Saturday, December 30, 2023

Top Retirement Stories of 2023 - What Interested Baby Boomers the Most?

Once again, it is time to review the articles which interested retirees the most during the past year.  I was delighted to see that the article on volunteering was, by far, the most popular topic of the year.  This is so important because it is also a way that people can achieve other goals, such as postponing dementia and maintaining our mental health.  Other topics of interest this years included starting a business to help caregivers, saving Social Security by making a few small changes, eliminating the unfair WEP / GPO programs that reduce Social Security benefits for certain groups of people, learning how our political policies can affect our life expectancy, knowing what to expect if you are diagnosed with lung cancer and, finally, discovering the relationship between getting routing vaccinations and lowering our risk of dementia.  

These are a wide range of topics which interested my readers this year, and it shows that Baby Boomers continue to live active lives with varying interests throughout their lifetimes.  Below are the ten most popular articles on this retirement blog for 2023.  The links are included, so you can easily read them for yourself!

Volunteering on Vacation or in Retirement - Improve Your Life and the Lives of Others - This article was read more than twice as often as the second most popular article on my blog.  It lists several agencies which can help you find the right volunteer opportunity for you all around the world.  These experiences can be life changing, and I sincerely hope that this article inspired a number of people to do something fantastic with their lives!

Dementia - Are You Increasing Your Risk - As always, the topic of dementia also attracted many readers this year.  While some causes of dementia cannot be changed, there are certain behaviors which can substantially increase your risk, including our diet and leading a sedentary lifestyle.  Read more about what you can and cannot change to reduce your chances of getting dementia.

Help Senior Caregivers by Starting a Support Business - Have you ever thought about starting your own business?  Once area where there is a lot of demand is in the area of support businesses for people who are taking care of others.  There are a number of different services you could offer to family caregivers including counseling, transportation, caregiving assistance and food services, depending on your background and interests.  This article explains some of the practical considerations you need to consider in starting any new business. 

Can Social Security Be Saved? Yes With a Few Changes - This article offers practical, realistic solutions to saving Social Security for our generation, as well as for our children and grandchildren.  With the Social Security Trust Fund expected to run out of money within another 10 years, it is time that Congress stepped up and made the necessary changes.  This is more likely to happen if people understand what needs to be done, and make the effort to contact their Senators and U.S. Representatives and ask them to take action.  The alternative is that benefits could be cut at some point, which would simply force more people onto unfunded government programs such as welfare and food stamps.  That makes no sense at all.  Read the article and tell your government officials what you would like them do.   

Teachers, Public Employees, the WEP - GPO and Your Retirement - Did you know that public employees and teachers in about half the United States have their EARNED Social Security benefits cut by as much as 67% because they also get a public pension.  So, if they work as teachers or public employees, but spend part of their adult life working in the private sector, they get very little Social Security, even though they earned it.  In addition, this only happens in about half the U.S., because some states allow public employees to get their full earned Social Security benefits.  Learn more about this, and find out if your retirement benefits, or the benefits of someone in your family, could be affected.

Life Expectancy Differences Between Democrats and Republicans - Did you know that how you vote and where you live could make a dramatic difference in how long you might expect to live?  In fact, there is a 20 years difference in the life expectancy of Democrats who live in Democratic leaning counties, and Republicans living in Republican leaning counties, with Democrats having a life expectancy of 86 and Republicans having a life expectancy of 66.  This article comes complete with a long list of reference material at the end, so you can investigate the sources for yourself.  While this author is not a member of either political party, this information may give some readers something to consider the next time they go to the polls.  Do you really want to vote for candidates who have want to implement policies that could shorten your life or the lives of your loved ones? 

Lung Cancer Diagnosis - What Happens Next? - This article hit very close to home for me, since I was diagnosed with lung cancer in March of 2023, just six months after a close friend died of it.  Because I was so familiar with the topic, this article covers the symptoms, stages, treatments and resources to help lung cancer patients.  Having gone through this myself this year, I was particularly gratified to know that so many of my readers also were interested in learning more about the topic.  Unfortunately, that probably also means that many of my readers have either been diagnosed with cancer themselves, or have a loved one who has been diagnosed with it.

Maintaining Mental Health as We Age - One common issue with millions of Baby Boomers is that our mental health often declines as we age.  This article explains how to maintain our mental health through socialization, staying connected, eating right, exercise, getting enough sleep, finding hobbies, and seeking help.  Learn more about how to apply these methods in your life, so you do not fall into depression, anger, resentment and unhappiness as you get older, which happens to far to many of us.

Earn Extra Money During Retirement - Tips for Earning When You are Barely Scraping By - This article provides the reader with a variety of ways you can earn extra money when you are struggling to make ends meet on your Social Securityor pension alone.  These suggestions could also help people of all ages, and includes ideas like renting out unused space in your home, or earning money from your hobbies, as well as many others. Since so many people have trouble making ends meet, especially after they retire, these tips could make a huge difference in your life. 

Can Routine Vaccines Reduce Dementia Risk as You Age? What Else Can Lower Your Risk? - This article is based on several fascinating studies which show a correlation between getting routine vaccines, like those for the flu and shingles, and having a lower risk of developing dementia.  The studies have taken place in different states and nations, and they all seem to show the same result.  It is certainly worth considering.  Read more about the studies for yourself in this article. 

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Know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer?  Don't know how to show your support?  Give them this stainless steel bracelet that says, "Cancer Sucks." (Ad)  It is available in a polished steel silver color, or electroplated gold or rose gold finishes.  You can also have their name or a personal message engraved on the back.  It is a gift that they will cherish.

Find more gifts and personalized items of jewelry for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts at: (Ad)

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.

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Photo credits:  Etsy and Laguna Beach Photo by Author

Friday, December 15, 2023

Making Friends as an Adult: The Art of Building Meaningful Connections

We can still make friends as we age.

Life changes as we get older, especially after retirement. We may move to a new community, far from the friends we knew in the past.  Even if we stay in the same area, some of our long-time friends may have passed away or moved to be closer to their adult children.  We no longer are connected to the people we worked with over the years and, gradually, those relationships may slip away.

Being lonely can be dangerous.  It is associated with worse health outcomes, and could contribute to developing dementia at an earlier age.  However, with so many life changes after retirement, how can we avoid becoming lonely when we feel less connected to our old friends?

Making friends as an adult can seem like a daunting task, especially if you've recently retired, moved to a new city, started a new job, or experienced a significant life change. Unlike the structured environment of a job or school, where friendships often develop organically, adulthood presents unique challenges when it comes to building new connections. However, with a little effort and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone, making friends, even as you age, can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Let's explore some effective strategies to help you navigate the journey of forming meaningful friendships as an adult.

Embrace Your Interests:

One of the most natural ways to make friends as an adult or retiree is to pursue group activities you genuinely enjoy. Whether it's joining a book club, attending a fitness class, getting involved in your place of worship, participating in a hobby group, or volunteering for a cause you're passionate about, engaging in activities that align with your interests will naturally connect you with like-minded individuals. Shared passions create a solid foundation for friendships to flourish, as you already have a common ground to build upon.

Be Open and Approachable:

Approachability is key when making new friends. A friendly smile and open body language can go a long way in encouraging others to approach you. Show genuine interest in people by actively listening to what they have to say. Ask questions and be curious about their experiences, opinions, and aspirations. Being approachable and genuinely interested in others makes it easier for potential friends to feel comfortable around you.  Be willing to share a little about your own background, but also stop talking about yourself long enough to ask others about their background, their families, and their interests.  Then, sit back and genuinely listen. You might be surprised at the interesting experiences other people are willing to share with you!

Attend Social Events:

Social events are fantastic opportunities to meet new people. Attend local festivals, social events, parties, or community gatherings. Be open to initiating conversations with strangers, and don't be afraid to introduce yourself. Remember that everyone is at the event to connect with others, so don't be shy about starting a conversation and sharing a bit about yourself.

If you have recently moved to a new retirement community, you will find that most of the people there also desire to meet their new neighbors.  They, too, want to form new connections!

Join Online Communities:

You can still make new friends, even if it is hard for you to get out and socialize as you age. The internet has made it easier than ever to find like-minded individuals and stay in touch with your family and old friends. Join online forums, social media groups, or platforms dedicated to your interests or hobbies. Engage in positive discussions, offer helpful advice, and connect with people who share similar passions. These virtual connections can often lead to real-life friendships and provide a safe space for introverts or those with social anxiety to ease into social interactions.

However, you also need to be cautious about online relationships.  Sadly, some people use these groups as a way to gain the trust of other members and then ask them for money.  Immediately cut off communication with anyone who begins to hint that they need money.  

You should also avoid getting into heated political or religious discussions with others online.  This will only make it harder to form friendships with others. 

Be Patient and Persistent:

Building genuine friendships takes time and effort. Don't be discouraged if you don't find your tribe right away, especially in a new community. Be patient and persistent in your pursuit of meaningful connections. Keep attending events, joining clubs, and engaging with others, even if it feels challenging at times. True friendships are worth the investment, and the process itself can be enriching and enlightening.

Be Authentic:

Authenticity is essential when making friends as an adult. Be yourself and embrace your uniqueness. Pretending to be someone you're not just to fit in will ultimately lead to superficial connections that lack depth. Embrace your quirks and vulnerabilities, as they make you relatable and genuine. When you are authentic, you'll naturally attract people who appreciate and value you for who you truly are.

Be Accepting and Uncritical

By the time we have reached our 50s or 60s, many of us have had a lot of life experience.  This can cause us to feel as if we know more than other people, and we can even start to believe we know what is best for others.  Learning to keep our strong opinions to ourselves, and being less critical of other people will make it easier to find friends.  Everyone wants to be accepted just as they are, and criticizing other people for the choices they have made is only going to cause hurt feelings.  Having an accepting and uncritical attitude will also ease strained family relationships, thus improving those connections, too.

Show Empathy and Support:

Friendships are nurtured through mutual support and empathy. Be there for your potential friends during both happy and challenging times. Celebrate their successes and offer a listening ear and a caring heart during their struggles. Being a reliable and empathetic friend fosters trust and strengthens the bond between you and others.

If you hear about a friend or neighbor who is going through a challenging health emergency, offer them a ride to a medical appointment, or take them a meal, or even a few cupcakes.  Just showing them how much you care will be greatly appreciated.  You may never know how one act of kindness can change a life!

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone:

Making friends as an adult often requires stepping outside of your comfort zone. Be willing to take the initiative to plan outings, invite people to join you in activities, or attend events. Embrace new experiences, as they offer great opportunities to meet new people and expand your social circle.

You might even occasionally invite your new friends or neighbors over for dinner, a barbecue, or just some morning coffee or an evening glass of wine on your patio.  Extending casual invitations to friends is a lovely way to get to know others better and deepen your friendships.

Over the years, every time my husband and I moved to a new neighborhood, we always made the first overture to our new neighbors by hosting a block party and inviting everyone who lived nearby.  It made it easier to get to know everyone quickly, and we never regretted reaching out to our neighbors within a few months of moving into a new home.

While making friends as an adult might not be as effortless as it was during our school days, the rewards of meaningful connections are well worth the effort. Embrace your interests, be open and approachable, attend social events, join online communities, be patient and persistent, be authentic, be less critical, show empathy and support, and step out of your comfort zone. By applying these strategies, you'll increase your chances of forming lasting and fulfilling friendships that enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

Remember, friendship is a beautiful journey of shared experiences, laughter, and support, and it's never too late to embark on that journey. So, take that first step, and let the world open up to you in ways you never imagined.  It could also keep you healthier and help you postpone dementia as long as possible!

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Don't forget to nurture your friendships, too.  When I was a Girl Scout leader, we taught the girls this song.  "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold."  In other words, even as we make new friends, be sure to reach out to the ones you are still in contact with from the past.  Send them holiday and birthday cards.  Call them occasionally.  

If you are looking for small gift ideas for your friends, you might want to check out my Etsy shop at:

It has a number of inexpensive gift ideas to send a friend for any special occasion, including this bracelet.  The gift box can easily be personalized, too, at no extra charge, if you contact me on my Etsy shop with the personal message you want to send.

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 issues as we age, 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.

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Photo credits: Google Pixabay images and my Etsy Store 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Can Routine Vaccines Reduce Dementia Risk as You Age? What Else Lowers Your Risk?

 Unlike most topics which are covered here, I was hesitant to discuss the subject of vaccines because they have become so controversial.  However, the October 2023 AARP Bulletin reported on an interesting study about the relationship between vaccines and dementia.  It may or may not affect your decision to stay up-to-date with your routine vaccinations, but it may help some people make a thoughtful decision.

The core discovery from Paul E Schulz, an M.D. and Professor of Neurology, as well as the Director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Center at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston, said "There is the potential fringe benefit of vaccination, which is reducing the risk of Alzheimer's."

Fascinating, to say the least!

Of course, this does not mean that everyone who gets vaccinated for the flu and other diseases will never get dementia.  It also does not mean that everyone who decides against being vaccinated will definitely develop dementia.  It only means that getting regular vaccinations for common illnesses like the flu, Covid and Shingles will improve your odds of avoiding dementia.  

Researchers have long observed that our behaviors during our adult lives play a significant part in determining whether or not we will have dementia in later years.  Getting our vaccines may be just one more factor we need to consider. 

What are the Facts About Vaccines and Dementia Risk?

Researchers such as Schulze from the University of Texas, as well as other researchers around the world, have made the following observations:

1.  People who get vaccinated for the flu and other infectious diseases are less likely to get dementia. They speculate that it might be because, when you get sick from the flu and other infections, we become more likely to get dementia. They aren't certain, but they have observed that there seems to be a relationship between vaccines and dementia which indicates that vaccines appear to offer a substantial protection to the brain.  

2.  When they compared two groups of 935,887 patients each, in the U.S,  researchers learned that those who had at least one flu vaccine over a four year period were 40% LESS likely to develop Alzheimer's, compared to people who were not vaccinated.  The more vaccinations the patients had received, the better off they were.  It does appear that vaccines are causing people to be protected against some types of dementia.

3.  The flu vaccine was not the only vaccination which seemed to protect against dementia. When elderly people received the Shingles vaccine in Wales, the group who were vaccinated had about a 20% lower dementia risk over a seven year period compared to those who were not vaccinated against Shingles.

4.  When Schulze and other researchers at the University of Texas studied the effects of a variety of vaccines, including those for shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia, and the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), they discovered that those who were vaccinated against these diseases also had a lower rate of dementia. 

5.  Virologist Robert T. Schooley, an M.D. and infectious disease specialist at the University of California in San Diego, also noticed that people who have chronic inflammation from diseases such as HIV show signs of faster cognitive decline.  This indicates that diseases which seem unrelated to Alzheimer's may still play a factor in developing dementia.

6.  It seems that using vaccines to avoid a wide variety of diseases can play a significant role in avoiding dementia.   

What Else Can You Do to Reduce Your Dementia Risk?

Researchers at the University of California in Irvine, the Cleveland Clinic, as well as others, have also discovered additional ways to avoid or postpone dementia.  Sometimes they are called the Six Pillars of Brain Health. These include:

1.  Eat a healthy diet with a "plant-slant."  Good examples are the Mediterranean Diet and the MIND Diet.

2.  Get regular exercise, at least 150 minutes a week, to increase the blood flow to your brain.

3.   Exercise your brain with activities such as reading books and working puzzles in order to slow down cognitive decline.

4.   Get at least seven hours of sleep each night to help your brain "cleanse" itself and remove the toxins that build up during the day. 

5.   Have regular physical exams and follow your doctor's instructions in order to stay as healthy as possible.  In particular, you want to do whatever you can to avoid strokes, heart disease and similar problems which can have a devastating effect on your brain.  Since Covid-19 has been shown to increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack in the following months, getting the Covid-19 vaccine is another way in which vaccinations could have a protective effect on your brain and lower your dementia risk.

6.   Socialize, socialize, socialize.  We need human connections, stimulating conversations, and a sense of being a part of a community in order to keep our brains operating at their best. 

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Many people believe that having a sense of gratitude can also help keep your brain healthy.  Being grateful for what we have and for the people in our lives is a good attitude to have for healthy mental health, and when working to maintain positive relationships with friends and families.  

You may want to get yourself something like this engraved bracelet, available in steel, gold or rose gold finishes, as a reminder of the importance of gratitude in your life.  You can personalize it with a name or significant date on the back.

Look for it and a wide variety of other gifts and jewelry at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts at: (Ad)

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.

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Photo credits:  Etsy and Pixabay

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Earn Extra Money During Retirement - Tips for Earning When You are Barely Scraping By

Retirement is often seen as a well-deserved break from the daily grind, a time to relax, travel, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, for many retirees, financial concerns can cast a shadow over this period of life. The good news is that there are various ways to earn extra money during retirement, allowing you to supplement your income, pursue your passions, and maintain your financial independence. Let's explore some creative and practical ways to earn extra income during your retirement years.

Part-Time Work

One of the most straightforward ways to boost your income during retirement is by taking on part-time work. Many retirees find fulfilling roles in areas like retail, customer service, consulting, or tutoring. You can leverage your decades of experience and expertise to land positions that suit your interests and availability.  

If you decide on working part-time with the public, such as working in retail, it could also help you postpone dementia!  Research shows that expanding the amount of time you spend socializing has a positive effect on our brain health.

On the other hand, if you want to stay close to home for health or other reasons, it is possible to earn extra money doing things such as tutoring online.  If you have experience teaching math, reading or other skills, this could be an excellent way to increase your income safely from home, and work your own hours.  Just promote your new business through friends, flyers, a website, or local sites like Nextdoor.  

Freelancing and Consulting

If you have specialized skills or knowledge in your field, consider freelancing or consulting. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr can connect you with clients seeking your skills. This allows you to work on projects at your own pace while earning extra income.  Many people turn to these sites to get help with projects they are unable to complete on their own.  As a result, if you are good at graphic art, setting up webpages, or have other computer skills, you may find you can earn a nice extra income through these sites.

Another way you can profit from freelancing is to write your own book and upload it to the free website called CreateSpace.  This is an Amazon affiliated company which allows writers to create their own books, and list them for sale on Amazon.  You determine the sales price and the amount of profit you will earn from a sale.  I have several books listed on Amazon, including my most popular book, "Your Guide to a Fabulous Las Vegas Wedding." (Ad)  I wrote it after several friends and family members were married in Las Vegas, and a number of people asked me questions about it. You can write fiction or non-fiction, and it costs you nothing upfront to have your book published on demand.  Amazon takes a portion to cover their printing costs, and you keep the profit. 

Rent Out Your Space

If you have extra space in your home, consider renting it out through platforms such as Airbnb. This can be a profitable way to use your home and earn extra cash without a major commitment.

However, do not just limit yourself to renting out your house. If you do not want to deal with having strangers in your home, consider renting out space in your garage, shed or basement for storage. Many people would love a place to store an extra car, use as an artist's studio, or for similar purposes.

Pursue Your Hobbies

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Retirement is an excellent time to focus on your passions and hobbies. Whether it's photography, painting, crafting, or gardening, you can turn your hobbies into profitable ventures. You can sell your creations online through platforms like Etsy or teach workshops and classes in your community.  This is an excellent way to sell your home crafts, including artwork, knitting, or woodworking.

It is easier to earn money on these platforms than you think.  For example, the writer of this blog also has an Etsy store and, within a few months, started making regular sales.  My shop is (Ad) where I design and sell a variety of gift items, including jewelry, t-shirts, mugs and more.  I don't even have to make or ship the items myself.  I simply design them on the website of a dropshipping company which will make the products on demand, after they are ordered, and ship them to the buyers.  It is a fun way to use your artistic talents to earn extra money.  

Online Content Creation

The digital age offers countless opportunities for content creation. If you're tech-savvy and enjoy writing, blogging, making videos on YouTube, or even starting a podcast, you can generate income through ads, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.  If you like to write or create content, and you are passionate about a topic, you may be able to earn extra money in this way.

Share Your Knowledge

Your wealth of life experiences can be valuable to others. Consider offering coaching, mentoring, or life advice services. Many people are willing to pay for guidance from those who have navigated similar life challenges.

Invest Wisely

While not an immediate source of income, investing wisely can yield returns that supplement your retirement income. Consult with a financial advisor to create an investment strategy tailored to your needs and risk tolerance.  Try not to use your retirement savings, or even live on the income it produces, for as long as possible.  You want to use the power of compounding to increase your future income as much as possible, so you have it when you really need it. 

Online Surveys, Market Research and Online Games

Completing online surveys and market research can provide a small but consistent source of income. Many companies pay for your opinions on various products and services.  In addition, downloading free apps like Solitaire Cash and Bingo Cash can make it possible for you to win money which is paid to you securely through PayPal, Apple Pay, or directly into your bank account.  (However, in the interest of safety, I recommend that you not give them your bank account information until you are comfortable with these apps and their security. In addition, never sign up for a site that charges you to participate.)

Pet Sitting or Dog Walking

If you love animals, then pet sitting or dog walking can be a delightful way to earn extra income. Websites like Rover and Wag! can connect you with pet owners in your area.  Check with the Small Business Administration in your area to make sure you are following all the necessary legal requirements. 

Sell Unwanted Items

Decluttering your home not only creates a more comfortable living space but can also help you earn extra money. Sell unwanted items through garage sales, online marketplaces like eBay, or local classifieds.  If you have spent years accumulating more items in your home than you will ever use, retirement is a good time to begin to let go of some of them.  It will simplify your life and could help earn you some money.

See If You Qualify for Public Assistance

If you are really struggling financially, you may also qualify for some types of public assistance.  For example, you might be able to get SSI (Supplemental Security Income), if your Social Security benefits are extremely low. You might also be eligible for SNAP (food stamps) or housing vouchers.  If you are not old enough, yet, for Medicare, you may be eligible for a low cost medical insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  If you are struggling to buy food and pay for your other expenses, find out about the food banks in your area.  They could help you stretch your food dollars much further. 


By exploring these creative ways to supplement your income, you can continue to live comfortably and pursue your dreams during your retirement years. Remember, the key is to find a balance that allows you to enjoy both your newfound freedom and financial stability. So, go ahead and explore the opportunities that suit your interests and skills, and unlock the potential for a fulfilling and financially secure retirement.

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As mentioned above, I have set up an Etsy store as a fun way to help others and supplement my own retirement income.  One example is the lovely anniversary necklace you can see shown here.

You can even have the custom message on the card inside the gift box personalized with whatever message you would like to share with a loved one.  Just let me know what you would like it to say.  I also carry a beautiful line of affordable engraved jewelry in my shop.

 You can check it all out at: (Ad)

You will find a wide selection of lovely jewelry, including items which can be engraved with a special name, date or short slogan.

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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Photo credit: Pixabay and

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Go Back to College During Retirement and Reignite Your Life!

Saddleback College, a community college in South Orange County, California, offers an educational emeritus program for people over the age of 55 in our area.  Free emeritus classes are offered on their campus and in Senior Centers and clubhouses all over the South County region, but particularly in Laguna Woods, the retirement community where we live.  The college offers classes in accounting, art, pottery, health, history, music, technology, photography, political science, Spanish, theater and many other topics.  

However, like many other colleges and universities across the U.S., our local colleges also offer degree programs, available for a fee, which enable local residents of all ages the opportunity to go back to college and get trained in a new field, either to advance their career opportunities or for personal enrichment.

Because thousands of people over the age of 55 are taking advantage of the opportunity to go back to college during their "Golden Years," I was delighted to receive this guest post by Kimberly Hayes on the advantages of pursuing more education as we age.  Her article is below:

Reignite Your Golden Years: Benefits of Academic Pursuits in Retirement

by Kimberly Hayes

The notion that education is solely for the young is swiftly becoming outdated. An increasing number of retirees are choosing to head back to the classroom to enrich their lives further, either by taking in-person or virtual classes. This article sheds light on the multiple advantages of resuming academic or skill-based learning during one's retirement years.

Sharpening the Mind

Aging can sometimes be accompanied by a slow decline in cognitive abilities. Going back to educational settings helps combat this by continually stimulating the brain. This mental exercise not only preserves memory but also enhances your critical thinking ability.

Tackling new subjects and solving problems serves as mental gymnastics that keep your mind agile and alert. The benefits are twofold: enhancing your mental health, while also acquiring new knowledge.

Navigating the Virtual Classroom

The beauty of modern education lies in its accessibility. Virtual classrooms make it simpler than ever to learn from the comfort of your home, a boon for retirees who may have mobility concerns or who do not live close to a college or university.

Web-based courses in areas such as marketing are a good fit, as they provide an avenue to earn a bachelor's degree in business while enjoying the retirement lifestyle. The flexibility of online programs makes it possible to juggle leisure time and academic goals.

Shifting Professional Gears

Contrary to popular belief, retirement doesn't have to mean the end of professional pursuits. Some individuals find it the perfect time to switch careers or become consultants.

Going back to school equips you with the necessary skills and qualifications to make such transitions smoother. Whether it's obtaining certifications or completing degree programs, education serves as the stepping stone to new vocational adventures.

Staying Ahead in the Digital World

Today's world is tech-centric, and being disconnected from it can be isolating. Returning to educational settings offers retirees like yourself the chance to catch up on the latest technological advancements.

From using modern software tools to understanding data security, these skills can prove to be invaluable in everyday life. Tech-savviness yields a wealth of practical benefits while creating a sense of relevance and connection to the modern world.

Nurturing Connections

Schools and educational institutions are hubs of social activity, making them ideal venues for meeting new people. The sense of community that forms in these settings offers you the chance to forge meaningful relationships.

These connections—whether with fellow students, educators, or guest speakers—can add another layer of richness to your life. From friendships to networking, the social benefits of returning to education are as substantial as the academic ones.

Finding Joy in Learning

Let's not forget that learning can be fun! The absence of academic pressure allows you to explore subjects purely out of interest or passion.

Studying art history, learning to code, or exploring world religions are a few of the many subjects to consider; the joy of gaining new knowledge is a reward in itself. This personal motivation often leads to higher levels of commitment and satisfaction.

Broadening Intellectual Horizons

While professional skills and tech-savviness are important, the true beauty of education lies in its ability to broaden your understanding of the world. Returning to school can become a journey of intellectual enrichment. Diving deep into your subjects of interest can yield insights into the world and its workings, which can make your life more meaningful and fulfilling.

Retirement doesn’t signify the end of growth; rather, it offers a new beginning—a chance to redefine yourself through the power of education. Whether it's to stay mentally active, prepare for a career transition, or simply enjoy the pleasure of learning, going back to school can give your golden years a renewed sense of purpose and joy. So why let the learning stop when life has so much more to offer?

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Share your romantic side with someone special by selecting a piece of jewelry for them from my Etsy store.  You can find a wide range of items, including this double heart pendant which comes in a gift box. You can personalize the inside message card with her name or a special message.  

She will appreciate your thoughtfulness!

Find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts at:

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Get Stronger and Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Most of us, whether we are retired or not, realize the importance of cardio exercise in maintaining their health.  Examples of popular types of cardio exercise include walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking, dancing, pickleball, tennis or taking aerobic exercise classes like Zumba.  While all of these activities are very important if you hope to stay active as you age, researchers have discovered that it is just as important to make sure you build muscle and stay strong.

According to an AAARP article in the May, 2022 Bulletin, a 2021 review of sixteen studies determined that it only takes about 30 to 60 minutes of strength training or resistance exercise per week to increase the average life expectancy by 10 to 17 percent!  So, if you want to live a longer, healthier life, find a way to build muscles for 10 to 15 minutes, and do it three to five times a week.  

Examples of Strength and Resistance Training

Among the things the researchers discovered is that your strength training does not require that you do anything special. You may already be incorporating some of it in your daily life.  Here are some examples:

Lifting weights

Using resistance bands

Yoga or Pilates classes

Doing calisthenics, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.

Carrying groceries, grandchildren or heavy items when gardening or performing similar chores around your home.

As you can see, working those muscles is easier than you think!

Protein Also Helps You Build Muscle

Read "The Whole Body Reset" 

However, simply working your muscles is not enough if you hope to build the muscle you need to extend your life.  The AARP book "The Whole Body Reset"   (ad) also recommends that women over 50 eat at least 25 grams of protein at every meal, and men should get 30 grams of protein per meal.  This is the amount necessary to "stimulate protein synthesis, the process for building and maintaining muscle."  This type of protein timing, combined with strength and resistance training, will enable your body to respond as if you are in your 20s.  That's pretty amazing!

But what if you don't want to eat a lot of meat, especially if you are watching your cholesterol?  Why not pour a protein drink over your morning oatmeal or cereal?  Eat a tuna salad or peanut butter sandwich at lunchtime.  Add some beans and other sources of protein to your dinner.  There are many delicious ways to increase your protein in your diet.

Other Benefits of Gaining Strength as You Age

Obviously, the idea that protein and strength training could extend your life is pretty appealing.  However, there are even more benefits to your health if you make these two simple lifestyle changes, including:

A healthier brain - The stronger you are, the lower your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Less weight gain - The more strength you have, the less likely you are to gain weight as you age.

Lower blood pressure - Stronger muscles are associated with lower blood pressure

Lower risk of heart disease - Staying strong reduces your chance of developing metabolic syndrome issues such as abdominal fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.  These issues are closely connected to heart disease.

Less inflammation - Inflammation contributes to many unpleasant health issues as we age, including heart disease and arthritis. The stronger you are, the less inflammation you are likely to have.

Lower risk of developing diabetes - Increased muscle mass leads to better insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of developing diabetes or prediabetes. 

Higher cancer survival rate - Researchers have discovered that people with greater muscle mass are more likely to survive certain types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.  

Greater happiness and less depression - People with a strong grip are less likely to suffer from depression.  Practice squeezing those tennis balls!

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Have Fun Picking Out Your Exercise Clothes!

You can find fun t-shirts for exercising, as well as sun visors, hats and other products for active adults at my Etsy shop. I hope you will check it out at:

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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Love, Sex and Romance After 50 - You Can Have It All!

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After 50 years of marriage, my husband and I are still very much in love and enjoy spending time together, even if it is just watching our favorite television shows, or eating out at a neighborhood restaurant.  Sadly, many people in their 50s, 60s and older have given up on love and have started to believe they will never experience it, or have it, again, once they have lost the former "love of their life."  Fortunately, that does not have to be true!

Francine Russo, a journalist who focuses on psychology, has recently published the encouraging book, "Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It." (Ad)  It has the potential to open the eyes of many seniors who have given up hope of ever having a romantic relationship again.

If you feel discouraged about having a good relationship late in life, look around at all the older couples who are determined not to give up on love.  Even the ABC television network has chosen to introduce a new segment on their Bachelor series, "The Golden Bachelor."  They know that people of all ages can maintain their current love, or find a new one. 

In writing "Love After 50," (Ad) journalist Francine Russo interviewed the best experts in the field, as well as dozens of couples to help show other people the way to a satisfying relationship at any age.

Her book includes advice such as:

How to recover from the emotional damage of divorce, the grief of widowhood, or a history of unfulfilling relationships
How to build realistic requirements for a partner
What attitudes to bring to dating
How to overcome the psychical challenges of sex and embrace your erotic selves
How to evaluate the financial, emotional, and practical results of marrying, living together, or living apart
How to deal with (hostile) adult kids to safeguard your relationship and family

Loneliness is a serious problem for many senior citizens.  It is believed that it can contribute to a significant number of health problems, especially since lonely people are less likely to eat right and get the necessary amount of exercise and sleep for optimal health.  One way to combat this is to reach out to others and learn the excitement of dating again!
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"Love After 50" (Ad) by Francine Russo is an insightful book that delves into the world of romance and relationships in the later stages of life. Drawing from extensive research and interviews, Russo provides a fascinating exploration of the unique challenges, joys, and issues which come from seeking love and companionship after the age of 50.

Russo's writing style is engaging and accessible, making this book suitable for readers of various ages and backgrounds. She combines personal anecdotes, real-life stories, and expert analysis to create a well-rounded and informative book. The book's easy, conversational tone and realistic examples allow readers to easily connect with real-life experiences and emotions.

Russo's does a great job challenging our social stereotypes and preconceptions about love and aging. "Love After 50" shows that romance and passion are not limited to the young, but can flourish in any stage of life. Through the stories she relates, Russo demonstrates the importance of embracing change, taking risks, and remaining open to new possibilities in order to find love later in life.

In addition, Russo also talks about dating and forming relationships as an older adult. She goes further than just romance, however,  She also deals with the very real issues of blending families, managing different expectations, and overcoming the challenges of previous relationships and losses. 

"Love After 50" will help mature adults learn to deal with the broader impact of late-life relationships, especial in the way they affect family and social connections. It explores common reactions and attitudes of adult children, grandchildren, and friends, revealing the opinions and reactions that may come up when an older individual enters a new romantic relationship.

In conclusion, "Love After 50" by Francine Russo is an enlightening exploration of late-life relationships.  Whether you are in this age group or simply interested in understanding relationships in the later stages of life, "Love After 50" is a well-researched book which will give you a deeper appreciation for the power of love and the possibilities that exist at any age.

It is available in Kindle, paperback, hardback and Audible versions.  

Share your romantic side with someone special by selecting a piece of jewelry for them from my Etsy store.  You can find a wide range of items, including this infinity and crystal circle pendant which comes in a gift box that you can personalize with her name or a special message.  

She will appreciate your thoughtfulness!

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

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.

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Photo credits:  Amazon and Etsy

Friday, September 15, 2023

Book Review: "The 60-Something Crisis - How to Live an Extraordinary Life in Retirement"


Link to: "The 60-Something Crisis"
If you are a Baby-Boomer who is retired or near retirement, you may be wondering, "What's next?"  You have probably done what you can to assure your financial security, and made decisions about when to collect your Social Security, what type of Medicare plan you intend to use, and how to begin using withdrawals from your retirement savings.  However, what you may not have considered is what to do with the decades of life you may have left.

Most healthy, active Baby Boomers are not content to sit at home, putter in their gardens, watch soap operas on TV, or crochet doilies for their sofa arms ... activities which once occupied the time of our elderly grandparents.  We want to pursue lives which engage us, and make us feel as if we are getting the most out of the final decades of our life.  But, how do we do that?

One way to find the guidance you need to navigate the final quarter of your life is to read the inspiring book, "The 60-Something Crisis - How to Live an Extraordinary Life in Retirement." It will help you to realize that reaching retirement is not the end of the useful part of your life.  Indeed, it may be the very beginning of a period of time during which you could be your most productive and/or create the most amazing memories. 

The author, Barbara Pagano, points out very early in the book that the vast majority of people today feel healthy and energetic when they reach their 60's.  People our age still get exercise, wear Fitbits and Apple watches, go dancing, play golf or tennis and, best of all, many of us still look pretty good.  Many of us are also health conscious, watching our weight and what we eat. 

However, once we reach our mid-70s, research shows that our happiness often begins to drop off.  The incidence of suicide and loneliness increases at this age.  We may have regrets, especially regrets about not having achieved our dreams and aspirations.

Is there a way to re-write this script and change the outcome of this final period of life?  Yes!

"The 60-Something Crisis" is a Different Kind of Retirement Book

As you read this book, you will begin to evaluate your retirement years in a different light ... a much healthier, happier approach.  First, you will redefine what it means to work in retirement.  The author points out in the first section that retirement is a major disrupter in your life.  It can be a time of disappointment and frustration, unless we change our current path, and choose a better one.

The second section of the book discusses how you can find a future that is truly your own.  Here are the important topics discussed in this section:

Geography of Place - What place makes you happy?  This could be the time in your life when you should move there, wherever that may be. Some couples even pull up roots and embrace a nomadic lifestyle together. This is the time to enjoy the places and lifestyle which make you happy, now that you are no longer tied to living out your remaining years in the same place you have always lived.

Yield - While there are many definitions of yield, in this context it is described as "our beacon of triumph leading us to meaning and well-intentioned living."  Whatever work you choose to do in your remaining years, it must offer a "yield" or return in value.  This would include getting "fair pay for your value, control of your time, and a chance for creativity." We all want to feel that there is a value to the way we are spending our time during this part of our lives.

Freedom - Barbara Pagano describes this as "fiercely owning your life."  This is your opportunity to pursue activities which you consider important.  If doing this makes your life feel new, she emphasizes that "to feel the newness of life after 50 or 60 years of living is extraordinary."

Kinship - Ms. Pagano asks in this chapter, "Are friends and family more important than eating kale?"  The answer is a resounding "yes."  It is very important that you do not become socially isolated as you age.  While a huge number of people in their 80s and 90s live alone, it is more important than ever to find ways to lead active social lives, even if you prefer to live alone.

What's Next in Your Retirement?

The last part of the book emphasizes how important it is NOT to squander your last decades of life.  If you want to know how to get the most out of your final 25 years, reading this book is a good place to start.  It will open your eyes to all the possibilities you still have left in your life!

As I read this book, I analyzed how I might apply it to my life, since I am now in my mid-70s and certainly do NOT feel depressed or dissatisfied. Why is that?

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Applying this Book to My Life

It would not be fair to recommend this book to others, if I was unwilling to share how I have applied these principals myself.

Personally, reviewing this book has also made me happy that I have been writing this blog since I was in my early 60s, and have now added an Etsy store to my online activities, which is another way for me to be creative, earn extra money, and have the freedom to work when and where I want.  I have learned that there is no reason to allow myself to be bored during the final decades of my life.  I want to embrace my life, my family, and my friendships as much as possible!  

I have used my life experiences to create a line of jewelry engraved with a variety of inspirational words and slogans. I also spend hours nearly every week at our local Southern California beaches and similar locations, and have used some of the photos I have taken to create unique products on my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts. What fun I have taking photos and arranging to have them printed on framed posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs and a host of other items.  I'm living in a part of the country which makes me happy, doing things I enjoy.

I am benefiting in all the ways the book recommends, including enjoying the geography of a place I love, getting a yield from it, having freedom, and even finding kinship with the people who walk with me and work with me on my different pursuits.  As Barbara Pagano suggests, I feel like I'm living "an extraordinary life!"  

I encourage you to read this book and begin to examine your life and improve the quality of your retirement years.  If I can do it, you can, too!

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

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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Know Stroke Symptoms and Causes - Save Lives and Prevent Disabilities

During the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Gerald Ford began to show the signs of having a stroke on national television. While people around the world watched in horror, his face began to droop and he was obviously having difficulty.  He was 87 at the time.  However, even people who are much younger can unexpectedly suffer from a stroke.  In 2012, the ABC - Los Angeles weather forecaster Bri Winkler woke up feeling numb on the entire right side of her body.  She didn't know it at the time, but she was having a stroke.  She was only 24 years old.

Everyone, regardless of age, should know the signs, symptoms and causes of strokes.  This is especially true if you are over the age of 65, or have someone in that age group in your family.  Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability among seniors, and preventing strokes in this population is crucial for maintaining their health and independence. There are several risk factors for stroke that are more common in seniors, including hypertension, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation. By understanding these risk factors and taking steps to manage them, seniors can reduce their risk of stroke and improve their overall health.

Risk Factors for Strokes

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for stroke. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 75% of strokes are caused by hypertension. Seniors are particularly at risk for hypertension, as the risk of developing this condition increases with age. To prevent hypertension and the risk of stroke, seniors should have their blood pressure checked regularly and take steps to manage it, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking medications as prescribed.  However, as the examples above show, everyone should monitor their blood pressure periodically and make sure they are staying within healthy guidelines according to their doctor. 

Diabetes is another risk factor for stroke in seniors. People with diabetes are more likely to develop hypertension and heart disease, which increases their risk of stroke. Additionally, diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels, which can lead to a stroke. To prevent diabetes and the risk of stroke, seniors should maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, and get regular exercise. If they have diabetes, they should also closely manage their blood sugar levels and take medications as prescribed.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is another major risk factor for stroke in seniors. AFib is a type of irregular heartbeat that increases the risk of blood clots forming in the heart. These clots can then travel to the brain and cause a stroke. According to the American College of Cardiology, seniors with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than those without AFib. To prevent AFib and the risk of stroke, seniors should have regular check-ups with their healthcare provider, manage other risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes, and take medications as prescribed.

How to Lower Your Stroke Risk

In addition to managing these risk factors, seniors can also take steps to prevent stroke by making lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and not smoking can all reduce the risk of stroke. According to the American Heart Association, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can reduce the risk of stroke. Additionally, getting regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Signs of a Stroke

Finally, seniors should be aware of the signs of a stroke and know what to do if they or someone they know is experiencing symptoms. The acronym FAST can help people remember the signs of a stroke:

F - Face drooping: Is one side of the face drooping or numb? 
A - Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? 
S - Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred or hard to understand? 
T - Time to call 911: If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 immediately. 

It is important to get treatment quickly.  If you do, there is a good chance that the effects of a stroke can be minimized and the person will be able to get back on their feet much more quickly.

Stroke is a serious health condition that can have a significant impact on seniors' lives, but by understanding the risk factors and taking steps to prevent stroke, seniors can improve their overall health and reduce their risk of experiencing a stroke. Managing hypertension, diabetes, and AFib, making lifestyle changes, and being aware of the signs of a stroke are all important steps in preventing stroke in seniors.

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Learn to Take It Easy

You may also find that you can help reduce your blood pressure and learn to relax if you occasionally decide to take it easy!  Take a walk in the outdoors.  Spend time looking at nature.  Breath deeply.

Read for entertainment.  Spend some time in the sun, although not so much that you increase your risk of skin cancer!

You may also find that it helps you to spend time near a large body of water ... the ocean, a lake, or fishing on a river.

In other word, focus on your serenity and peace of mind.  You can find simple items, such as jewelry shown here, to help you remember the importance of learning to take it easy by checking out my Etsy store at:

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.

Source:  Facts about aging from the June 2022 AARP Bulletin.

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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References:American Heart Association. (2021). High Blood Pressure. Retrieved from

American College of Cardiology. (2021). Atrial Fibrillation. Retrieved from

American Heart Association. (2021). Stroke Prevention