Saturday, September 26, 2020

Yoga For Your Mind, Body and Soul - Try it at Any Age

About 30 years ago, a friend of mine was recovering from breast cancer and her physician recommended she take a gentle yoga class as a way to regain her strength and flexibility.  I went with her, experiencing this soothing form of exercise for the first time.  I was hooked!  When I started, I was not able to do most of the postures, because I did not have enough upper body strength and I was not very flexible.  Today, in my 70s, I am able to do many of the postures I could not do in my 40s. Over the years, I have gradually become stronger and more flexible. Who would ever have thought that I could have more upper body strength and more flexibility in my 70s than in my 40s? 
Over the decades, yoga has become more widely accepted and today it is recommended for a wide variety of health issues ... to lower stress, build strength, become more flexible, lower blood pressure, and improve balance.  It seems to be a cure-all for many different problems. 
A good way to start is with a yoga video for beginners.  (Ad)  You may also want to pick up a few yoga supplies, such as a mat, a couple of blocks or a strap.  (Ad) If you do not want to buy these things right away, you can always practice on your carpet, using rolled up towels and an old belt to help you maintain some of the positions.  Yoga can be a very cheap hobby.  
You may also find free or low-cost classes for seniors in your community. I currently take a free class for seniors from a local community college, taught by an 84 year old teacher!  Prior to that, I took a similar class at a senior center.  I have even taken chair yoga classes that included people in wheelchairs.  Nearly everyone can benefit from yoga, regardless of their physical limitations. 
Because of my personal experience with yoga, I was thrilled to receive this guest post on the benefits of this lovely form of exercise. You can learn more about how yoga can improve the health of senior citizens from the helpful guest post below by Kelsey Simpson.

How to Improve Your Mind, Body, and Soul With Yoga at Any Age


by Kelsey Simpson

Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates the mind, body, and soul and can improve all three in a variety of ways. Anyone, no matter his or her age, can benefit from yoga. Whether you are young or old, your body will thank you for incorporating yoga into your everyday life. 

Yoga is an activity you can practice for the rest of your life. In fact, an expert from a company which provides independent senior living in NJ pointed out that many retirement communities offer yoga to their residents because the benefits are so vast. If you are new to yoga, you may be wondering how these gentle movements can improve so many aspects of your body. This post will detail how yoga enhances the human body at any age.

What Are The Benefits of Yoga?

Whether you are sixteen or sixty-five, yoga is something you should try to practice multiple times a week, if not every day. Learning yoga is not hard, and it doesn’t even need to cost you money, if you choose to practice yoga at home via online videos. Because yoga is so ancient, and there are so many theories about how it can best help us, there are many forms of it. Here are a few:





Each form of yoga has its own set of movements and breathing exercises. However, they all work towards improving a person's overall well-being, so you can try several and choose the style which you enjoy the most.  Below are some of the benefits you can expect:

Yoga Can Improve Your Mindset Significantly

Yoga is often used to improve one’s mental state. The practice of yoga can calm you, help you focus, and train you to learn mindfulness. Depending on the type of yoga you choose, different skills will be emphasized; however, all are beneficial.

Yoga is beneficial for all ages because it teaches the mind to focus on what is important and not get too worked up about things which one cannot control. For teens and young adults, yoga is a good way to develop calmness and values which they can use for the rest of their lives. Yoga will help a young person be proactive when it comes to managing everyday life stressors.

For adults and seniors, yoga is a wonderful way to help them deal with the anxiety and stress of work, family, and everyday life. Adults and seniors will learn how to relax when events happen in life which they cannot control. Yoga has the ability to improve one’s mental outlook significantly.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga on the Body?

In addition to helping one obtain a clear and healthy mindset, yoga will also improve your body. People of all ages use muscles throughout their body in yoga practice. Some yoga practices require more movement than others and are more fast-paced. On the other hand, there are yoga classes which focus on one muscle group for a prolonged period of time. Over time, this will strengthen that muscle group.

For younger people, yoga is a great way to stay in shape and keep your heart healthy. Likewise, for adults and seniors, yoga will help you lose weight and preserve your strength, as it requires full-body movement. It is crucial for older adults to maintain their strength as they age, so they can still move around comfortably; yoga will help with that.  Yoga also emphasizes balance exercises, which are so important for seniors in preventing falls.

How Yoga Can Help Your Well-Being

Yoga is not simple, especially when you first start. Adopting mindfulness, and gently moving your body into poses which may initially be uncomfortable or awkward can be challenging.  However, sticking with it, and making an active effort, will help your overall sense of well-being, calmness, and joy. In this way, it improves your feelings of peace and soulfulness.

Pushing yourself to new limits will make you feel accomplished and proud. You will also feel stronger, not only physically, but mentally, which is important for your overall health, peacefulness, and inner soul. Focusing on your movements will allow you to block out the outside world, which can help you develop a sense of calm and peace.

Become a Yogi Today

If you have not started practicing yoga, it will be in your best interest to begin soon. You can start practicing yoga by watching videos (Ad) online in the comfort of your home, or you can join a yoga studio or take a class. No matter where you practice yoga, your mind, body, and soul will be grateful. Start your yoga journey today.

About the Author

Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about topics which help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, financial planning, 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:

Photo credits:  Pixabay

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Election, Social Security and Medicare - Where Do Trump and Biden Stand?

There are many issues which people need to consider in deciding how to vote.  Very few people are "one issue voters."  However, as a retirement blog, I was interested when Kiplinger's Magazine wrote a series of well-researched articles on "The Election and Your Money."  One article, in particular, compared the positions which President Trump and his opponent, Vice-President Biden, have taken on the future of Social Security and Medicare.  The information provided by Kiplinger's might help some undecided voters make up their minds on how they want to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, especially if their Social Security benefits will be a major source of their retirement income. 

Most experts and Social Security actuaries believe that some changes need to be made to the funding for Social Security and Medicare, or their trust funds will soon run out of money, and benefits will be cut.  Currently, if nothing changes, the Social Security trust fund will be empty by 2035, and the Medicare trust fund could run out even sooner.  If this is allowed to happen, Social Security will only be able to pay out about 79% of the promised financial benefits, and Medicare will have to cut back on the healthcare benefits it provides. 

Consequently, nearly everyone who is retired or who plans to retire in the future will be affected by how these shortfalls are handled.  While the presidential candidates are dramatically different in their plans for Social Security, they actually agree on some of the ways they would like Medicare to save money in the future. Below is a summary of the Kiplinger article.

President Trump's Proposals for Social Security and Medicare

Trump has already issued an executive order stopping the payroll tax withholding whcih funds Social Security and Medicare, for the remainder of this year for millions of people.  He has said he would like to completely end payroll tax withholding permanently, which would cause the Social Security and Medicare trust funds to run out of money even sooner than projected. 

*  Trump wants to continue to promote Medicare Advantage plans more than plans which offer traditional Medicare plus a Medicare Supplement. Medicare Advantage plans save the government money, but people who choose these plans usually are able to only use the network of providers which are part of their plan.  (Regular readers of this blog know that I have a Medicare Advantage plan called Kaiser Permanente which I am very happy with.  However, the majority of retirees prefer the freedom of having traditional Medicare plus a Medicare PPO Supplement.)  If the differences between Medicare Advantage plans and traditional Medicare with a Supplement confuses you, you are not alone. It could be helpful to read a book such as  "Medicare for Dummies."  It will answer a lot of the questions you may have. (Ad)

*  Like Biden, Trump supports proposed legislation to limit increases in Medicare prescription drug costs, so medication prices cannot rise faster than inflation.  He wants to limit out-of-pocket drug costs to $3,100 a year.

*  Like Biden, Trump wants to allow U.S. citizens to be able to purchase prescription drugs from other countries, such as Canada, if certain conditions are met to insure their safety.

*  Trump wants to cut government Medicare costs by reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers.  This could make it harder for patients to find a doctor who will accept Medicare, which could be especially challenging for people who choose traditional Medicare plus a supplement.

Vice-President Biden's Proposals for Social Security and Medicare

*  Biden wants to strengthen the funding for Social Security and Medicare. He wants to keep the current cap on payroll taxes for most workers, which pays for these programs. The payroll tax cap is indexed to wage growth and, in 2020, is capped at $137,700.  However, in order to make sure there is enough money so the trust funds do not run out of money, Biden also wants to apply the payroll taxes to incomes on wages over $400,000.  People who earn between $137,700 (or the annual cap) and $400,000 would not pay the payroll taxes.

*  Biden wants to expand benefits by increasing survivor benefits for low-income beneficiaries and gradually increase benefits for seniors, starting at age 78.  Social Security beneficiaries over the age of 82 could receive a 5% increase in their basic retirement payout.  (Many of you may know of retirees who have received virtually no increases in their benefits for several years, and that has left some elderly people nearly destitute, since their income has not kept up with inflation. This benefit increase could help them "catch up" a little.)

*  Biden has proposed a more fair way to calculate the Social Security cost-of-living increases for retirees.  The government would switch to a cost of living index which puts more weight on items which account for a larger portion of seniors' spending, such as the cost of housing and healthcare.

*  Contrary to reports you may have seen, Biden does NOT support Medicare-for-All.  He prefers, instead, to strengthen the Affordable Care Act for most people.  However, he does support lowering the eligibility for Medicare from age 65 to age 60.

*  Biden wants to repeal the laws which prevent Medicare from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical manufactures.  (Who originally forced this law on American seniors?  It was a bad idea to begin with. What other government agency is forbidden to negotiate?) 

*  Like Trump, Biden also wants to limit price increases for most prescriptions so their cost cannot rise faster than the rate of inflation.

*  Like Trump, Biden also wants to allow U.S. citizens to be able to purchase prescriptions from other countries, as long as they are determined to be safe.

Overview of Candidate Plans for Social Security and Medicare

While both Trump and Biden want to find ways to lower the cost of prescriptions, there are major differences in their plans for Social Security and Medicare.  Vice-President Biden wants to make sure that both Social Security and Medicare remain financially strong for years to come, while President Trump wants to cut funding for those life lines for senior citizens, and he no plan to replace their funding.  Both candidates want to give you a choice between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, but Trump wants more emphasis to be given to Medicare Advantage plans, and wants to pay doctors less money if they accept traditional Medicare.  Both candidates want to restrict price increases for prescription drugs to the rate of inflation, and both want to allow U.S. citizens to buy some medications from other countries.

Which candidate you vote for is up to you, and there may be other issues which are more important to you than Social Security and Medicare.  However, it is important to make sure you know the facts when you make the decision, and the September, 2020 issue of Kiplinger's Magazine has made it much easier to assess the candidate's similarities and differences. 

If you are confused about how different types of Medicare Plans work, you may find it helpful to read a book such as "Maximize Your Medicare: 2020-2021 Edition: Qualify for Benefits, Protect Your Health, and Minimize Your Costs" or "Medicare for Dummies."  Everyone will find it helpful to read books like these before they choose or change their plan. (Ad)

If you are interested in learning more about saving money, 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:

Photo credits:  Pexel

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Covid-19 Causing Stress? Learn how to Cope with Change and Find Meaning During This Time

People around the world are finding it stressful to adjust to all the changes they have gone through over the past six months. One day they were living a normal life, going to work, sending their children to school, getting their hair cut, and going out to dinner, and the next day they were working from home, teaching their kids online, cutting their own hair, and cooking their own meals. It's enough to make anyone feel crazy and stressed out.

Fortunately, there are actions you can take which may not eliminate the stress, but will help you handle it a little better.  You do not have to let the stress overwhelm you. You may find it beneficial to discuss your anxiety and stress with a professional.  You might also want to use a workbook such as "Families and Change: Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions,", (Ad) which is designed to help you and your family recognize and deal with the issues you are all experiencing.  It will be a helpful way to open up communication.

You will also find it helpful to read the tips in this week's guest post by Jennifer Scott, a life coach who has a blog at  Her suggestions may help guide you and your family in reducing the stress and anxiety which can be caused by sudden, unexpected life changes.  If you implement these ideas, you will begin to focus less on the negatives and more on the positive benefits you are experiencing during this unsettled time. I know that I have personally followed some of Jennifer's suggestions and found them quite helpful in staying positive and productive.  I am volunteering for several organizations online.  I have been crocheting more lately, an activity which I had put on the back burner several years ago, and some of the items I have made are being raffled off by a charity raising money to help college students.  I am staying in touch with friends and loved ones on Zoom and social media, which has been good for my mental health.  I have increased my exercise regimen.  You, too, can find a way to make the most of this period of time.  When you look back, will you remember this year as a time of anxiety and loneliness, or one that was productive and creative?  Read Jennifer's tips below:

Positive Ways to Cope with Change and Find Meaning During the Pandemic

by Jennifer Scott

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another. Dealing with swift and unprecedented changes is never easy and often leads to anxiety, depression, and a feeling of helplessness. In times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to find ways to stay positive. Below, you will find ideas, not just for coping, but for thriving during the pandemic.

Take Care of Priorities

Even though many parts of the world are in the process of reopening, it will probably be a long time before life returns to a semblance of normal. Many activities can be put on hold until a later time, but that does not apply to everything. Having a number of pressing matters in your life is a major source of stress, especially if you feel unable to check things off your to-do list the way you normally would.

For example, experiences such as moving, getting medical attention, and even cutting your hair cannot always wait. Luckily, there are alternative ways to accomplish these things. For example, if you are in the market for a new house, you can still tour homes virtually thanks to services such as 3D walk throughs and video chat tours. Similarly, many clinics and hospitals have begun offering tele-health services to provide virtual checkups. You can also seek out mental health help virtually.

Get Involved

Even with some aspects of life returning to normal, you are probably still spending more time than usual at home. Being isolated at home can quickly take a toll on your mental health. One of the best ways to feel more connected is to get involved with a cause you care about. For example, you can raise awareness about issues which matter to you by sharing facts online, doing a Facebook fundraiser, or by finding ways to make important causes more visible.

In addition, you can also make a difference by volunteering virtually. There will always be a need for volunteers, and there are countless opportunities for using your talents or simply your time for the greater good.

Grow Your Career

Volunteering and getting involved with activism will make you feel more connected and enable you to make a difference, but the pandemic may also have affected your income. If you have lost your job or find yourself wanting to switch careers, there are still many opportunities to do so.

Countless companies are hiring more employees to meet the new demands brought on by the pandemic. However, you do not need to work for someone else if you do not want to. Becoming a freelancer is a great option which provides flexibility and the ability to work from home. Accounting, writing, editing, customer service, and administrative work are just a few of the occupations you can do on a freelance basis. Posting your skills on a freelance job board is the easiest way to get started.

Try a New Hobby 

The pandemic has upended many people’s social lives and careers, but it has also left many of us with more time on our hands than usual. Having extra free time might sound like a dream come true, but as Psych Central explains, it can also increase feelings of anxiety. One of the best ways to give your days more structure is to try your hand at a new hobby.

Gardening, for example, is a great way to get outside, save money and reduce trips to the grocery store, while also improving your diet. You do not have to have a yard to get started. Many people grow successful gardens in containers or even on their windowsills. Trying a new creative endeavor such as knitting, painting, sewing, or sculpting clay can also make your time more interesting and productive. As an added benefit, CreativeLive points out that creative hobbies can also be turned into a fun side gig, if you sell your creations online. YouTube has numerous videos to help you learn new skills.

Believe it or not, you can turn exercise into your new hobby. Thankfully, you can find an abundance of free online exercises classes and workout tutorials in this helpful article from Baby Boomer Retirement!

Although the pandemic has been going on for months, it will still be a long time until life can get back on track. Learning how to cope with the new normal will take time, but setting new career goals, trying out new hobbies, and getting used to a new way of doing things will help you make it through.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, financial planning, 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.

Remember, if you want more ways to deal with Covid-19 stress, you might want to use a workbook such as "Families and Change: Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions,", (Ad) which is designed to help you and your family recognize and deal with the issues you are all experiencing.

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:

Photo credits:  Pexels