRC, and a few smaller homes or condominium complexes.  See if one of them seems like a good location for you to spend the rest of your life.  If you aren't satisfied with what you find, broaden your choices.

If you are thinking about moving to another city, visit it whenever you can, years before you actually retire there.  Become familiar with the housing choices, the local businesses, and the types of activities you plan to enjoy after retirement.  You might even subscribe to the local newspaper online or see if there is a community newsletter.  Get a feeling for the types of homes available and how much they cost.

The more you know about your choices, the more likely you are to choose a home which will please you and meet your future needs.

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Check Out the Important Stuff

No matter how much you think you would love a community, make sure you ask all the important questions.  You need to know how much you would pay in property taxes, homeowner's or condominium association dues, and property insurance. What about public transportation if you become unable to drive? If you are moving to a different part of the country, ask about things like utility bills.  A home in the desert may seem affordable, but how much will you pay in utility bills?  Are solar panels an option?

You also need to find out what services are available in the community and where they are located.  Remember that, as you age, you will not be young and healthy forever.  How far away is the closest hospital?  How many doctors are in the area?  What type of medical insurance will they accept?  

If you are planning to work part-time after you retire, check out the availability of jobs in the area.  You do not want to move to a remote community, far from hospitals and businesses, which would require you to drive long distances in the future.   

While you are at it, learn as much as you can about retirement planning so you know you can afford to live in your preferred community.  You can find a good resource here:  "How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?"(Ad)

Put Together a Budget

Before finalizing your plans, you need to work out a realistic budget based on the income that you know you can rely on in retirement.  How much Social Security will you receive?  What about a pension?  Will you have a fixed income from an annuity or investments in your retirement savings account?  

Although it might be nice to have a little additional income from a part-time job for a few years after you retire, you cannot count on having that income for the rest of your life.  Plan a budget that you can maintain even without the part-time job.  Then, you can use any extra money you earn for some of the things you would like to do in the early years of your retirement, like traveling, or buying a boat or RV.  The extra money could also help you avoid spending down your retirement savings in the first few years after you quit your full-time job, so you have more money to support yourself later.

If you are part of a couple, make sure you also put together a budget based on the income you would have if either one of you dies.  I have known people who could barely pay for food and medical expenses when they no longer had the Social Security income from a spouse to help cover all their bills. Many people forget that when you lose your spouse your income will drop, but your house payments, utility bills, car payment, debts and some other expenses will not be cut in half.  Set up a budget with enough room in it that you are not financially devastated if you lose your spouse.

Don't Forget the Cost of Moving Somewhere New!

If you are moving to a new place, you need to be realistic about how much you will spend in closing costs on a new home, any changes you might want to make to the house, appliances you may need to purchase, and the cost of moving.

Depending on how far away your new home might be, a mover can be quite expensive.  You should get a quote on what it would cost to move everything in your home, or just the items which are most important to you.

Personally, I have known a few cases where people have decided to sell their furniture rather than move it, and then they replaced the furniture when they got to their new location.  One couple I know packed up their two cars with all the personal possessions they could carry in their vehicles.   They also mailed a few boxes of belongings to a friend in their new community.  Then, they drove across country to their new home and purchased everything they had not been able to fit into their cars or the mailed boxes.  They were able to bring with them their clothing, books, photos, artwork, computers, important papers and even a few lamps, small tables and knick-knacks.  They saved thousands of dollars in moving costs, and used the savings to buy new furniture when they moved into their retirement home.  

That may not be the right choice for everyone, especially if you have some large family heirlooms you want to keep.  However, it was a smart idea for them and is something everyone should consider as a possibility.

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Talk to Your Financial Advisor

Everyone should discuss their options with a financial advisor before they retire.  There may be surprises you are not expecting.  For example, you need to know how much you will be paying in Medicare premiums and any Medicare supplement you purchase.  Will these bills cost more or less than your current medical insurance premiums?  What about your co-pays and deductibles under your new Medicare plan?  You should set aside some money every year to cover these.  You may also want to consider getting a Medicare Advantage plan which, in most cases, is less expensive than paying for original Medicare, plus a supplement, plus a drug plan and any other supplements you may want, such as a dental or vision plan.  Medicare Advantage plans often cover all these extras with much lower premiums.  However, the downside of these plans is that your are limited in which doctors you may use, and you generally need a referral from your primary care doctor before you can go to a specialist.  

You want to make sure you have considered all the possible expenses you could have.  If you are unsure what you need to do to build a lifetime retirement income, you will find a good resource here: "Don't Go Broke in Retirement." (Ad) The book will be helpful in making sure you are well-prepared for this new phase of your life. 

You also need to know about the Required Minimum Distributions from your IRA, once you reach age 72.  How much money will you be required to take out of that account each year?  Are you going to plan to use the money from those required withdrawals for living expenses, or put it aside in a savings account for an emergency? You are required to withdraw it from your IRA, but you are not required to spend it immediately.  As you remove money from your IRA, you should try not to take more than required. If you do, what effect will that have on any interest and dividends accumulating in the IRA?  You want to feel assured that your money is likely to last the rest of your life, especially if you need it to support your monthly expenses.

A financial advisor should be able to either put your mind at ease about the future, or help you know if you need to make revisions to your future plans.  Either way, you want to be able to choose your future retirement home with the confidence that you have done everything possible to make the necessary financial preparations to have a comfortable retirement.



Find gifts at DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

One option many people are discovering to earn extra money in retirement is to open a small home business.  They might do tutoring, give piano lessons, become a tax preparer, or almost anything that appeals to them.  Some people, like me, are opening small home businesses such as my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts:  https://DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

Whatever you decide to do to supplement your retirement income, it is important to realize that Social Security rarely provides all the income you will need in retirement.  You need to plan well in advance how you will support yourself.


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Morguefile, Amazon book covers and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Budgeting for Senior Citizens - How To Stay on Top of Your Finances!


This month we are fortunate to have a guest post by Roni David with excellent suggestions on managing our money as we age.  It is very timely because just this week I was speaking to a friend who lost her husband a few months ago.  He had always handled their finances, and she told me she had no idea how to set up a budget so she could comfortably be assured that her money would last the rest of her life.  

I worked with my friend that afternoon to help her set up a budget and suggested she speak with a money manager to get more details about her IRA and other finances. The next day she told me she had already taken some actions to get her finances in order.  This woman is 80 years old, which proves that you are never too old to learn something new, including how to budget.

Below is the article by Roni Davis. Check it out and see if her post can help you do a better job of managing your own money and, hopefully, avoiding a late-in-life bankruptcy.  It is never too late!

How to Budget for Seniors


As a senior, you probably don’t have the influx of cash that you once had before retirement. Whether you are living off of savings or receiving payments in another form such as a pension or Social Security, you only have a certain amount of money to work with each month. Budgeting is a great way to keep track of your spending to ensure that you do not live outside of your means while enjoying retirement.

Why Should Seniors Budget?

Budgeting is important for anyone, but it can be especially important in retirement. Without a budget, you could lose track of your spending and exhaust a lot of what you have saved. In some cases, seniors can even go into debt because they have not budgeted their money properly. Here are the main reasons why budgeting is important for seniors.

Limited Income

Some people have the luxury of saving a lot throughout their life so that when they retire they have plenty to live off of. However, for some people, this is not an option and, in retirement, they have a small amount of money to work with. Many seniors live primarily on Social Security, which doesn’t pay very generously, forcing them to live on a very limited income.

This can be a huge transition from a lifestyle where you receive a paycheck each week and, if seniors do not budget properly, they may find themselves spending more than they have.

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Expenses Can Change

As with anyone, expenses change over time. Your housing payment may go up, or your bills can go down. The difference for seniors, however, is that the consequences of expenses changing for the worst can be much more serious. Most seniors do not have the ability to increase their income by changing jobs or picking up extra shifts. Budgeting is crucial to avoid this issue, so that if expenses do change there will be a sufficient amount saved.
 
Seniors Cannot Afford Debt

When you fall into debt early in life, it isn’t great, but you also have the means to pull yourself out of it. Additionally, when you are in debt in your 20s or 30s, you have years ahead of you to pay it off. On the other hand, seniors do not have this ability, and depending on the extent of their debt, they can take it to the end of their life. While you may be wondering why it would matter if they are not going to be made to pay it off, this can seriously affect any inheritance they want to leave behind. You certainly do not want to leave your grandchildren finances which are on the brink of bankruptcy

How to Budget as a Senior


If you are approaching retirement, or know a loved one who could use some budgeting tips, here are some easy ways to start:

Make A Monthly Expenses Worksheet

The first step to any budgeting plan is to figure out how much you spend each month. This is important because it tells you how much you are going to absolutely need for each month. This is also a good time to examine whether any of your spending needs to be cut back. For example, if you are paying to live in a senior living community, this could take up a large portion of your budget. In this case, you could look for a different, less expensive place to live.
 
Take a Look at Yearly Expenses

Not all of your expenses will be the same each month. Some of your utilities will cost more at certain times of the year, especially during the summer and winter months. During these times you will probably run your heat and air conditioning more often, which is going to drive up the cost. When you are creating your basic budget, you need to factor in these changes, especially if there is a large difference during certain months.
 
Choose Your Insurance Well

Insurance premiums can be paid on installment plans, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually. Therefore, depending on the cash flow that you have, spacing your payments out in a certain way might be better for you. This would give you the time you need to make sure you save enough over the course of several months to pay for it at each installment.

Paying for your insurance annually does require you to spend a lot of money at once, but generally this is the cheaper way to go. This includes premiums for car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and homeowners insurance.  Just make sure you are putting aside enough money monthly to make the payments when they come due.

Account for Leisure Expenses

When you create your budget you should include more than just your necessary expenses like housing, food, insurance, and more. You should also account for the things that you purchase as luxuries, including shopping for yourself and others, travel, and personal care. This is  a good area to cut back, if you find that your spending is exceeding a reasonable amount each month. 

If you plan to take cruses or expensive vacations, you should include these kinds of expenses in your budget and plan for them. Overall, the more you include in your budget, the more prepared you will be for the future.


About the Author:

Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.

* * * * * * * * *

One option many people are discovering, which could help their budget efforts, is to earn extra money in retirement by opening a small home business.  They might do tutoring, give piano lessons, become a tax preparer, or almost anything that appeals to them.  Some people, like the author of this blog, are opening small home businesses such as my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts, (Ad) where I sell hundreds of jewelry selections and other gift items.  

Buy at DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

Whatever you decide to do to supplement your retirement income, it is important to realize that Social Security rarely provides all the income you will need in retirement.  You need to plan well in advance how you will support yourself.


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Roni Davis, Amazon, Pixabay and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Surprising Heart Disease Symptoms You Might Not Recognize

Perhaps you get out of breath easily, and assume it is just because you are out-of-shape, or maybe you have leg pain and associate it with arthritis. You might experience some nausea or indigestion and blame it on something you ate, or a mild case of stomach flu. You probably believe that these discomforts have nothing to do with your heart health.  However, these are just a few of the surprising symptoms of heart disease which you may never have heard about, but they might mean you need to head to the emergency room or, at the very least, discuss these issues with your primary care doctor or a cardiologist.

Below are lists of both common and unusual heart disease and heart attack symptoms, as well as ways to reduce your heart attack risk.  They all are based on articles from AARP, as well as on WebMD and the Kaiser-Permanente website. Many of these symptoms are frequently mistaken for other health problems, such as arthritis or indigestion.  Women, in particular, may tend to dismiss their health symptoms as not being significant. However, it is important that everyone is familiar with all the unique signs that they may have heart disease or, worse, that they are on the verge of experiencing an immediate heart attack. 

In addition to what you learn later in this article, you may also want to get the book, "The Simple Heart Cure: The 90 Day Program to Stop and Reverse Heart Disease" (Ad) and try their recommended lifestyle changes, which can dramatically improve your heart heath. You could be surprised to discover that these changes not only help your heart, but also may relieve some of your other health conditions, too. For example, some of these changes might also reduce your diabetes risk, problems with osteoarthritis, and even lower your odds of developing certain types of cancer, especially the ones which are associated with diet and lifestyle issues. 

This book is partially based on research into several foreign cultures which have an exceptionally low risk of heart disease.  We can learn from them, regardless of where we live. People in some places around the world rarely get the diseases that many people in Western nations regularly die from.  With a few lifestyle changes, many of us will be able to avoid or reduce the symptoms mentioned below.

Common Symptoms of Heart Disease

Difficulty breathing, especially when lying flat on your back.  If you have fluid building up in your lungs, it may make it harder for you to breath when lying on your back. Other related problems can include sleep apnea and snoring.  

Hip and/or leg pain when walking can be a symptom of peripheral artery disease, which means you may have blockages in your leg arteries.  These blockages can cause pain which you may have thought was caused by arthritis.

Sexual or erectile dysfunction is frequently a blood-flow problem, indicating that your blood vessels are have difficulty expanding and contracting properly.  The blood flow issue is likely to also be affecting your heart, as well as your sex life, and this problem applies to both men and women who experience sexual dysfunction.

Unexplained fatigue could mean you have an obstructed coronary artery.  If you tire out easily after doing routine activities around your home, this could be a sign of decreased blood flow to the heart.

Waking up more than once a night in order to pee is another indication of heart disease. It is especially serious if you are also experiencing swollen ankles and legs, because that can mean that your heart is too weak to properly pump fluid to the kidneys during the day.

Bad breath and/or periodontal disease indicates that you have bacteria which can enter your bloodstream through bleeding and diseased gums.  This bacteria can cause inflammation, clogged arteries, and strokes.  Make sure you see your dentist regularly and follow their instructions, especially if you have other symptoms of heart disease.

You have fatty growths, usually near the ankles and elbows, known at xanthomas.  These are a symptom of high cholesterol, which can triple your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Swollen ankles and lower legs can mean that your leg veins are not able to return fluid to the heart.  If you have swelling in only one leg, it may be caused by a blood clot or infection.  If you have swollen feet or ankles, as well as some of the other symptoms listed above such as shortness of breath, you should contact your doctor immediately. 

Symptoms of an Imminent Heart Attack

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women. However, sometimes people describe it as pressure, heaviness or tightness in the chest.  

The chest pain can also radiate to the neck, jaw, back or arm, causing pain in those areas.

Nausea or stomach pain, water retention, and bloating can sometimes be heart attack symptoms, especially in women, particularly when combined with any of the types of pain mentioned above.  

Sudden shortness of breath, particularly when combined with the above symptoms, means you should call 911 or have someone immediately take you to the emergency room.  You should also be alarmed if you get short of breath while doing something ordinary, such as grocery shopping or making the bed.  This is especially true for women, who tend to wait longer before they seek care.

Unexplained sweating or breaking out into a cold sweat for no reason, especially when combined with other symptoms, is another reason to suspect you are having a heart attack.

Overwhelming fatigue, dizziness or feeling light-headed for no reason should also alarm you.  If you find it nearly impossible to complete your normal activities, see your doctor. If you also have other symptoms, suspect a heart attack as a possible cause and go to the emergency room. You could be having a "silent heart attack," or one which is not accompanied by chest pain.

How to Lower Your Heart Attack Risk

The best way to reduce your risk of a heart attack is to make lifestyle changes and work with your doctor to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.  You may also want to make the following changes:

Stop Smoking. Nothing more needs to be said about that. We all know that smoking is a killer!

Get regular, moderate exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.  This could include walking, swimming, housework, or gardening.


Change your diet and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Reduce red meat and whole fat dairy, as well as commercial baked goods, which may contain transfats.  If you are not sure how to use your diet to reduce your heart disease risk, another book to consider is: "The Heart Disease Prevention Cookbook:  125 Easy Mediterranean Diet Recipes for a Healthier You." (Ad)  It could change your life and reduce your risk of other illnesses, as well.

Finally, follow your doctor's orders about diet, exercise, taking baby aspirin, staying hydrated, or taking a statin to lower your cholesterol.  If they recommend other medications, such as a blood pressure medication, be sure to carefully follow the instructions.  If you need special medical procedures, or the doctor recommends getting a pacemaker or heart stent, take advantage of these life saving devices.  We are fortunate to live in a time when many heart issues, and other health problems, can be mitigated with lifestyle changes, medications, and medical devices. 


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If you know someone who has survived a heart attack, cancer or another serious health problem, you can order them one of these necklaces with "Survivor - Not a Victim" engraved on it, to support their recovery.

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Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about retirement, Medicare, Social Security, common medical issues as we age, financial planning, where to retire and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission to support this blog, at no extra cost to you.

You are reading from the blog:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credit: Getti Images, Amazon, and DeborahDianGifts on Etsy

Friday, October 14, 2022

Update on the 90+ Longevity Study by the University of California - Irvine

If you regularly watch the television show, "60 Minutes," you may have seen one of the stories they have shown about The 90+ Study, an ongoing project lead by Dr. Claudia Kawas, M.D., from the University of California in Irvine. The research was begun in 1981, long before Dr. Kawas was involved, but continues to be handled by her and other researchers at UCI.  Most of the people that were studied over the past 40+ years live in the retirement community of Laguna Woods Village, where the project is still going on today.  Such a long-term study has enabled them to get detailed information about the two separate issues of longevity and how to reduce your risk of dementia, since few people hope to live a long life while suffering from a disease like Alzheimer's. 

Recently, Dr. Claudia Kawas, the current lead researcher on the project, spoke at a Healthy Aging Forum in Laguna Woods Village to bring residents up-to-date on what the researchers have learned.  What she discovered has been fascinating.  As a resident of Laguna Woods, I attended this forum, took photos of her slides, and want to share a bit of her research with my readers.

Longevity Continues to Increase

According to Dr. Kawas, she estimates that one-half of all children born today in developed countries can expect to live to be 100 years old!  She acknowledged the fact that our nation's longevity has dipped the past couple of years because of Covid.  However, she believes that other medical advances will enable us to continue to expand our lifespans.


Who Did the UCI Researchers Study?

The study began in 1981 and between that year and 1985 they enrolled 13,978 senior citizens from the Laguna Woods Village Retirement Community, which was called Leisure World when they started.  Because of the makeup of the residents living in the community at the time, the people who enrolled in the program were primarily white, well-educated, had a median age of 73 at the time, and about two-thirds of them were women.

The researchers continued to follow up with the original enrollees in 1983, 1985, 1992, and 1998.  They have continued to enroll new subjects and study them since that time.  Dr. Kawas announced that 2022 is the last year she plans to enroll new subjects ... so she will eventually be able to retire!  Perhaps another researcher will pick up where she left off but, meanwhile, they have learned a lot about the two separate issues of longevity and dementia!

What Factors Are NOT Associated With Longevity?

The first issue they studied was longevity ... which qualities did or did not seem to help people live longer. 

They studied a number of factors which they thought MIGHT influence how long people would live.  Although these factors might benefit people in other ways, they did NOT help people live longer. Here is the list of factors they studied which did NOT seem to increase longevity:

Vitamin C - either from diet or supplements did not help them live longer

Vitamin A  - either from diet or supplements did not increase longevity

Vitamin E supplements - did not increase lifespan

Calcium consumption in the diet - did not help respondents live longer

Consumption of soft drinks by the elderly - did not affect longevity according to the researchers (which I thought was interesting).

Some of the above factors also surprised Dr. Kawas, because she had expected the vitamins and minerals mentioned above to have an effect on increasing longevity.  Although they might have other benefits, they did not seem to increase how long you would live.  (However, readers may have seen recent research which has shown that the simple act of taking a daily multi-vitamin can dramatically reduce dementia risk, which is discussed later in this post.)

What Factors WERE Associated With Longevity?

The factors below DID seem to increase how long a person would live, and some of these items also surprised Dr. Kawas.

Moderate caffeine consumption from coffee or tea did add to their lifespans.

Moderate alcohol consumption - one small drink a day for women and two for men increased longevity.  People who drank that amount lived longer than people who drank more, or who did not drink alcohol at all.  However, it is possible that the reasons many people do not drink alcohol is because they already have serious health problems or because they did significant damage to their bodies from alcohol abuse early in adulthood.  The researchers did discover that excessive drinking was associated with a shorter lifespan.

A Body Mass Index slightly ABOVE average seemed to improve longevity.  People who were very skinny or very obese did not live as long as people who were of average or slightly above average weight. (Yay for those of us who carry a little extra weight.)

Daily Exercise made a difference.  Those who exercised for 15 minutes a day did better than those who were sedentary.  Those who exercised for 30 minutes lived even longer.  Those who exercised for 45 minutes or more did the best.  However, there was no longevity benefit for those who exercised more than 45 minutes a day.  There is no need to run marathons, unless you simply want to. So take a nice, 45 minute walk every day, and you have a better chance of living to a ripe old age.

Non-exercise activities or participating in hobbies also added to longevity.  The key, however, was that they had to ENJOY the activities. It doesn't help to just force yourself to do things you don't enjoy.

A Positive Attitude is important, too.  Being depressed shortens your lifespan, but being enthusiastic and positive can add to the length of your life.

Who Gets Dementia?

Next, the researchers went on to investigate whether or not their long-lived subjects developed dementia, what physical indications of dementia they could find in their brains, and what lifestyle factors seemed to make a difference in who did and did not develop dementia.


What Assessments Did They Perform on the Study Subjects?

The research they performed over the years on the people enrolled in the program far exceeded simple physical examinations and interviews.  Here are some of the ways the researchers evaluated the participants:

They studied their Medical History;

Performed Neuropsychological Tests on their memory, language ability, and executive function;

Completed both neurological and physical examinations;

Asked the participants to complete detailed questionnaires over the years, covering their diet, lifestyle, amount of exercise they get, activities they participate in, and other factors;

Did genetic studies, including looking at their DNA and cell lines;

Performed various types of brain imaging, including MRIs and PET scans.

In addition, they asked the participants to donate their brains to the researchers, so they could autopsy them and look for various types of pathologies, such as a build-up of amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain, or signs of microinfarcts, white matter disease, hippocampal sclerosis and a disease called LATE, which is when a protein called TDP-43 accumulates in brain cells. 

As you can see, the researchers were very thorough in researching not just how long the people lived, but also the incidence of dementia in this population.  They also learned what behaviors seemed to help prevent or postpone dementia as they aged.

Resilience is a Significant Factor in Preventing Dementia

Dr. Kawas particularly appreciated the people who donated their brains, because she was able to learn so much from them.  Some of the people who never appeared to have dementia while they were alive, had a number of troublesome pathologies in their brain that were only found after they died.  On the other hand, some people who had experienced dementia symptoms while they were alive seemed to have fairly healthy brains.  That was a surprise!

In other words, you do not always have to be a helpless victim of the plaques, tangles and other problems that may exist in your brain.  Some people seem to manage well in old-age, despite how their brain looked when it was autopsied.   Dr. Kawas called this protection against signs of dementia, even in the presence of serious pathologies, resilience.  People who have resilience seem to age better than people without it.


Another Surprising Finding!

Most of us assume that Alzheimer's Disease is the most common cause of dementia.  However, in her research Dr. Kawas discovered that it only accounts for about 25% of cases of dementia.  Vascular dementia is actually the most common cause, resulting in about 40% of dementia cases.  LATE (which stands for limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy) accounts for around 19% of cases, Lewy Body dementia causes about 5% of cases, and all the other pathologies account for the remaining 11% of cases of dementia.

It is also interesting that people can have MORE than one cause of their dementia at the same time. For example, someone could have both Alzheimer's Disease and vascular dementia at the same time.  Obviously, the more pathologies you have, the more likely you are to have obvious symptoms of dementia while you are alive.


The concern that vascular problems lead to vascular dementia is also why researchers often tell people that activities which help your heart will also lower your dementia risk. If vascular dementia accounts for 40% of dementia cases, then any behaviors which hurt your heart will also increase your risk of developing vascular problems in other parts of your body, especially the brain.  Conversely, what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.  Living a heart healthy lifestyle can also improve your brain health. One excellent book you may want to read can be found here:  "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease - The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Research Based Cure"

While I encourage you to read the book, the bottom line is that getting exercise, eating healthy unprocessed foods, following the advice of your cardiologist or internist about taking statins and other heart medicines, getting adequate sleep, continuing to learn new things, AND taking a multi-vitamin can help you postpone or prevent vascular dementia, and may also reduce your risk of some other types of dementia, as well.   

You can also learn more about the 90+ Study at www.90study.org and can look for Dr. Claudia Kawas and the 90+ Study on YouTube.  Their research is fascinating.

Buy this at: etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

One way I have learned to keep myself mentally sharp and resilient has been by learning new things, writing posts on my blog, setting up an Etsy store and designing products for it. I think that it is important that everyone over the age of 60 continues to have creative and mentally challenging activities in order to remain sharp.  I also take the advice of Dr. Kawas and other researchers by getting regular exercise, sleeping 7+ hours a night, eating healthy foods, taking my prescribed medications and recommended vitamins, and staying active.

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts, including this necklace that say "She Believed She Could So She Did!"  Makes a great gift!

  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts


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You are reading from the blog: http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits: Dr. Claudia Kawas at UCI, Amazon book cover, and my Etsy Store