Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Top Retirement Posts in 2021 - What Interested Baby Boomers the Most?


 At the end of each year, we post a collection of the posts which interested Baby Boomers the most during the year.  The subjects can change annually.  For example, in 2020, anything related to Covid was viewed frequently. In 2021, most readers were satisfied with what they had already learned about Covid, although they still wanted to know what to expect when they received their first Covid vaccines.  After that, they moved on this year to read more articles related to traditional retirement topics, such as the articles we posted on financial planning, and working after retirement.  Other topics which interested them included dental implants, rehab facilities, condo insurance, and how to find a good Memory Care facility.

You'll find a summary of the top posts below, along with direct links so you can find them easily and read the ones you missed. 

Top Posts of 2021

Amazon Savings Tips - How to Save Money Shopping Online - Did you know there are many ways to get a better deal, even when shopping online at major sites?  Sometimes on Amazon and the websites of other major companies, you can find coupons or other ways to get a better deal.  Check out these tips before you make your next purchase! 

Dental Implants - Which Kind do You Need? - More and more people are getting implants rather than the types of dentures which our parents received.  There are a lot of advantages to implants, but did you know there is more than one kind?  Learn about the types of implants and decide which one will work best for you. 

Covid 19 Vaccines: What to Expect Before and After You Get the Vaccine - If you are getting a Covid vaccine for the first time, what can you expect?  What side-effects are common?  What can you do to minimize these effects?  Although this article was written in the spring, when the vaccines first became available, the information is still relevant. 

Financial Planning Tips for Retirement - What the Experts Recommend - Are you financially ready for retirement?  If not, what can you do to reach your goals and have the comfortable retirement you hope for?  This article will help you make practical plans. 

Retirement Heaven or Hell - Which Will You Choose - What will your retirement look like?  This book will help you make the necessary plans to increase the likelihood that your retirement will look more like Heaven than Hell.  Even after all the material I have read about retirement, I found great tips in this book.  Read my review. 

Rehab Facilities: How to Choose the Best One for Your Situation - Many American families include at least one person with a substance abuse problem.  Alcoholism and drug addiction affect people of all ages.  This article will help you find the best rehab facility for your family situation.

Semi-Retirement - The New Retirement Model for Baby-Boomers - Many Baby Boomers have discovered that completely stopping work is not realistic for them.  They may want to continue working for financial, emotional or mental reasons. Learn more about how this could be the right retirement plan for you. 

HO-6 Condominium Insurance - What is it and What does it Cover? - Many retirees downsize and purchase a condominium for the first time in their lives as they prepare to simplify their lives.  One of the confusing choices they have to make is purchasing HO-6 Condo Insurance.  This article explains the various choices you may have, depending on the coverage already provided by your Homeowner's Association. 

Memory Care Communities: Part of Retirement Planning - None of us like to think about the time when we may not be able to handle our own affairs any longer. However, it is a reality we need to prepare for.  This article has some practical solutions for dealing for the problem, whether for yourself or a beloved family member.


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

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:Pixabay - geralt

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Friday, December 17, 2021

Safely Travel Alone - Solo Vacation Tips

Solo travel is becoming more popular in the over-50 age group, particularly for women. According to Overseas Adventure Travel, traveling alone has been the fastest growing segment of the travel business.  In 2010, women traveling by themselves made up 27 percent of their business; today solo female travelers make up 50 percent of their bookings.  The Tauck travel company has also seen an increase in solo riverboat cruisers over the age of 50, with 75 percent of the solo travelers being women.  Single travelers may be divorced, widowed, never-married, or married people whose spouses stayed at home while they went on a trip by themselves.  However, before you book your first solo trip, there are a few things you should know.

Traveling Alone Can Be Expensive

Most travel accommodations are priced for double occupancy.  This works well for people who have a travel companion, whether it is a spouse or friend.  For people who want to book rooms alone, the cost can be exorbitant. For example, a river cruise priced at under $2,000 per person for a double occupancy room, could cost over $3,300 for a single person occupying the same cabin alone.  This makes it too expensive for many people to travel alone.  However, some specialty tour companies, such as Wild Women Expeditions, Intrepid Travel, Exodus Travels and Adventure Travel, are helping single travelers by pairing them with other travelers who want to share a cabin, or by offering single accommodations for only a small additional fee.

Sign Up for a Tour or Cruise

While it can be exciting to travel completely alone, doing it through a tour company or on a cruise ship will give you more security and connect you with a group of other travelers to eat and chat with.  This can help you feel more comfortable and less lonely.  It can also be fun to share your adventures with other like-minded people. 

Choose Safe Destinations

All travelers need to recognize the importance of checking the State Department website for travel advisories and warnings.  We are fortunate, today, that we are able to find out important travel warnings with just a click on our computers. 

Years ago, my husband and I took our family on a trip to Cancun, although we had no idea that a hurricane was approaching.  On another occasion we went to Jamaica during a time of violent unrest, when several tourists at our hotel were killed by revolutionaries.  In both cases, we wish we had been able to easily find out about the danger before we left for these destinations.  

It is very helpful to read up on potential destinations before you choose one.  It is worthwhile to read travel guides (Ad), which are available for almost any destination in the world.  It is smart to know a little about what to expect before you head off on your adventure, and it could help your enjoy your trip even more!

Today, we also have the ability to check in advance to see if there are health, political, or weather related reasons why you might want to avoid certain locations, even if something comes up at the last minute.

The state department website can be found at:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

Tell Other People Where You are Going

Remember when you had teenagers and you asked them to let you know where they were going and how to reach them in an emergency?  Today, your adult children or other family members will also worry if they do not know where you are or how to reach you.  Give your itinerary to your family. Check in with them periodically by email or by using a free app on your phone such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messaging.  These are free ways to send texts and you can also use WhatsApp to make video calls.  Of course, you have to make sure you will have WiFi available during your trip.

If you register your trip with the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, they will notify you if something new comes up, such as a local political uprising, an approaching storm, or a serious increase in an epidemic, such as Covid.  Make sure they know how to reach you.

Get Medical Emergency Travel Insurance

We have had several friends who had to end their trips prematurely because of an unexpected illness or injury.  In each case, they had to spend time in a foreign hospital, and then arrange their own travel home.   Before they were allowed to leave the foreign country, they had to pay the hospital bill in full.  Typically, your Medicare plan will not cover any of these costs.  Consequently, you will want to purchase a medical emergency travel plan which covers preexisting conditions, as well as the cost of having a friend or relative meet you at the foreign hospital, if possible.  You will also want the insurance to cover the cost of evacuating you back to the United States as soon as you are able to travel. 

Be Extra Careful About Venturing Out Alone at Night

While it is important to be vigilant and stick with your tour group during the day, it is especially important at night.  Avoid getting drunk, which could make you much more vulnerable.  Watch your drinks carefully, to minimize your risk of being drugged by a friendly stranger.  Sign up for planned group trips to local night spots, restaurants, clubs and theaters.   The tour group leaders will know the fun places to go, will have no trouble getting the necessary reservations or tickets, and will minimize the danger.

Get a Few Safety Travel Accessories

If you are traveling, it could be helpful to purchase a few inexpensive travel accessories such as a secure, hidden, travel belt  (ad) for your money and ID.   If you are concerned about your safety in your hotel room, you can also purchase a portable door lock (Ad) for added security.  Another option is a portable door or window alarm which will awaken you if there is an intruder.  Taking along a few items like these will help you feel more secure wherever you go, although it doesn't replace remaining vigilant whenever you venture out on your own. 

Look for Opportunities to Meet Local People

There are ways to protect yourself while still taking advantage of opportunities to meet local people.  You may want to stay in a B&B or small hotel where you can meet other travelers.  You can also arrange visits with local people through some of the websites listed below:

Meetup.com
Women Welcome Women World Wide
MamazSocialFood.com
EatWith.com

The last two sites allow you to book a meal with local hosts in their own homes in a number of countries around the world.  You will get a home cooked meal and have the opportunity to meet local people. 

Even when using these websites, it is a good idea to see if you can join a tour or put together a group of people who want to go together, so you are not traveling alone or spending time by yourself with strangers.  Many tour companies can include an evening in the home of a local as part of their package.  Ask about it when you book your tour.

It may also help if you take the time to learn a little of the language before you go.  Using a program like Babbel (Ad) could help you learn enough of a language to be able to get around more easily while traveling.  It will help you feel more confident about striking up a conversation or asking for directions, and increase the fun you will have.

Most importantly, do not give up on travel simply because you do not have a companion to go with you.  Do some research, find a tour or cruise, keep an open mind, and have the time of your life!


What About Safety on Road Trips?

You may also decide to take a road trip by yourself.  Some of the above advice will still apply.  According to Nicole Jordon, a young woman who has traveled in her Subaru Forester for two years by herself, below are some things she does to keep herself safe on the road.  Many of these tips are good to follow, no matter what mode of transportation you are using.

Stay in touch with family and friends. Let them know where you are and where you are going.

Take a satellite phone, so you are always in touch, you are able to send your coordinates to your contacts, and you can check for weather updates.  Most satellite phones also have an SOS feature, in case of an emergency.

Download offline maps and take along paper maps, so you can find the location you are headed towards, even if your GPS does not work.

If you are camping, choose sites with good reviews, near towns.  (I would add that they should not be too isolated. Park near a ranger station, if that is an option.)

If you are stuck in a city overnight, be careful about where you park. (This might be a good time to find an actual trailer park or other site which allows overnight camping.) 

Wherever you park, make sure you orient your car toward the exit and prepare yourself for the night, so you can take off quickly, without the need to get out of your car to gather belongings.  Always be prepared to leave quickly in an emergency.

Keep some kind of self-defense weapon with you, such as bear spray. (Ad)  (Nicole also suggests keeping a knife nearby.  The weapon you choose is a personal matter, but the bear spray tip is a good one, and they are available in a variety of price ranges and multi-packs. In addition to being able to use it on human predators, the spray can also be used on animals, especially if you camp in remote areas.) 

Maintain your car so it is less likely to break down in an isolated area.

Install curtains in your vehicle, so you can have privacy at night.

Stay well supplied, with extra food and water, and keep your gas tank full.

Don't share too much personal information with people you meet.  In particular do not tell them that you are traveling alone.  Suggest that you are on your way to meet friends, and be vague about where you are going.  With the same security concerns in mind, do not post exactly where you are on social media, because you do not want strange people to try to locate you.  If you want to post photos, post them a few days after you have left the place.

If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, act on it.  As Nicole says, "trust your gut."  Leave.

(Source:  https://www.yahoo.com/news/ive-living-road-myself-2-204045478.html - Article by Nicole Jordon)

Most important of all, be a little adventurous and have fun traveling.  There are so many interesting places, both in our country and all around the world.


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive a weekly email with the most current post.
 
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 learning more about traveling after retirement, financial planning for retirement, where to retire, Social Security, Medicare, common medical issues as you age, and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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

Source of websites and statistics:  AARP Bulletin, December 2019

Photo credit:  Morguefile.com

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Friday, December 10, 2021

When Assisted Living for the Elderly Might Be the Best Choice


 Many adults with aging parents worry about when they might need to help their loved ones move to an Assisted Living community. It can be a difficult decision.  Assisted Living is not the same as a skilled nursing facility.  The person moving to Assisted Living probably does not need a nurse checking on them every few minutes, but they would still benefit from a little help in order to have the best quality of life in their later years. How can you know when your elderly relatives are ready to move to Assisted Living?

This week's guest post is from Jim McKinley who has addressed this topic in a thoughtful way.  Readers may find it very helpful in determining when it is time for them to take their family member to visit various Assisted Living communities and choose the one which will work best for them.  Jim McKinley's guest post is below:

Signs It May Be Time for Your Elderly Loved One to Consider Assisted Living

If you have an elderly parent or grandparent living on their own, they may benefit from moving to an assisted living community. This will alleviate the burden of daily tasks like housekeeping, cooking, and yard work. It can also provide a valuable social network. As The Elder Care Alliance explains, socialization can help reduce stress and ward off depression and anxiety in older individuals. 

Discover the signs your loved one is ready to transition to a community in this article presented by Baby Boomer Retirement. This guide also provides guidance on how to bring up the topic with your loved one and explains how to choose a fitting facility — and pay for it. 

Signs it is time for an elderly parent or grandparent to transition to senior living 

A lack of home maintenance is one sign it's time for an older person to consider moving to an assisted living facility. Age-related decline in physical ability makes home and yard maintenance tough. This can be seen in piles of laundry, undone dishes, and general messiness. 

Some seniors may also start to lose weight because they are unable to do the shopping and cooking required for healthy eating. If your loved one needs more frequent medical care, they can also benefit from a skilled nursing facility, where they have constant support from staff. 

More frequent accidents are another indicator that it's time to make a change. The University of Rochester reveals that a lack of flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination can increase the risk of falls in elderly individuals. Unfortunately, even a short fall can pose a possibly serious health threat. 

How to discuss the option of assisted living with your elderly loved one 

If you believe that your loved one is ready for assisted living, broaching the topic can be difficult. Experts recommend recruiting siblings to help and emphasizing the positive points of the transition. For example, your parents or grandparents will have to do less housework and have more time for socializing. 

Further, come prepared with information when you open the discussion. Have some pamphlets or information from local facilities that might interest them. You can also schedule tours together to visit institutions in person. The point is to give your loved one as much personal agency over the process as possible. 

How to find the right community for your loved one 

As you check out assisted living options with your loved one, consider their needs. For example, do they require active nursing care? Location is also a consideration. Some seniors prefer to move closer to family, for example. This offers various benefits, such as being able to participate actively in grandchildren's lives. Websites like SeniorCare can help you and your loved one select a well-reviewed facility in the Dallas area that’s close to your family. 

Also, check out each facility's meal options, social agenda, and physical activity program. For instance, many facilities offer group exercise courses covering everything from Tai Chi to water aerobics. Regular exercise helps seniors remain independent. 

Finally, consider the cost. According to SeniorLiving.org, the average cost of assisted living is $4,000 monthly. Your loved one can sell their home to help cover expenses. While in-person viewings can be tricky during COVID-19, you can go ahead with virtual viewings. Redfin details options like 3D walkthroughs, virtual open houses, and video chat tours. 

Making the move to assisted living can be daunting at first. However, your loved one will benefit from this transition. The above tips can help you guide them through the process.

Once your loved one moves to assisted living, you may be interested in ordering them gifts (Ad) to help with the transition. You can find anything from large print crossword puzzle books, to special adaptive silverware, and many other types of gifts to make their life easier.  


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/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 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: http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Pexels.com

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Friday, December 3, 2021

Viruses - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

 After spending the past two years dealing with a worldwide pandemic, viruses of all kinds are in the forefront of our minds.  What do we really know about them?  What are they?  How do they spread? What are the best ways to protect ourselves?

Recently, I ran across an article on viruses, originally published on THEHEALTHY.com, and thought the readers of Baby-Boomer-Retirement would like to know a few general facts from that article, as well as others I read. I was surprised by what I learned. One of the most serious things I discovered is that viruses can be invisible killers and what we don't know about them can be very dangerous.  Below are a few facts which may interest you.

Facts About Viruses

1.  Viruses are not technically alive, since they do not have cells and cannot survive on their own. Instead, they need to infect a host (like a human) and use that host in order to replicate.  They do this by taking over the host's cells, which can cause those cells to burst and die.  That is why viruses make us sick.  (Pretty disgusting to realize that a virus could be making our own cells burst!)

2.   There are many ways we make ourselves more vulnerable to picking up a virus, including biting our nails, touching contaminated surfaces, smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke, engaging in sex with an infected person, or doing something as natural and innocent as inhaling the virus from the cough, breath or sneezes of infected people.  That is why we do not want to "share the air" with strangers, if we can avoid it. 

3.  There are a wide variety of viruses.  Some diseases you may not have known are caused by viruses include rabies, herpes, warts, influenza, the common cold, chicken pox, measles, mumps, polio, smallpox, rubella, roseola, shingles, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), norovirus, yellow fever, dengue fever, meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis, Ebola, and Zika. Since 2020, we can  now add Covid-19, including a variety of mutations such as Delta and Omicron, to the list.  There are also a number of lesser known viruses, which can be serious if they infect you. 

4. Many viruses remain in our body for decades after we think we have recovered from the illness they caused, and those old viruses can come back and cause new health problems later in life.  For example, polio can re-immerge years or decades later and cripple someone; chicken pox can return as shingles; some research has shown that the common herpes simplex virus may contribute to Alzheimer's disease; Covid-19 can cause later neurological symptoms or other problems, and we have no idea what could happen 20 years after recovering from an infection; and mononucleosis may make you more likely to develop seven serious diseases in later life including lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and Type 1 Diabetes.    (From: https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/news/release/2018/mono-virus)

Sometimes, the secondary infections can be more dangerous than the original infection. One example of that is the childhood illness chicken pox.  Although most children recover from it without a problem, later in life they could develop shingles, and shingles increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.   

It has also been discovered that people can get repeat cases of Covid-19 (about once every 16 months), and sometimes, the later cases are more serious than the first case. For example, a previous infection with the Delta variant does NOT protect you from getting the Omicron variation, even just a few months later.  In addition, people who get Covid, including a mild case of it, often experience some brain shrinkage afterwards.  No one knows how long that brain shrinkage will last, or if it could make you more prone to developing dementia in later life.  Everyone should try to avoid Covid if at all possible. 

Another serious future consequence of a virus is herpes simplex, which causes cold sores, and has also been linked to an increased risk of  developing Alzheimer's disease! The good news is that people who have taken an anti-viral medication to treat their herpes were able to cut this increased dementia risk by 90 percent.  That is something to consider if you think you will just "wait out" that cold sore.

5.  Although there are treatments for viruses, there is no actual cure for the flu and most other viruses.  Antiviral medications like Tamiflu may help you recover faster, but they are not considered a cure.

6.  Prevention is the best way to avoid catching a virus.

    Wear a facemask in crowds, not just to prevent Covid-19, but a host of other air-bourn viruses

    Get vaccinated against viruses, when a vaccine is available. Vaccines cannot prevent you from being exposed, but they could protect you from becoming seriously ill.

    Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. They make you more vulnerable to air-bourn viruses

    Wash your hands with soap and water regularly.  Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth and nose, so you do not infect yourself after touching a surface with a virus on it.  If you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. However, soap and water is the preferred cleansing method.

    Clean surfaces with soap and water, hydrogen peroxide, or ammonia, not antibacterial wipes, to protect against surface viruses.

7. Lifestyle changes can help build your immune system and make it more difficult for a virus to take hold.  Among the changes which could help prevent some viruses include making sure you get regular sleep, eating a nutritious diet, getting exercise (but don't overdo it), getting enough Vitamin D, drinking green tea, and avoiding animal bites which could cause rabies.  In fact, avoid handling dead animals, including bats, if there is any possibility they died from rabies.  It is possible to become infected from dead animals, including a bat you might find lying around your property.  In 2021, three people in the U.S. died of rabies after handling a dead bat.  None of them thought to mention the incident to their doctors, until it was too late.

8.  You can treat warts with duct tape.  Covering a wart with a small piece of duct tape may be more effective than cryotherapy!  This was certainly an interesting piece of virus information.

The bottom line is that we need to treat viruses with respect.  Although everyone gets infected by a virus from time to time, many people do not realize how dangerous they can be.  Viruses are highly infectious, invisible serial killers!


You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

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 common medical issues, 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:  http://www.baby-boomer-retirement.com

Photo credits:  Google images

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