Sunday, June 20, 2021

Get Travel Tips for Italy and an Online Community of Friends!

 Americans love to travel, and Italy is one of their favorite travel destinations. There is so much to see and enjoy there ... the food, the wine, the art, the culture and more!  However, before you travel anywhere, it is always wise to do some research to maximize the pleasure you get from the trip. But where do you start?  If you do not know someone who has already traveled extensively in Italy, you may wonder who can you ask to get honest opinions and knowledgeable answers to your questions.  After returning from your trip, where can you find a group of people who share your love of Italy and will enjoy hearing all about your experiences?    

This week, our guest post is from the authors of Modern Italian, a website devoted to people who share a passion for Italy.  Both before your trip and after your return, you will benefit by joining this delightful community of people.  In addition, if you want to dig a little deeper before your trip, you may also want to read the "Italy Travel Guide: Essential Tips for First-Timers in Italy: How to Travel Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Sicily and Much More." (Ad)  This guide is available in paperback, on Kindle and on Audible, (my personal favorite) so you can listen to it, if you prefer!  

The guest post from the authors of Modern Italian is below:

How to Plan Your Dream Trip to Italy: And Keep it From Ending!

by mi.o

We understand. We have been there. We know that feeling. Actually, most of our members do, too. You went to Italy and fell in love with her. She was beautiful. She was like nothing you have ever seen. You can still feel her all around you. You can hear her sounds. You can smell her perfume. You can taste that gelato, that fresh bread, that pasta, that everything.

Now, you are home and wondering where she went.

You don't have to wonder any longer. We will bring her to you.

If you've never met her, we understand that planning a trip can be stressful and overwhelming. Let us make the introduction through our community before you get a chance to meet her in person.

The website mi.o is an outstanding resource to use when planning a trip to Italy. Community members have visited Italy, sometimes many times, and are very willing to provide recommendations to others as to how to best experience Italy: where to go, how to get there, what to do, and where to stay. mi.o is a community focused 100% on Italy and Italian culture and, therefore, the quality of recommendations from members is better than from other sites, which are not exclusive to Italy. The mi.o community also features experts from Italy who provide their first-person and “native” insight, as well.

The chat feature on mi.o allows for direct communication between members and experts, as there is always someone available to respond to a post or a question. For example, we asked members to share their dream trip to Italy, if they had no constraints, whatsoever. Many of our members selected new places from their travel bucket lists, and others chose familiar ones which elicit dear memories. Either way, these places have been experienced, tested, and come highly recommended!

Here are some of the recommendations made by mi.o members broken up by regions to make it easier for you to plan:

Emilia Romagna

● Ferrara

● Bologna


● Cinque Terre

● Portovenere

● Santa Margherita

● Portofino


● Venice

● Vicenza

● Verona


● Lake Como

● Lake Garda

● Milan


● Lake Orta


● Spello


● Firenze

● Cortona

● San Gimignano

● Siena

● Castiglione della Pescaia

Islands in Southern Italy

● Favignana Lampedusa Marettimo Ustica Capri

● Sardegna


● Alberobello

● Tremiti

● Polignano a Mare

● Locorotondo

● Monopoli

● Castallano Grotte

● Poligano Mare

● Lecce

● Noci

● Gargano


● Cefal├╣

● Erice

● Ragusa

● Calascibetta

● Licodia Eubea

Our members also share their personal experiences while traveling, so you can make the best out of your trip. Pat, one of our mi.o members, states, “Puglia is beautiful. We visited twice and based ourselves in Alberobello. During our time in Puglia, we visited 17 towns including Alberobello. You must try a signature dish - pureed fava beans with chicory (fave e cicoria) from a great restaurant in Alberobello called Gli Ulivi.”

Many of our members can also offer firsthand experience about living in Italy as a retiree. One of mi.o’s experts, Ilene, writes an award-winning blog about living in Italy, after having lived there for two years, now. She uses the community platform to share her insight, mingle with other members, and even learn Italian to help with her time in the country!

Once your trip to Italy is over, it is completely natural to seek outlets to continue the “love affair” with Italy. Our community members relate entirely to return travelers and are eager to hear about your experience. Visitors to Italy often want to learn how to prepare Italian food, speak Italian, buy Italian products and in general, deepen their understanding and “practice” of Italian culture. mi.o provides Groups and Courses like our Italian Speaking Program for Adults for people to learn to speak Italian before their trip and after.

More about mi.o:

mi.o is a community where you can meet others who share your passion for Italy, the Italian language, and Italian culture while learning through self-expression, thematic groups and expert-led courses and live sessions. Membership is FREE and all are welcome. You are invited to join mi.o and tell your friends, too!

Learn more at:

You may also want to prepare for your trip to Italy and many other parts of the world by purchasing a hand-held language translator. (Ad) There are a number of different choices available. 

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

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.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

In-Home Care for Sick or Disabled Adults - What to Expect

 At some point in our lives, it is not unusual for many adults to need some type of in-home care.  It could be because of a chronic illness, or a few weeks of temporary assistance after major surgery.  Often, the recipient of this service does not know how to hire the right service, or what to expect from them. This week we are pleased to have a guest post from Illuminated Hearts, a home-care agency in Philadelphia.  While you may not live in their service area, the information they provide will help families all over the country. 

In addition to getting a home-care aide for yourself or your loved one, you may also want to get them a medical alert device (Ad) so they can call someone for help whenever they are alone.  There are several to choose from, and they can bring you peace-of-mind.

This guest article will also help families know more about the typical cost of a home-care agency, which can vary somewhat depending on where you live, as well as the level of care the patient needs.  Below is the helpful post from Illuminated Hearts. 

What Does It Mean to Receive In-Home Care?

From Illuminated Hearts

We all want to maintain our independence. However, several underlying factors may hinder this. It gets even more complex when you need a great deal of care, and you rely on your relatives to get things done for you, since most family members may already be very busy with their own daily activities. This is where in-home care workers come in, because they can provide assistance whenever the family is unable to. 

In-home care refers to skilled home health care services which are delivered directly to a client in the comfort of their homes. The specific services offered depend on the client’s needs. The clientele for these services include:

     Disabled people

     Chronically ill patients

     People recovering from surgery or illness

     Aging adults, including those who are frail or experiencing dementia


Benefits of In-Home Care Services

You can reap many benefits by hiring someone from an in-home care service. These benefits range from:

     Personalized care at home with a broad range of services

     Affordability - typically less expensive than skilled nursing home care

     Retaining your independence

     Staying close to your friends and family

     Faster recovery from illness or injury


The Cost of In-Home Care Services

The first step in setting up an in-home care plan is knowing the costs involved. The prices vary due to different factors such as:

     Geographical location

     Client’s health

     Amount of time required to care for the patient - from a few hours a day to 24-hour a day care in extreme situations

     Level of care required


According to Genworth’s survey, in the US the average cost of in-home care ranges from $4,290 to $4481 per month. The survey was based on an 8-hour day care schedule, which is equated to approximately $19 per hour and $149 per day.  Your cost may be lower if you only need assistance part of the day, depending on the amount of care the patient needs. Typically, the home-aide companies require a four-hour daily minimum.  Even a few hours a day may be sufficient for the caregiver to help your loved one with personal care, make sure their meals are prepared, do a little light housekeeping, and set up their medications for the day.  This could take a tremendous burden off family members.


Types of In-Home Care Services

Each in-home care service is unique and is based on the client’s preferences and needs, as well as the individual caregiver’s ability and training. Professionals who offer home care services in Philadelphia will always ensure that you hire the right caregiver or medical aide who is capable of matching the patient's specific needs.

1.   Personal Caregiver

This is perhaps the most common type of in-home care service provided. It is also known as non-medical care, and it is meant to help the elderly or someone with a disability participate in their normal daily activities. 

Non-medical care does not need to be recommended by a doctor. However, if your loved one requires a long-term service which runs in shifts of up to 24 hours, throughout the week, you may require a live-in type of service. 

Duties Performed by Non-Medical Caregivers

     Close supervision of patients suffering from memory-loss conditions

     Personal self-care: bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and helping the client take their medications on time

     Companionship at home, and transportation to and from doctor appointments

     Engaging clients in hobbies and other activities to keep them active

     House-keeping activities such as buying groceries, meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping and running small errands

     Mobility assistance including transfer between a wheelchair and bed 

     Enhanced home safety, including prevention from falls


2.   Private Nurse Care

This kind of service requires a registered nurse who can work either in or outside of a hospital setting. It is also known as home-based skilled nursing, and it is intended for clients who have a chronic illness, injury, or who have undergone surgery. 

A doctor must recommend a private nurse. Nursing care is sometimes needed long-term, and may run in shifts of up to 24 hours throughout the week.

Duties Involved

     Post-treatment care and monitoring of chronic conditions such as spinal injury or traumatic brain injury

     Post-surgery care or gastrostomy care

     Administering medications, including injections or IV therapy

     Maintaining feeding tubes, oxygen tubes, a catheter, and other medical devices


3.   Home Health Care - Medic Certified Therapists

This kind of service requires a licensed health practitioner such as a physical, occupational or speech therapist. It is also known as medic-certified home health care, and is meant to provide skilled medical care for patients recovering from an illness, injury, or after a hospital admission. 

These types of therapies must also must be recommended by a doctor. This type of care is also short-term.  The health practitioner makes visits to the home, which typically last up to one hour. These visits will continue until individual expectations and goals are met.

Duties Involved

     Physical therapy: help with strength building exercises and doing stretches meant to ease muscle pain

     Occupational therapy: help patients maintain the skills needed to go back to their daily activities

     Speech-language therapy: help improve speech or communication disorders

     Medical social work: provide the required necessary counseling for patients

Choosing the Best In-Home Care Service

1.   Get References From Your Physician

Most physicians know the best caregivers in their area, and they can advise you accordingly on the in-home care agency or agencies to use.

2.   Have a Budget and an Affordable Payment Plan

It is essential to know how much you can afford and explore all possible options if you need a caregiving service. Also, ensure that you thoroughly discuss your payment plan to avoid unexpected additional charges which may come up in the future.  If the patient has long-term care insurance, you can use that.  If they have a very low income and few assets, their care may be covered by Medicaid. Some types of temporary care, such as physical therapy or short-time care after surgery, may be covered by Medicare or their health insurance.  Explore all your options with your insurance company and with the caregiving agency. They may be able to help you guide you and assist you in completing the necessary forms.

3.   Clearly Define the Responsibilities

Ensure that the caregiver you choose knows everything that is involved and is comfortable handling the necessary care, as stated.

4.   Conduct a Background Check

This has become easier because of the online resources which are available. You may use a company which specializes in conducting background checks.  This will help you know more about the agency and caregivers you will be dealing with.

5.   Know the Caregivers’ Qualifications

This information includes learning about the the training and certifications the caregiver has. Basic First Aid skills are essential for all caregivers, in the event of a health emergency or minor accidents in the home. 

It may take some research before you trust a stranger in your home. Although an in-home caregiver is an excellent option for most patients, be sure to do your homework and hire the best in-home care service to assist your loved one.

About Our Company

Illuminated Hearts is an agency that provides affordable home care services in Philadelphia. We are a home care agency in Philadelphia which accepts Medicaid, allowing us to provide affordable home care for seniors, the disabled, and the intellectually disabled. Schedule your free assessment today by calling 215-921-6624.

You may also learn more about what to expect from a home care aide by reading "Providing Home Care: A Textbook for Home Health Aides."  (Ad) 

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

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:

Photo credit: Pixabay

Friday, June 4, 2021

Semi-Retirement - The New Retirement Model for Baby Boomers

Many Baby Boomers have reservations about completely ending their careers at an arbitrary age during their 60s. They may feel they do not have enough money saved to last the rest of their lives, especially if they come from a long line of people who lived into their 90s. They may also worry about the social isolation they will feel when they no longer spend time with a group of co-workers on a daily basis.  Some fear they will be bored and have nothing to do, particularly if they do not have hobbies they look forward to enjoying after retirement.

As a result of these concerns, this week I particularly appreciated receiving a guest post from the authors of, another website which strives to keep Baby Boomers informed, as we all navigate the complicated process of retiring.  Their post is on how to pursue "semi-retirement," so we can gradually ease ourselves into full retirement at some point in the future.

If you are feeling a little uncertain about what the future holds for you after you retire, you may want to read "Shifting Gears to Your Life and Work After Retirement."  (Ad) It has some great advice and will help you face the future with greatr optimism.

Below is this week's guest post:

Semi-Retirement - What is it?

by the authors of  

Many Baby Boomers choose semi-retirement over full retirement. It is a trend which continues to grow. There are many compelling reasons for making this choice but, while there are advantages to semi-retirement, there are some drawbacks too. Let’s take a look at what semi-retirement is and review some pros and cons on the subject.
What is Semi-Retirement?

Before we discuss the pros and cons of semi-retirement, it is important to know what it is. Semi-retirement comes in different forms but, basically, when a person chooses to semi-retire, they still plan to work but far fewer hours. The most common reason for the decision to semi-retire is to improve cash flow to meet financial obligations, and/or pay for luxuries like travel or investments. But there are other reasons too.
Pros and Cons of Semi-Retirement

People who do not fully retire do so for two reasons. For some people, full retirement leaves them feeling bored and depressed. Working gives their lives purpose and a focus, as well as additional cash to spend or save.

The second reason revolves solely around money. Someone might want to fully retire, but cannot afford to. Others want to maintain a steady income throughout retirement.

In your first few years of retirement, extra income can make life easier and provide you with a better standard of living. So, at least for a while, it makes sense to transition to semi-retirement before full retirement.

Semi-retirement gives Baby Boomers the freedom to work when they want, live where they want, travel, and still produce an income.

Semi-retirement sounds like heaven on earth for some people, but it does come with potential disadvantages. Before you jump into semi-retirement, you want to consider the negatives too.

Should You Start Your Own Business in Retirement?

The first factor to consider is particularly for those who want to start their own business. 
Some people decide that retirement is the time to become their own boss, start a small business, and they take this opportunity to do it! You need to realize, however, that when you first start, it becomes easy to work more hours than you anticipated, or more hours than when you worked at your job full-time. However, some people may find that this motivates and excites them, and working many hours at the start does not bother them. Keep in mind that if your overall goal is to work less, starting a business might not be the best option for you, especially if you are a hard worker.

You might want to avoid starting a business if you need to use a large portion of your savings to finance the new operation. There is no guarantee your business will become successful and generate a profit. You do not want to end up losing money which was intended to help you get you through your retirement. If you are intent on starting your own business, make sure you set a strict budget and stick to it. Do not overspend, unless you are sure you can afford it.

The other potential drawback involves your time. You may come to regret all the time you spend working, when you could have chosen to spend more time with your grandchildren, friends, or family members.

What Jobs Can a Semi-Retired Person Do?

Instead of starting your own business, you may decide to work fewer hours at a regular job. In fact, you may already work at a place which is willing to let you reduce your hours to part-time, so you can keep your job and semi-retire. If you are not looking for a change (other than a reduction in hours) this can be a great option. Unfortunately, this option is not available to the majority of people, so they need to look for other possibilities in finding a semi-retirement job. 

One of the most popular options for those looking to semi-retire is becoming a real estate agent. Working as a real estate salesperson allows for flexible hours and, depending on where you live, it can produce a significant income. It is also fairly simple for Baby Boomers to become a real estate agent.

Consultant jobs are another popular choice for those who choose the path of semi-retirement. The job comes with incredible flexibility, and ideally being a consultant will allow you to work as much or as little as you want. It also allows you to pass your decades of experience onto another person who is in the industry where you built up your career.

These are not the only jobs you can do during semi-retirement. You could set up several small businesses or find a part-time work-from-home job. For example, you could start a blog about your experiences or life. Creating an online store using drop-shipping from a major vendor is another example. You could also give music lessons or tutor people in other skills you have, for example offering cooking classes in your home. You could even start an business where you offer to share the expertise you have accumulated from your career over the years.

Final Thoughts

The decision of whether to semi-retire or completely retire is not an easy choice. There are many things to consider which can impact the final years of your life, depending on the route you take. You may lose time or money during the first phase of semi-retirement if you start a new business. You also need to realize you will have less free time if you decide to continue working. However, semi-retirement can help you transition into full retirement and generate extra income which will come in handy when you finally do fully retire.


Baby Boomers themselves, David and Alice Goldstein founded a few years into their own semi-retirement. They publish articles which focus on the practical needs of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

For more great job ideas for workers at the end of their career, read "The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life." (Ad)

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

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:

Photo credit:  Licensed from Canva