Saturday, May 30, 2020

No Magic Pill for Dementia or Alzheimers - But Lifestyle Changes Can Help

Despite all the advertisements you may have seen, as of 2020 there are NO magic pills which will prevent dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, including those over-the-counter medications which are advertised constantly and sound highly appealing.  This was the conclusion of researchers from the MIND program at the University of California - Irvine.  It was also the conclusion of a study completed by the AARP Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).  While this may be disappointing news to the millions of people who live in fear of developing some form of dementia as they age, at least it may help them avoid wasting money on unnecessary memory or brain supplements.

In addition to the work done by the UCI - MIND researchers, an AARP report titled, "The Real Deal on Brain Health Supplements," claims that people spent over $3 billion on brain supplements in 2016, and it was a "massive waste of money."  The experts interviewed for the article, which included doctors, scientists, scholars and policy experts, determined that "scientific evidence does not support the use of any supplement to prevent, slow, reverse or stop cognitive decline or dementia or other related neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's."

To make matters worse, the researchers were actually concerned that some of the supplements might not be either safe or pure.  Some of them could even harm consumers.

Conclusion of Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI-MIND
Prescription Medications Do Not Help, Either

Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI MIND reported at a 2019 Senior Summit in Orange County, California that it has been over 15 years since any new prescription medications have been brought to the market to treat dementia or Alzheimer's Disease.  The overall conclusion by a variety of researchers is that there are no drugs which can either prevent or treat dementia in any significant way. At most, there may be a few medications which can slightly slow the progression in some people, but that is the best we currently have.

Good News: You are Not Helpless Against Dementia

Despite the grim news about medical interventions to prevent dementia, people are not completely helpless.  There ARE steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing dementia, but it is not as simple as taking a pill and assuming you can continue to live however you want.  True dementia prevention means taking an assertive approach to lifestyle changes.

Research from Dr. Joshua Grill of UCI-MIND
The Lifestyle Changes Which Reduce Dementia Risk

Eat a Healthy Diet - The best diet for brain health is actually called the MIND Diet and you can learn more about it in "The MIND Diet Plan and Cookbook." (Ad) This book will take you step-by-step through the best food choices to make if you want to protect your brain.  Even if you do not follow it 100% of the time, it will help you set up an eating plan which you can aspire to.

Get Daily Exercise - Your brain cannot function properly without a steady flow of oxygen and nutrients, and the best way to flood your brain with what it needs is to keep the blood flowing.  Get at least one 30 minute walk a day, and if you can take several walks, that is even better.  You may also want to take a balance or exercise class to strengthen your muscles.  This could prevent you from falling and hitting your head, which could cause brain trauma ... another cause of dementia. 

Exercise Your Brain - If you spend your days bored in front of the television, your brain will gradually lose its sharpness.  You need to give it regular workouts including reading books, learning new skills, playing games, and working puzzles. Some people continue to work late in life, which can be very mentally stimulating. Others have found it is never too late to go back to school and get that degree they always wanted.  The more education you have, the lower your risk of dementia. Work your brain in a wide variety of ways for the best results. 

Socialize with Other People - Socializing helps you in a number of ways, whether you do it in person, over the phone, or virtually, using a website like Zoom.  It relaxes you and helps stimulate your brain when you engage in a conversation.  When you socialize, you may learn something new or be inspired to take up an interesting hobby. In addition, there is no way to predict what another person will say.  After they speak, you need to think about it and respond almost instantly.  This is a great brain exercise, and the more time you spend conversing, the more you will give your brain a real workout. There is no telling where an interesting conversation may lead you, and the benefit to your brain is a bonus!

Find healthy ways to deal with stress - Take up activities such as yoga or meditation.  If you are religious, spend some time each day in prayer. These activities will help you relax and make your life easier. It will also help lower your blood pressure, which is important for good brain health.  In addition, it may improve the quality of your sleep, which is also necessary to brain health.

Give up your vices - It may be difficult to stop smoking, moderate your alcohol consumption, and stop indulging in rich, fattening foods, but if it means you might keep your cognitive abilities for years longer, it will be worth it.

Obey Your Doctor and Dentist's Orders - Whether your dentist tells you to get your teeth cleaned more often, or your doctor prescribes cholesterol lowering drugs, your efforts to maintain your overall physical health will also help protect your brain.  Many people do not realize that their oral health also affects their heart health and their Alzheimer's risk.  See your doctor and dentist regularly and follow their instructions!

Stay Up-to-date on Alzheimer's Research - New research is constantly being done on how we can lower our dementia and Alzheimer's risk.  Read as much of this research as possible. A good place to start is the book "The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline."  This book has some great tips for keeping your brain functioning at its maximum capacity for as long as possible. It was a New York Time's best seller and I highly recommend it for anyone over the age of 50.  (Ad)

In summary, there are no magic pills or shortcuts which will protect your brain from most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease.  However, you may be able to postpone or prevent it if you live a lifestyle which is protective.  While there are no guarantees, it is worth a try, isn't it?

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.

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

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Photo credits: and UCI MIND

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Beware Coronoavirus Scams - Fraud is Increasing!

Due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has caused businesses to close and stock prices to fall, millions of people are in a tough financial situation.  Nearly 40 million people are unemployed and many of them have had difficulty claiming their benefits.  Some people are becoming desperate and, as a result, more and more of them are falling for ruthless scams, often costing them what little money they have left. While it is easy to become a victim to scammers, it is more important than ever that we all continue to be vigilant and on the lookout for any suspicious requests for money.

Examples of Covid-19 Scams

While all the "old" scams continue to operate, criminals are now exploiting people in new ways.  Here are some examples:

Phony Social Security fees:  In March, 2020, people began getting letters which appeared to be from the Social Security Administration.  These letters told the recipients that they had to call a special phone number to protect their benefits from being suspended.  When they called, the people were then given instructions to pay a fee by using a gift card or an instant wire transfer.  NO government agency would ever ask you to pay a fee in order to get your benefits.  Nor would they ask you to make a payment to them by using gift cards or instant wire transfers.

Illegal Fees and Taxes on Prize Money:  Another scam is the enthusiastic promise from a caller that you have won a cash prize from some contest!  According to the caller, the only thing you need to do is pay a fee or pre-pay the taxes, before you get the prize.  Don't do it!  If you actually win a sweepstakes prize, it is illegal for them to ask you to pay a fee before receiving your prize. If the prize is large enough, a legitimate company may send tax forms for you to complete, and they may withhold a portion of the prize money to cover the taxes.  However, they are NOT allowed to require you to prepay the taxes by sending them money before they pay you the prize.  That is a scam.  If you send them money in advance, it is highly likely you will not receive the prize!

Fake ads for non-existent products:  Many people have seen ads or received promotional emails that advertise products which are currently hard to find, including facemasks, disposable gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer.  People have placed orders for these items and given the advertiser their credit card information, only to never receive the ordered product.  Place your orders with legitimate companies, only.  Check out companies online or with the Better Business Bureau, especially if you have never heard of them before, or if you are unsure if they are legitimate.  In addition, even if you are purchasing from a reputable company, make sure you are not overpaying for the items.  Some sellers are asking buyers to pay as much as ten times more than what the items sold for before the the pandemic.

Phony emails:  If you receive an unexpected email from a friend, relative or co-worker asking you to send money or gift cards to them or anyone else, do not do it unless you contact that person separately and confirm the request.  Many people and companies are discovering that their email accounts have been cloned or compromised, and scammers are using a fake account to request money and gift cards from your contacts.  This scam even happened to the minister of our church, who had to send out a disclaimer to the members of our church to let everyone know he is not asking anyone to send him money or gift cards!

Useless Covid-19 tests, cures, and "vaccines":  In a number of locations, crooks have set up phony Covid-19 testing sites where people have been charged as much as $240 for fake tests.  Other scammers have offered cures or vaccines which are ineffective, unproven, or dangerous.  Check with your healthcare provider before being tested for Covid-19, or before you try any cure or vaccine.  Currently, there are no approved cures or vaccines available to the public, except those being tried on hospitalized patients, or as part of a medical trial.

 The best way to protect yourself from the virus is to avoid contact with people who do not live in your home.  When you are around other people, wear a mask in public and expect others to do the same. Limit the amount of time you spend in businesses and other indoor locations where the virus could be lingering in the air.  The key is to keep your potential "viral load" as small as possible.

Remember the General Rules to Protect Yourself from Scams

Criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to get your money and/or your credit card information.  Before you become a victim, remember some basic rules.

No government agency will ever randomly call you and ask for gift cards or credit card information to pay a bill or fee.  The federal government and most state and local agencies will always contact people first by U.S. mail.  They will rarely contact you in any other way, unless you first call them and ask for a callback.

If a stranger calls and asks for money, hang up.  If they represent a charity which interests you, ask them to mail you information, so you can read it at your leisure.  Then, before making a donation to a new charity, check them out through the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator.  If you decide to support them, go to their website directly to make the donation.  Do not give out your credit card information over the phone.  Do not purchase gift cards and read the numbers on the back of the cards to anyone over the phone.  Do not make instant wire transfers to strangers.  Take your time and check things out.

Do not fall for fake news stories about "amazing cures" and treatments for Covid-19 or any other serious illness.  Check with your personal physician before trying something you have seen advertised online.  Even some televangelists have gotten in trouble for promoting products which were either useless or dangerous.  Do not give anyone your hard-earned money for something which will not help you, and might even harm you.

With so many people struggling financially at the moment, many of them are desperate to believe anything they read online or are told over the phone.  Stay vigilant and skeptical.  Take your time before making any financial decisions.  Be very, very reluctant to give out credit card information or let go of your money.  You earned it.  Make sure you keep it.  The longer this disease has us in its grips, the more we will all need to be cautious with our money.

If your retirement planning needs to be updated because of changes to your financial situation as a result of Covid-19 or unemployment, you may want to get the handy workbook, "Retirement by Design."   It will help you get back on track. (Ad) 

To learn more about common medical problems as we age, Medicare, Social Security, 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.

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Photo credit: Pixabay via Google

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Granny Flats vs Nursing Homes - Could Seniors Be Safer Near Their Families?

During the past few decades, it has become commonplace for the elderly with serious chronic diseases to move into assisted living communities, nursing homes, memory care facilities, and other types of group housing where they can be cared for when they are no longer able to care for themselves. While these places perform an invaluable service for the most elderly and frail members of our population, it is possible that at least some of these seniors would be safer and more comfortable in a "granny flat" located on the property of their adult children or other relatives.

Different Types of "Granny Flats"

These housing units may be referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units, granny flats, or mother-in-law suites, and they can be created in a variety of ways.  Some of the most popular designs are:

Detached cottages in a family member's backyard
Detached Granny Pod cottages with advanced medical equipment
Attached additions to an existing home, with a private entrance and kitchen
Interior apartments created in an unused basement or attic space
Above garage additions which serve as a separate apartment
Garage conversions in which either an attached or detached garage has been converted into an apartment.

When my own parents could no longer live independently in their Florida retirement community, because of my mother's dementia and my father's difficulty caring for her, they moved to Missouri into an apartment over my sister's four-car garage.  Their apartment had a bedroom, sitting room, small office, a large walk-in closet, spacious bathroom and even a small private deck with stairs leading down to the backyard.  Their apartment did not have a private kitchen, although they had a mini-fridge and microwave.  They generally ate their meals with my sister's family, and my sister had a stair lift (Ad) installed to make it easier for them to get downstairs to the main part of the house.  They were much happier with this arrangement than they would have been if they had moved to assisted living, and they really enjoyed the time with my sister and her family.

New Zoning Laws are Making Granny Flats More Common

At one time, these accessory dwelling units were banned in many locations across America because of fears they would become rental properties and increase neighborhood density.  However, in the past few years, some states like California, New Hampshire, Vermont, Oregon and Washington have changed their zoning laws in order to allow them again, with some restrictions on size, placement, and whether or not they can be rented out.  This loosening of zoning laws has resulted in a resurgence in granny flats and has allowed more than one family to live on a single-family lot.   Between January 2017 and June 2019, the City of Los Angeles alone issued building permits for almost 12,000 accessory dwelling units.

How Can You Set Up an Accessory Dwelling Unit on Your Property?

One option is to order a pre-fab home kit (Ad) and have a builder help you put it together and connect the utilities. Check your local county and city regulators to find out what permits and fees are required in order to add a granny flat to your home.  There may also be restrictions regarding short-term rentals using services like Airbnb.

Another option is to contact a company like MEDCottage (one example is pictured above) and lease a structure that is designed specifically to meet your family member's medical needs.  They will set up a cottage on your property temporarily, and you pay them a monthly rental fee.  The company will remove it when your family member no longer needs it.  The company describes their units in this way:  "The MEDCottage is a mobile, modular medical dwelling designed to be temporarily placed on a caregiver's property for rehabilitation and extended care. Simply stated, it's a state-of-the-art hospital room with remote monitoring available so caregivers and family members have peace of mind knowing they are providing the best possible care."  In 2020, a basic MEDCottage can be leased for as little as $750 a month, which is a fraction of the cost of a room in a skilled nursing home.

Another possibility is to hire your own contractor to convert an unused portion of your current home so it is livable, has grab bars in the bathroom, and whatever other equipment your family member might need in order to be comfortable.

Reasons to Consider Adding a Granny Flat to Your Home

What are some of the reasons people are interested in adding an apartment or cottage to their property?  In an AARP study published in the May 2020 edition of the AARP Bulletin, they found that people wanted to build additions for these reasons:

Provide a home for a loved one in need of care
Provide housing for relatives or friends
Have a space for guests
Increase the value of their home
Help them feel safer with someone living nearby
Create a place for a caregiver to stay
Provide extra retirement income from renting to a tenant

One reason which was not on their list, but has more recently become a consideration, is the number of people who have died of the Covid-19 coronavirus in nursing homes and other group retirement homes in the spring of 2020.  Many families, when they realized how many elderly people were dying in group housing, removed their elderly relatives from these facilities.  Being able to provide a place for their loved one, and/or a caregiver, and make it possible for them to live in their own home or apartment, seemed like a safer option than letting them remain in group housing.

What If Your Elderly Relative Needs Medical Supervision?

One reason many seniors are in an assisted living facility is because they need close medical supervision and monitoring. You may not feel you are able to provide them with the same level of care in your own home. What alternatives do you have if you want them living near you, but you are concerned about making sure they are safe and getting the care they need?  You have several options:

As mentioned above, you might start with a granny pod or MEDCottage which you can arrange to have set up quickly on your own property.  While some of these specialty cottages may look like a typical guest house, these buildings come equipped with extra safety features including hand railings, defibrillators, first aid supplies, lighted floorboards and wheelchair ramps.  The flooring may also be extra soft to reduce injuries if they fall.  When additional equipment is added to accommodate their specific needs, such as a medical call button system (Ad) so they can let someone in the main house know when they need assistance, your loved one can feel very secure in their cottage. The MEDCottages can be leased inexpensively, and a granny pod can often be purchased or built for about the same amount as two to four years of living expenses in assisted living.

If your accessory building is in your backyard, you may want to make sure the yard is securely fenced, with a lockable gate, so you do not have to worry that your loved one could become confused and wander away.  You may also want to have them wear a medical alert call bracelet or button, so they can quickly contact you if they fall, get confused or have a panic attack.  

An in-home caregiver can also make it easier for you to keep your loved one at home, rather than in an assisted living facility.  You can hire someone for as few as four hours a day or for whatever length of time they are needed.  They can help dress your elderly relative, assist them with personal hygiene, make sure they are eating properly, supervise their medications, and keep them from wandering away or getting lonely ... and they can do it all from the safety of your own property.  Even with a pandemic going on, caregivers are being trained to be extra conscientious about hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment, in order to protect your loved one.

Do not forget to take advantage of local resources which may be included in their Medicare coverage or offered at low cost in your community.  For example, they may be eligible to have a physical or occupational therapist come and work with them once or twice a week.  Medicare may also provide a special medical bed, wheelchair, walkers or other special equipment at little or no cost to you, depending on their needs.

Your community may also offer adult day care services at a low cost, so your loved one can get out of the house and be kept active a couple of days a week.  If they are physically and mentally able, they may want to participate in activities at the local senior center, such as taking classes, joining an exercise group, and playing bridge or bingo there.  Some of the centers also offer low-cost lunches, where they can chat with other senior citizens.  Of course, these types of activities will only be available after the stay-at-home orders have been lifted in your community and the senior centers have reopened. 

With a little planning and the right equipment, it is possible for many families to move their elderly relatives out of a nursing home and into their own home.  Although this may not be possible for some families when their loved one has serious medical problems or advanced Alzheimer's Disease, it is an option many other families will want to consider.

If either you or a caregiver are taking care of an ill family member who may have a contagious disease, owning a separate cottage or apartment may make it easier to quarantine them.  

You may find it helpful to read this book (Ad):  "Pandemic Flu Home Care: A Detailed Guide for Caring for the Ill at Home."

To learn more about common medical problems as we age, Medicare, Social Security, 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 at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credit: Pixabay and MEDCottage

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Doctor Visits and Covid-19: Dealing with Medical Appointments

While many Americans, especially senior citizens, are staying socially isolated at home as much as possible, one concern many of them have is how to handle their medical appointments with their doctors, dentists, physical therapists, chiropractors and other healthcare providers. Nearly everyone is asking the same questions. Should you go to the doctor's office or try to handle everything over the phone or during a video chat?  What should you do about routine physical examinations, getting your teeth cleaned, or emergency healthcare?  How should you handle a change in your health, such as heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, an unusual rash, sudden exhaustion or weakness?

Follow the Instructions of Your Healthcare Provider

Since Covid-19 began sweeping through the country, most healthcare providers and physicians have written or emailed their patients and provided them with information regarding what changes they have made to protect their patients from Covid-19 during medical visits.  Make sure you read this information and follow their instructions. In an emergency, doing the right thing could save you time and, possibly, your life.

My California healthcare provider, Kaiser Permanente, has reorganized their offices so that certain locations are exclusively for patients with respiratory problems and suspected cases of Covid-19, while the remaining locations are now reserved for patients with other healthcare issues.  Prescriptions can be mailed to you or, if needed immediately, picked up curbside outside their in-house pharmacies.  If you must go into one of their facilities for an appointment, they ask you screening questions and take your temperature before you enter.  They have sent us this information several times, by both mail and email, so we are fully aware of the correct procedures we need to follow.

My husband recently discovered he had been exposed to someone who later was hospitalized with Covid-19, so his doctor directed him to go to a specific facility where they tested him.  Fortunately, he tested negative!

If your physician provides you with information about what to do, make sure you understand it, so in an emergency, you go to the right location.  It could save your life.

Monitor Your Own Health

Before you make a medical appointment during the Covid-19 pandemic, you should monitor your own health, take steps to keep yourself healthy, and avoid seeing a doctor if it is not necessary.

Here are ways experts recommend you can reduce your Covid-19 risk:

     Stay home as much as possible
     Wear a face mask when you do need to leave the house
     Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently
     Avoid touching your face without cleaning your hands first
     Eat healthy foods to keep your immune system strong
     Get aerobic exercise to maintain good lung capacity
     Take your temperature if you suspect something may be wrong
     Avoid coming within six feet of anyone outside your home.

If you do these things, you may be able to avoid Covid-19 until a vaccine is available, and keep other health problems to a minimum, as well.

However, if this pandemic goes on long enough, you may find that you need to see a doctor occasionally, especially if you are living with a chronic health condition.  What should you do if that happens?

Plan Your Routine Appointments

Whether you are planning to see your doctor in person, or doing it over the phone or by video chat, you should prepare ahead for the appointment, unless it is an emergency.  Here are some tips to guide you.

1.  If it is the first time you are seeing a new physician, or if it has been a long time since you have seen your doctor, or if you are concerned about a new medical issue, the visit should be in their office, despite Covid-19.  Your healthcare provider should take appropriate precautions to protect you.

Whenever you see a new physician, it is important to bring your medical history with you, including the following items:

List of your medications
Names of other doctors and specialists you see
List of prior surgeries and treatments
Known family history of illnesses
Any records you have of recent lab tests, hospital records and ER records
When you go to the appointment, ask if you can bring a family member with you, especially if you are afraid you might forget what the doctor tells you.

Whether it is a physician who is new to you, or one you have seen for years, you should take these precautions when you go to their office:

     Wear a face mask to your appointment
     Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands before and after your appointment

2.  If this is a follow-up appointment with a doctor you have seen before, ask if you can do it by phone or as a video chat.  In my experience, if you have any kind of virtual doctor's visit, it is easy to forget some of the things you wanted to ask.  As a result, before you get on the phone with the doctor, do the following:

     Review your current medications and treatments
     Write down all your questions in advance
     Ask a family member for other questions you may want to ask

 If possible, perform whatever do-it-yourself health tests you can at home.  For example, take your own temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate before your remote doctor's appointment. If you have a fingertip oximeter, which measures your blood oxygen levels, make a note of the number. Weigh yourself and mention to the doctor if there has been a significant change.   Note any other health changes you have experienced such as skin rashes, slow-healing sores, an increase in headaches, or intestinal problems.

When you talk with the doctor, take notes during your conversation. Make sure you understand any instructions the doctor gives you.  Ask follow-up questions if you are confused.

Ask a family member to join you on the call, if possible, so you have someone else who listens to what is said.  If the two of you remember something differently, email the doctor afterwards to make sure you have the correct information.

Call Ahead, If Possible, Before Going to the Emergency Room

It is not possible to plan so carefully for all medical visits.  If you suspect you are having a heart attack or stroke, bleeding heavily, broken a bone, or been injured in an accident, you may need to go immediately to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room of a local hospital. Depending on the situation, you may either want to call 911 and take an ambulance, or have a family member drive you to the local hospital.

If a family member is driving you, and there is time, it is important that you call your healthcare provider or the hospital to ask if they have any specific instructions you need to follow.  They may have a separate entrance or location for normal patients, in order to separate you from patients with suspected cases of Covid-19.  If you are having a heart attack, the last thing you need is to be accidentally exposed to Covid-19, too.

If possible, it is ideal if a family member can accompany you to the hospital or doctor's office.  If you are in pain or extremely ill, it may be difficult for you to answer questions, explain your symptoms, or remember what they tell you.  However, because of Covid-19, many healthcare providers will not allow anyone other than the patient to enter their facility.  This is another reason why it is important to know in advance what to expect.

Other Healthcare Appointments

Our dentist has temporarily stopped performing any services other than emergency dental care. You may want to check with your dentist and ask them what precautions they are taking in their office and when it will be safe for you to have a routine teeth cleaning.

My elderly father, who has trouble walking, has a physical therapist come to his apartment twice a week.  The therapist wears a face mask and gloves, and my father wears a face mask, too.  If you need to have a physical therapist, caregiver, or other healthcare provider come to your home, ask them what precautions they are taking, and follow up with precautions of your own, such as wearing a face mask, washing your hands, and disinfecting everything they touch.

My chiropractor is still doing adjustments, and has encouraged his patients to keep their appointments in his office.  Some people have gone, but I have not.  I felt it was something I could postpone as long as the number of Covid-19 cases are increasing steadily in my community.  My chiropractor assures everyone that they are keeping patients in separate rooms and disinfecting everything after each patient, but I still feel nervous.  This is something which everyone will have to decide on their own, depending on their personal situation, the pain they are experiencing, and the advice of their own doctors.

If you have a child in your family who does not understand what is going on, they may benefit from a copy of the children's book, "Paula and the Pandemic."  It is a highly rated way to help them understand social distancing and what is going on, without frightening them. (Ad)

The bottom line is that the longer Covid-19 is spreading through our communities, the more likely it is that something will happen which will require us to contact our doctors.  When that happens, it is important that you have a plan and fully understand the correct procedures.

To learn more about common medical problems as we age, Medicare, Social Security, 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 form the blog:

Photo credit: Google Images - credit to WSJ. com

Saturday, May 2, 2020

'Retirement by Design' is a Helpful Workbook for Retirees and Those Planning Retirement

Do you wish you had someone to walk you through the complexities of planning your ideal retirement, especially if your original plans need revising because of stock market losses or an unexpected career change?  Are you confused by all the choices and opportunities you will have during the last phase of your life?  Are you worried you may not be able to afford to retire?  If so, you are not alone.  Many people ask themselves where they can afford to live after they stop working, what they should do with their time, how to deal with a reduced retirement account, and when would be the best time for them to retire. 

The helpful workbook, "Retirement by Design," (Ad) was written  by Ida Abbott, who has been a lawyer and legal consultant for over four decades.  She has helped mentor people through their professional careers from the start of their practice through retirement.  She brings design thinking to the process of retirement planning, and her insights will be very helpful to you.

Topics To Help You Design Your Retirement

A successful, satisfying retirement rarely happens accidentally.  This workbook walks you through a range of thought-provoking topics you should consider as you plan your retirement.  Among the topics you will find are:

What Do We Mean by Retirement Today?
Choosing a Personal Advisory Team
Exploring Your Attitudes and Feelings about Retirement
Starting Your Transition in Retirement
Knowing Who You Are and How You Got Here
The Impact of Retirement on Your Relationships
Potential Financial and Health Constraints
Getting Your Legal and Medical Arrangements in Order
Envisioning Your Future Life in Retirement
Organizing, Prioritizing, and Exploring Retirement Possibilities
Putting Together the Pieces: Designing Your Retirement Plan

How to Get the Most from this Workbook

"Retirement by Design" (Ad) is a book which would ideally be used by someone who is a few years away from retirement, although it is also helpful for people who have already retired and now find themselves feeling confused and struggling to get their retirement plan organized.  Whether you are just beginning to think about your future, or you are trying to reorganize the retirement you have already started, this workbook will be very helpful.

Each chapter asks relevant questions which are designed to help you clarify your thinking about what you want to do.  There are plenty of blank lines and charts following the questions, so you can jot your thoughts down in the book!  It will even help you transition out of a business you own, while guiding you to think about how to transfer your leadership roles and clients, and who you should tell about your transition plans.

This book will also guide your thinking about your past experiences and assist you in evaluating your risk tolerance.  You can list your favorite skills and consider how you may put them to use in the future.

Chapter 6 may be one of the most important, because it asks you to consider the impact of retirement on your relationships.  Is your spouse retiring at the same time?  Do you have a home-based spouse who works from a home office or is a homemaker?  How much togetherness do you want?  How much do they want?  This chapter also covers issues such as whether or not you should move to be near your children and grandchildren.  Are you willing to be a caregiver for your grandchildren? What if you have living, elderly parents?  How will your retirement affect them?  There are a lot of issues to consider in this chapter.

"Retirement by Design" (Ad) will also help you evaluate your Social Security and Medicare benefits, estate planning, medical directives and many of the legal issues you need to consider.

Finally, the book will guide you in discovering how you want to spend your free time during the final decades of your life.  Where do you want to live?  What hobbies would you like to pursue?  Do you need to earn extra income?  Would you like to volunteer?  Do you have a travel bucket list?

Retirement by Design was released in February 2020 by Ulysees Press. In it, the author utilizes the design thinking principles of empathy, definition, ideating, prototyping, and testing to help formulate what this season of life could look like for every individual. These innovative business principles will help you have a more fulfilling and meaningful retirement.  They will guide you in making decisions about location, finances, engagement in organizations, activities and interpersonal relationships.

Although retirement comes with many fears, Ida believes that the best way to deal with those fears is to acknowledge that they exist and take control of them. You've heard it a million times:  There's no right time to retire.  However, there are steps a person can take to set themselves up to achieve the dreams they have for the next phase of life.  This workbook will lessen the burden and help you design and live a life of purpose, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

By the time you have worked your way through this book, you will have a much clearer idea about the right retirement plan for you, and how to put it into action.  The book is available as both a paperback workbook, as well as on Kindle.  The paperback workbook is just a few dollars more than the Kindle version and I recommend it, because you can write your thoughts directly in the book and have everything in one place.

 More about Ida Abbott:

She is a former attorney and current professional consultant focusing on the power of mentoring relationships to guide, support, and transform professional careers from the beginning of practice through retirement.  She has long been a leader in the field of talent management, particularly mentoring, sponsorship, and the advancement of women into leadership. Over more than four decades as a lawyer and legal consultant, and recognition of a lifetime of achievement, Abbott has held leadership positions in numerous bar associations, women's organizations, and professional organizations in the U.S. and internationally. She was a co-founder of the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women and the Professional Development Consortium, and is now a sought-after speaker and the author of several books, including The Lawyer's Guide to Mentoring, 2nd Edition, (Ad) and Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know. (Ad)

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Photo of book cover taken by author