Thursday, September 28, 2023

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

Shop at: https://amzn.to/3B7nifq

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!

"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.  

Shop at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

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:

DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

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:  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?

Details about this: Framed Surfer Photo
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. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to have a successful retirement, 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 credit:  Amazon book cover and my Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts

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.

Order tote from DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com
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, "Easy Does It!"  You can find simple items, such as jewelry and the tote bag 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.

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

Photo credit:  Pixabay and my Etsy Store: 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts


References:American Heart Association. (2021). High Blood Pressure. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure

American College of Cardiology. (2021). Atrial Fibrillation. Retrieved from https://www.acc.org/conditions/atrial-fibrillation

American Heart Association. (2021). Stroke Prevention


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Best Age to Claim Your Social Security - A Few Things to Consider


During the Covid pandemic, many people were forced into retirement earlier than they had planned.  The same situation often happens to people at other time, such as when they become seriously ill, or they need to retire to care for a family member or deal with other problems.  Unfortunately, when people take their Social Security benefits early, this decision will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives. However, in a crisis such as an international pandemic, a job loss, or a medical crisis, most of us have to do whatever we can to survive.

Fortunately, most people are able to wait and collect their Social Security benefits when they think they are financially prepared for retirement. Since people can begin to collect their Social Security retirement at any time between ages 62 and 70, what is the best age? Below are a few issues to consider.

Should You Collect Before Your Full Retirement Age?

As mentioned before, in a crisis you should claim your benefits if it is truly a matter of being able to pay your rent, buy groceries and survive. In addition, if you have a terminal illness and do not expect to live more than a few more years, then collecting early makes sense.  In these situations, many people claim their benefits as early as age 62, or may claim them just a couple of years early, such as at age 64.

However, if you claim your benefits before your full retirement age of about 66 or 67, your income will be reduced by as much as 30% every month for the remainder of your life, especially if you begin collecting benefits at age 62!  If you are able to postpone claiming your benefits for a couple of years, it could benefit you substantially in the future.

If you want to estimate the exact amount you will lose by collecting early, here is an explanation from ssa.gov - the website for the Social Security Administration:

"In the case of early retirement, a benefit is reduced 5/9 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month.

For example, if the number of reduction months is 60 (the maximum number for retirement at 62 when normal retirement age is 67), then the benefit is reduced by 30 percent. This maximum reduction is calculated as 36 months times 5/9 of 1 percent plus 24 months times 5/12 of 1 percent."

As a result of this substantial reduction in your retirement benefits, you need to think carefully if you are considering collecting your benefits before your full retirement age. 

Should You Collect Social Security at Your Full Retirement Age?

In general, most people should wait AT LEAST until their full retirement age of 66 or 67. By age 65, you will be eligible for Medicare, which reduces the cost of medical insurance for many people. 

The government estimates that if you expect to live until age 82 years and 6 months or less, you are better off starting to collect your Social Security benefits at your full retirement age.

Should You Wait Until Age 70 to Collect Your Social Security Benefits?

Many retirees will be better off if they can postpone their retirement until after their full retirement age, up to age 70. This is because about one-quarter of men and one-third of women will live until they are 90 years old or older

If you believe you will live longer than age 82 1/2, then you are better off waiting to collect until age 70, because your benefits will increase by 8% a year for each year after 66 or 67 that you defer collecting your benefits. If you are healthy in your late 60s and have a family history of long-lived relatives, you will probably be better off waiting to collect your Social Security benefits until you are 70.

How Does Your Decision Affect a Dependent Spouse?

The longer you wait to collect your Social Security, the better off a dependent spouse will be, as well. This is because they can collect an amount equal to 50% of your benefits when they reach their own full retirement age and, if you die before they do, they can get their benefits increased to an amount equal to your full benefits, as long as they wait until their full retirement age before they begin to collect. 

If your spouse had low earnings during their lifetime, this could make a significant difference in their later years. As a result, waiting until age 70 will not only benefit you financially, but also your dependent spouse. Therefore, even if you do not expect to live past 82 1/2, but you believe your spouse will, it may still be a thoughtful decision to postpone collecting your Social Security benefits as long as possible.

Here's an example of how this would work.

Let's say you would receive $2,000 a month if you collect at age 67, but would collect around $2,500 a month if you wait and collect your benefits at age 70.

Your dependent spouse who waits to claim their benefits at age 67 would be able to collect $1,000 a month if you start collecting at age 67, but they would be able to collect around $1,250 if you wait to collect at age 70.

If you collect your benefits at age 67, your benefits as a couple would be around $3,000 a month.  If you collect at age 70, and your spouse waits until at least age 67, your benefits as a couple would be around $3,750.  If you die before your spouse, they would be able to collect $2,500 a month rather than $2,000.  

These are round numbers, because your actual amount would be based on your lifetime earnings plus the annual cost-of-living increases.  However, you can see from that example that waiting as long as possible before you retire could make a substantial difference in your quality of life as you age.

Speak to a Financial Planner

Before you make a final decision about when to collect your Social Security benefits, discuss your options with your financial planner. They can help you decide if you would be better off financially by living off your retirement savings for a couple of years, if necessary, in order to postpone collecting your Social Security. Many financial planners have computer programs which will calculate your various options, help you predict your longevity, and assist you in planning your long-term financial situation regardless of how long you live.  You want to be well informed before you make a final decision.

While people who have a traditional retirement IRA will be required to take a RMD, or Required Minimum Distribution, in their 70s, they are NOT required to spend that money.  You can remove the money from your IRA and reinvest it for as long as possible, so that you continue to build your assets until you absolutely need to use them.

You Might Need a Side-Gig

Many retirees are picking up small part-time jobs or side-gigs to help them get through their retirement years, while minimizing how much money they need to draw from their retirement savings. Doing something like this can bring you peace-of-mind so you worry less about running out of money when you are near the end of your life.  

Order from DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com 

As many of the readers of this blog know, 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 message on the card inside the gift box personalized with whatever message you would like to share with a loved one.

 You can check it out at:

  DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com


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

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

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission to support this blog, at no extra cost to you.

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

Photo credit: AARP and Etsy.com

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Writing a Eulogy for a Loved One: What to Say and How to Say it

Last year, my father died of Covid, approximately three years after my mother had died from Alzheimer's Disease. They were both cremated and interred together at a Veteran's Cemetery. My sister asked me to write a eulogy for my father, but also wanted me to mention our mother, even though we held a separate memorial service for her when she died.  Since our parents had been married for 70 years and were virtually inseparable during their lives, it felt natural to talk about them both in my father's eulogy. 

I had never written a eulogy, so I turned first to Google, which provided a few general tips. Then I asked my friends for help.  They were a gold mine!  One thing I discovered was that a great many people have had to write a eulogy for a friend or family member.  The tips they gave me were very helpful and saved me a lot of frustration and confusion.  After finishing the eulogy for my Dad, it became obvious that many other people would appreciate a little guidance in the process, too.

How to Write a Eulogy

Ask various family members for stories to include.  Everyone has different memories of the person who passed away, so it will be helpful to collect a variety of stories to share. Include the memories of some of the younger members of the family, especially if they had a special connection to a grandparent or a favorite aunt or uncle. Their parents may be able to help with that.  Do not forget to jot down your own memories, too. Remember that you represent the family, so you want to share as many of their memories as possible, as well as your own.

Organize the memories into some type of pattern. You may want to write it in chronological order, or it could be separated into categories, such as the memories of the children, then grandchildren, then various friends or co-workers.  You may be able to get some ideas on what to say about the person by reading "The Book of Eulogies." (Ad) It contains famous eulogies which might inspire you. 

Avoid Negative Statements.  Over the years, I have attended a few funerals where some pretty surprising statements were made.  At one, the daughter of the woman who died said, "There's not much I can say about my mother, except she did keep us fed and clothed when we were children."  At another funeral, the wife of the deceased man said, "My husband was not that easy to live with."  Although I certainly remember those funerals, perhaps it would have been better for the speakers to say those things privately, not at not at a public ceremony! 

Introduce yourself. Start the eulogy with a positive comment about the deceased.  Then, introduce yourself and thank the people who came to the funeral. Here is how I began the eulogy for my father:

"If a man's wealth can be measured by the number of people who loved him and enjoyed being around him, then our father was a very wealthy man. I am his daughter, Deborah, and my sister Pamela and I really appreciate all of you who came here today to honor the memory of our father."

You could also start with a quote or a quick memory about your father, and then follow with your introduction.  Some people who knew the deceased may be strangers to the person giving the eulogy, and would like to know how you are connected.

Keep it positive and somewhat light-hearted. Fill the remainder of the eulogy with as many positive, happy stories about the deceased as you have time to share. Make sure you include a variety of memories from everyone who shared a story with you, so no one feels as if they were left out. Below are a few clips from the eulogy I wrote for my father:

"My parents loved to dance and enjoyed getting dressed up to go to a party.  I even gave Mom a pink poodle skirt that belonged to my daughters for her to wear to a 50's party."

"Dad helped his grandchildren search for 'gold' on the beach, but only told them later that he had given them Fool's Gold." 

"On another occasion, he removed his dentures that held his two front teeth and told his grandchildren that a fish had grabbed them. Later, when he put his dentures back in, he told his grandchildren that he had caught the fish and got his teeth back."

"Dad was a great storyteller. He loved to tell us about the time Mom was learning to drive, and drove a friend's car right through the front window of a bakery!"

I'm sure that everyone in your family will have some funny stories or quotes about each deceased member of your family, too!

If the deceased was in the military, had a career which was important to them, or they were active in a religious, charitable, or community organization, mention these connections.  In my father's eulogy, I spoke about his years of service in the military, as well as the decades he spent working for the Veteran's Administration.  I also shared how proud he was of his contributions to the military and the VA, as well as some of the humorous stories he had told us about his experiences.

End with a fond memory of the deceased.  Because my parents loved to dance, I ended by saying, "I will forever think of them as dancing together in the afterlife."  However, everyone should end their eulogy with a statement that is in keeping with their religious beliefs, as well as something important which describes the person who has passed away.  

If you are still struggling with how to arrange the eulogy, or what to write, you may find it helpful to get the "Eulogy Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Write an Unforgettable Eulogy."  (Ad)

Once you have written your first draft, share it with the family. Have several family members read the eulogy to make sure you have captured the stories and memories in the way they intended.  Do not be surprised if they suggest changes to help the stories fit their memories.

Ask for editing help.  No matter how well you think you write, it can be very helpful to have someone else check your grammar, punctuation, and the way your stories are written.  This person should not know the deceased, so they can focus on how you wrote the eulogy, not on what you wrote.  It is easy to miss mistakes in our own writing, so having a friend edit it can be very helpful.

Make a printed copy of the eulogy. You can print it on one sheet of pretty paper, or create a bi-fold brochure, similar to a church bulletin.  You might even choose to add a picture of the deceased. Do it yourself on your home computer, or ask a friend to help you. 

Your finished eulogy may be longer than you have time to share at the funeral or memorial service.  Decide whether you are going to be the main speaker at a church service, or if you are giving the eulogy to a minister or another person to read aloud. That will affect how you word the eulogy. 

On the other hand, you might use the eulogy as the basis for a brief statement you make at a graveside service.  In that case, you can give the full, typed eulogy to the guests, and just share some of the highlights verbally, to cut the length of time people need to stand outside.  Everyone can still enjoy reading the full eulogy in their own time.  Later, you can also mail copies of the eulogy to family members and close friends who were unable to attend the funeral. 

Although this can be a very stressful time for you and the family of the deceased, try to leave them with a feeling of comfort and warmth.  They may not remember everything you say that day, but will appreciate having a written copy to read and re-read in the months to come.

Order at:  deborahdiangifts.etsy.com 

You may also wish to purchase an appropriate item of religious jewelry to wear at the funeral or memorial service for your loved one.  You can find such items at my Etsy store, including the pendant shown here.

If you wish to give an item of jewelry as a gift, you can also have the message inside the box personalized to fit the situation.

You can find jewelry and 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 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.

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

Photo credits: Google images and my Etsy Store 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Lung Cancer Diagnosis - What Happens Next?

Lung Cancer is a scary diagnosis.

Much to my shock, I was was recently diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in the lung, more commonly known as lung cancer.  As a lifelong non-smoker, this was the last thing I expected.  However, my parents both smoked from the time I was an infant, other members of my family still smoke, and in early adulthood I worked for a number of men who smoked in the office.  In addition, during much of my adult life, smoking was common inside of airplanes, restaurants, bars, casinos, and other social settings. My exposure to second-hand smoke was probably as high as if I had smoked myself for decades. 

While my lung cancer journey is just beginning, I realized that many of my readers have also faced the same or a similar diagnosis.  I have spent hours researching different aspects of the disease so I know what to expect in the coming months, and thought I would share what I discovered with my readers.   This is not meant to replace what your doctor tells you, but to share a concise summary of the information I have discovered in order to supplement what the doctors have shared. 

Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be a daunting experience. Lung cancer is a serious disease that affects millions of people around the world. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women, accounting for 22% of all cancer deaths. The prognosis for lung cancer can be poor, but there are treatment options available which can improve your chances of survival. Below I discuss what someone can expect after a lung cancer diagnosis and the treatment options available.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of lung cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer. Some common symptoms include:

Persistent cough
Chest pain
Shortness of breath
Wheezing
Fatigue
Weight loss
Loss of appetite
Bone pain
Headaches

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor will typically perform a physical exam, including listening to your lungs, and may order tests such as a chest X-ray, CT scan, biopsy or PET scan to diagnose lung cancer and see if it has spread.

Surprisingly, my lung cancer was diagnosed BEFORE I had any of the above symptoms, except for occasional shortness of breath when exerting myself.  I was doing physical therapy after a recent knee replacement surgery, and became out of breath with only minor activity. I would never have considered it a problem on my own. However, the physical therapist sent me to the ER and, after a series of tests, they discovered a mass in my lung.  Ironically, having knee surgery, and being sent to the ER, may have saved my life.  At least, I hope so, as I embark on this scary journey!

Types of Lung Cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases. SCLC is less common, accounting for about 15% of all cases. Treatment options can vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer.  I have non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type.

Stages of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is also classified into stages, which helps to determine the extent of the cancer and the best treatment options. The stages of lung cancer are:

Stage I: Cancer is confined to the lung.
Stage II: Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Stage III: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the chest or other organs in the chest.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

After having a PET scan, my doctor believed I had Stage I cancer, which was confirmed when the surgeon removed the mass, the upper lobe of my right lung, and the nearby lymph nodes, and had them biopsied.  Fortunately for me, the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes nor, as far as they can tell, to other parts of my body.  Only time will tell if it does comes back, which frequently happens a few years after having lung cancer.  When it does return, it may show up in the brain, bones, colon or other organs, and may be more widespread.  I'll have to remain careful and get frequent exams and tests for the rest of my life to see if the cancer has returned in some other part of my body. 

Treatment Options

The treatment options for lung cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer. The main treatment options are:

DaVinci robot assisted surgery.

Surgery:
This involves removing the cancerous tissue from the lung. Surgery is usually only an option for early-stage NSCLC.  My surgeon used the DaVinci robot assisted surgery method to remove one lobe of my lung and seventeen of the nearby lymph nodes.  It is a fascinating type of surgery which is supposed to reduce pain and blood loss.  The surgeon actually sits separate from the patient, looking into a video screen which magnifies the inside of the body about 10 times.  Tubes are placed through incisions in the patient's body and they contain a camera, the operating tools, a drainage tube, etc.  The surgeon manipulates everything from the console, where he can more clearly see where he is cutting.  My surgeon told me this method makes it easier for them to make sure they get clean margins, while avoiding some of the blood vessels.

Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Chemotherapy: This involves using drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Targeted therapy: This involves using drugs that target specific proteins in cancer cells to kill them. Targeted therapy is typically only used for advanced NSCLC.

Immunotherapy: This involves using drugs which help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. Immunotherapy may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

The treatment plan an individual is given will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the overall health of the patient. Treatment plans may include one or more of the above options, and may be adjusted over time depending on how the cancer responds to treatment.  My doctor highly recommended the surgery, since she correctly believed they caught my cancer early.  Now that the surgery is over, the surgeon determined that I will not need any additional treatments at this time.  She removed seventeen lymph nodes, and the pathologist did not find cancer in any of them.  So far, I have been more fortunate than most lung cancer patients, who frequently only discover their cancer when it is too late for it to be removed surgically.

Support and Resources

A lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and it is important to have a support system in place. Support can come from family and friends, as well as from support groups and counseling services. The American Lung Association offers a Lung Cancer Support Community, which provides resources and support for lung cancer patients and their families.

Some people also find it helpful to join a Facebook group, where they can talk about their diagnosis with other people who are going through the same thing.  It is also a good way to learn about a variety of treatment choices and learn how others felt about those treatments. 

Financial assistance may also be available for lung cancer patients. The Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition provides a searchable database of organizations which offer financial assistance to cancer patients.

Lifestyle Changes

Making lifestyle changes can be an important part of treatment for lung cancer. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer, and is very important if you have been diagnosed with it. My surgeon told me she has known of smokers with lung cancer who continued to smoke, even while receiving treatment.  Understandably, this is not a good idea and lowers your risk of recovery. You may also want to do what you can to avoid other possible assaults on your lungs, such as second hand smoke, being exposed to radon or other toxins, getting Covid and other respiratory diseases, and air pollution.  Unfortunately for me, I got Covid less than two months after my lung cancer surgery.  I was given Paxlovid for it, however, and that anti-viral drug seemed to minimize any damage.

In addition, you should do everything you can to improve your overall lifestyle by getting outside in the fresh air, and exercising, when possible, as well as eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eliminate or, at the very least, reduce your use of alcohol and drugs.

Helpful Care for the Patient

In addition to the treatment options mentioned above, there are other types of care which may be used to manage your symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with lung cancer. These include:

Palliative care: This involves a team of healthcare professionals who work together to manage your symptoms, such as pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, and improve the quality of life for people with lung cancer and other illnesses.

Rehabilitation: This may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy to help people with lung cancer maintain their strength and independence during and after treatment.

Alternative therapies: These are non-traditional therapies, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, or herbal supplements which some people with lung cancer may find helpful in managing their symptoms and improving their quality of life. However, it is important to discuss any alternative therapies with your healthcare team before trying them.  This is especially true if you take herbal supplements or vitamins, because some of them can make your prescribed treatments, like chemotherapy, less effective.  For example, research has shown that Vitamin B-12 can increase your risk of a reoccurrence of lung cancer.  You may want to discuss this with your doctor. 

It is also important to note that the emotional and psychological impact of a lung cancer diagnosis can be significant. It is common to experience feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. Seeking emotional support from loved ones or a mental health professional can be helpful in coping with these emotions.

Prevention is key when it comes to lung cancer. The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer is to quit smoking or never start smoking. Secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of lung cancer, so avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is important as well. Other ways to reduce your risk of lung cancer include avoiding exposure to radon and other environmental toxins, eating a healthy diet, and staying physically active.

Lung Cancer is a Personal Experience

Purchase at: https://amzn.to/41GJpF7

While over 150,000 people die of lung cancer every year, each case is a personal experience for that individual.  

In my case, after getting over the initial shock of being diagnosed with lung cancer, I wanted to schedule the surgery as soon as possible, to increase my survival chances.  Fortunately, my healthcare provider immediately assigned a "cancer coordinator" to me to help guide me through the process.  Once she was in contact with me, I was set up with a series of medical appointments including meeting with a pulmonologist (lung doctor), receiving a PET scan to see if the cancer had spread outside the lungs (which it often does), having a lung function test to see if I could handle having one-third of my right lung removed, and then meeting with a thoracic surgeon (who would perform surgery on my lungs).  All of this was accomplished within six weeks of doctors first noticing a mass in my lungs.  Speed is important if you have Stage 1 cancer.  You do not want it to progress, if you can avoid it. 

If you would like to read more first-hand experiences of other people who have had lung cancer, I highly recommend the book "Roads to Meaning and Resilience with Cancer." (Ad) It contains "Forty Stories of Coping, Finding Meaning and Building Resilience While Living with Incurable Lung Cancer." (Ad)  It is written by a physician who, himself, was diagnosed with lung cancer despite the fact that, like me, he had never smoked.  I found the book to be extremely meaningful and helpful, although I was hesitant, at first, to read it.  I'm glad I did.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, a lung cancer diagnosis can be a difficult and overwhelming experience, but there are treatment options and support systems available to help you manage the disease and improve your quality of life. I encourage you to work closely with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan which is best for you, and to seek emotional support and make lifestyle changes to improve your overall health and well-being.



See more at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com
Maintaining Your Serenity

It is important to your mental well-being to try to maintain a sense of peace and serenity when living with a cancer diagnosis.  One tip is to find a way to focus on staying serene. This little stretch steel bracelet may be a helpful reminder to you to try to relax and maintain your peace-of-mind whenever you begin to worry and become upset.  

You can purchase this jewelry and other items at my Etsy store. I have even added a section to my Etsy store with other medical and cancer jewelry.  For the moment I like the positive approach of reminding ourselves to stay serene as much as we can, considering what we are experiencing.  Check out my Etsy Store at:

DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

I have also included a list of the citations for this article at the end, so you can do more research into your illness from reputable sources.  It will be helpful for you to learn everything you can about your diagnosis and what you can do to stay as healthy as possible, especially during and after your treatments.

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 images and DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com



Citations:

American Cancer Society. Lung Cancer. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer.html.


Mayo Clinic. Lung Cancer. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20374620.


National Cancer Institute. Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Health Professional Version. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/hp/non-small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq.


American Lung Association. Lung Cancer Support Community. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.lung.org/support-and-community/lung-cancer-support-community.


Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition. Financial Assistance. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancerfac.org/financial-assistance/.


National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Lung Cancer. Version 1.2023. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/lung/files/assets/basic-html/index.html#page1.


National Cancer Institute. Supportive Care. Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/supportive-care.American Lung Association. Lung Cancer Symptoms. Accessed April 22, 2023


American Cancer Society. Can Lung Cancer Be Found Early? Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/detection.html.

American Cancer Society. Can Lung Cancer Be Prevented? Accessed April 22, 2023. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/can-lung-cancer-be-prevented.html.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Moving After Retirement - Tips for an Easier Transition

Don't let a retirement move scare you!

Every year, thousands of Americans move to a new location after they retire.  They may simply downsize to a smaller home in their current community, or they may decide to make a major change to a new city or state.  Some retirees may move to a small town or into an active adult community.  Others may decide to find a condo in the center of a busy city.  Whatever you decide, the decision to make a major change late in life can feel intimidating.

After living for years in your pre-retirement home, it may be a challenge to make a major change later in life.  However, there are steps you can take to make the transition a little easier. As a result, I was pleased when guest author Jim McKinley wrote the post below to help make moving a little more organized and easier for our readers. 

In particular, I would like to point out his paragraph about enlisting help.  You may need help both packing up and moving your pre-retirement furnishings and belongings, as well as getting unpacked and settled in your new home.  Whether you get professional packers from your moving company, or you get help from your friends and family, having others assist you can make the change much easier and less stressful!  Below is the guest post from Jim McKinley.

Six Tips to Make Moving Into Your Retirement Home a Breeze

by Jim McKinley

Retirement is an exciting time to start a new chapter in your life. Whether you're downsizing to a smaller home or moving to your dream location, settling into a new house can be overwhelming and stressful. However, it doesn't have to be! With a few helpful tips, you'll be able to create a comfortable and happy home in no time. In this article for Baby Boomer Retirement, we'll guide you through the process of settling into your new post-retirement home, with a focus on setting up your kitchen, enlisting help, refreshing your bedroom, creating a stress-free office space, meeting your neighbors, and exploring your surroundings.

The Importance of Setting Up Your Kitchen ASAP

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, so it's important to set it up as soon as possible. Start by unpacking your essentials such as pots, pans, dishes, and utensils. Make sure everything is easily accessible, so you can whip up a quick meal without any stress or frustration. Once you've unpacked the basics, take some time to organize your pantry and fridge. (Ad) This will help you get into a routine and make meal planning a breeze!

Enlisting Help for an Efficient Unpacking Process

Moving can be a challenging task, but it doesn't have to be a solo endeavor. Don't hesitate to ask friends, family, or trustworthy moving experts (Ad) for assistance in unpacking your belongings. This will not only make the process quicker and more efficient, but it will also be an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and create new memories in your new home.

Bedroom Refresh with New Bedding

Transforming your bedroom into a comfortable and inviting retreat (Ad) is easy and affordable with new bedding. For example, by purchasing a two-sided duvet cover, you can change up the look of your bedding according to your mood or the season. This versatile option comes in a variety of designs and styles, making it easy to find one that matches your personal taste and decor. If you’re looking for bedding, duvets, or decor, this site could be helpful (Ad) in finding what you need.

Working from Home

If you're consulting or working part-time during retirement, it's important to create a dedicated workspace that eliminates any potential stress or distractions. Start by evaluating your space and determining what furniture and equipment you'll need. Then, create a clean and organized workspace that is free from clutter and distractions. This will help increase productivity and decrease any potential anxiety associated with working from home.

Tips for Meeting Your New Neighbors and Building Community

Your new neighborhood is an exciting place to explore, and what better way to do that than by meeting your new neighbors? Take a walk around the block and introduce yourself to those who share your street. This will not only establish a sense of community but may also lead to new friendships and social engagements.

Discovering Your New City

Retirement is the perfect time to indulge in hobbies and activities that you've always wanted to try. Take some time to explore your new surroundings and discover what your location has to offer. Whether it's hiking trails, museums, or local restaurants, there's sure to be something that sparks your interest.

Settling into a new home can be an exciting and joyful experience, but it's important to approach it with patience and a positive attitude. By setting up your kitchen, enlisting help, refreshing your bedroom, creating a dedicated workspace, meeting your neighbors, and exploring your surroundings, you'll quickly and happily settle into your new post-retirement home.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Check Out My Etsy Store:

Gifts available at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com
In addition to this retirement blog, I also have an Etsy store where I list gifts for retirees and almost everyone else on your shopping list.  You'll find that many retirees have home businesses, which is one reason it is so important to plan to have a dedicated workspace in your new retirement home.  

At my Etsy store, you can find jewelry, t-shirts, coffee mugs, wall art and more there.  Check out the items available at:


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