Friday, December 30, 2022

Top Retirement Stories of 2022 - What Interested Retirees the Most?

Ending 2022 Learning to Take Care of Ourselves

Every year, Baby-Boomer-Retirement ends with a single post featuring the stories which most interested retirees and senior citizens during the year.  It is always fascinating to see the topics which received thousands of views during the preceding year. Perhaps it is because Baby-Boomers are starting to age, but overwhelmingly the topics of most interest in 2022 were related to dementia and longevity.  

Fortunately, because of my involvement with the MIND program at the nearby University of California in Irvine, I was able to provide my readers with the results of that university's incredible research in several posts I wrote over the past year.  

Other topics which interested my readers were related to how to make your money last, second marriages, how to order your groceries from Amazon Fresh, and dangerous food and drug combinations.  

Below are links to the articles which most interested my readers in 2022. I look forward to writing more posts on these topics, as well as others, in the coming year, and hope my readers will join me in researching the topics which are affecting us all as we age:

The Top Retirement Posts of 2022 in Order of Preference

Cut Your Dementia Risk by 40% in 12 Steps - Some forms of dementia are beyond our control. However, researchers have learned that making some changes to our behavior can substantially reduce our dementia risk.  

Retirement Income: Making Your Money Last a Lifetime - One of the biggest concerns of many senior citizens is how they can feel confident that their money will last as long as they do. While there are no guarantees of future financial security, there are things we can do to protect ourselves from disaster as much as possible.

Baby Boomer Life Expectancy - How Long are You Likely to Live? - On average, how long can you expect to live?  That depends on a number of factors, including which state you live in.  This article gives the longevity statistics for different groups of people in the U.S.   Are you doing better or worse than the average person?

Activities Which Promote Longevity - Add Years to Your Life - We all know that person who has done everything "wrong" and still lived a long life.  However, for the most part, our personal lifestyle is an important contributing factor in how long we are likely to live.  See what you can do to extend your longevity.

Late in Life Second Marriages - Things to Consider If You Remarry - Many people who find themselves widowed or divorced in their 50s, 60s or even older will decide to remarry. However, marriage in our later years is more than a romantic decision. It also has important legal and family considerations.  Learn about the different issues you need to consider before you remarry.

Electrical Brain Stimulation for Memory Improvement in Seniors - tDCS Machines and Our Brain - As part of my volunteering to be a test subject for the MIND program at the University of California in Irvine, I willingly allowed them to test my memory, give me a series of MRIs and stimulate my brain every day for a week using a tDCS machine. Months later, I have still found that it enhanced my memory. Read about the experiment here.

Ordering Groceries from Amazon Fresh Can Help Many Seniors - During the worst of the Covid pandemic, I learned how to order my groceries on Amazon Fresh and have them delivered to my home.  I loved the safety and convenience.  However, it was a bit confusing the first couple of times I did it, so I wrote this post to make it a little easier for my readers.  It is very convenient to know how to use this service, especially if you are recovering from surgery or have other reasons why a trip to the grocery store may be difficult.

Dangerous Food and Drug Combinations - Be Careful! - This post was based on an article in the AARP Magazine.  I was shocked at the large number of food and drug interactions which could affect me.  I didn't know about many of these issues, and I assume many other people are not aware of them, either.  Read this article before you take your next medication!

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Another topic I have mentioned often in the past few months is the importance of learning new skills, staying busy, and having a volunteer or part-time job in your later years.  These are the types of things which will keep your brain functioning well and, if you can earn a little extra money, may also help you financially. I frequently recommend that people continue to work from home, do some tutoring, or start a home business. You don't want to do so much that it stresses you out.  However, you do want to choose something that will help you financially, mentally, and socially, if possible, so you stay involved in the world around you.  

I have personally followed my own advice by starting my own Etsy store,, and frequently advertise some of my products on my blog as well as other places. Learning the technological skills to keep this business going has been great for me mentally.  I hope you will visit my shop when you have a chance.  I now have hundreds of gifts listed there.

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.

Well Established Baby Store Serving Toronto Since 1945. Find Quality Top Brands & Everything Baby Related. Best Baby store in Toronto Shop for Strollers, Furniture, Car Seats and Much More. Customer Service Is Our # 1 Priority. 

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

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Photo credit: Photos by Deborah Dian

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Holiday Touch Retirement Living Communities

Recently I wrote a blog post about Continuing Care Retirement Communities ... CCRC's.  These are communities where you can move in and age in place.  In other words, residents typically start out living independently in a private cottage or apartment and eventually get whatever additional assistance or skilled nursing care they may need as they age.  This is a very appealing option to retirees who want to make their own decisions, in advance, about where they will live for the remainder of their life, regardless of the health issues that may arise.  While the median age for people to move into a CCRC is about age 80, people do move into these communities in their 70s and, occasionally, when they are even younger. 

One of the lifestyles that came up repeatedly in my research and sounded very appealing was Holiday Retirement Living by Atria.   As a result, I thought I would write a post that focuses exclusively on this retirement option.  While these are independent living senior apartments and cottages, some of them also have on-site assisted living and memory care facilities and all of them can help you arrange for home health care services to come to your location to give you additional assistance with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating or taking your medication, should you need something between independent living and full assisted living.  In addition, since your basic rent includes all your meals, as well as housekeeping and transportation, most people can manage well in their apartments with very little additional help.  Every apartment also has a pull cord or similar devices so residents can easily contact the management in case of an emergency.

Holiday Touch Retirement Living Communities

There are currently about 314 Holiday Communities located around the United States, with additional locations in Canada.  In fact, Holiday is one of the largest provider of independent living units in North America and they have been in existence for 40 years. Here are a few interesting facts about their communities:

Management Teams live in the Communities
Residents have private apartments (or cottages) with a variety of floorplans available
Three meals prepared daily by professional chefs
Meals served restaurant style in a dining room
Weekly housekeeping in your residence
Linen service ... clean sheets and towels are provided
Free washers and dryers in on-site laundry rooms
Community game rooms and TV rooms encourage socializing
Exercise rooms and fitness programs for residents
Scheduled transportation to local businesses
Additional transportation to appointments and other errands
Volunteer opportunities in the community
A full schedule of activities and social events

Pet Friendly policies ... both cats and dogs are welcome
Emergency call systems in every apartment; get help when you need it
Locations in 43 states, as well as Canada
Independent living, assisted living and Alzheimers or Memory care options available in specific communities

Cost of Holiday Retirement Communities

One of the aspects of these communities that particularly appealed to me was the price.  Unlike many other CCRC's, residents of Holiday Retirement Communities do not have to pay the average $250,000+ deposit to buy into the facility and they do not have to make a permanent commitment or sign a long-term lease.

Instead, residents pay a monthly rental fee ranging from about $2100 to $3200 a month (in 2022), depending on where you live, the size of the apartment you select, etc.  This is an all-inclusive price for basic living expenses that includes your apartment, utilities (except for your phone), basic cable, meals, activities and social events.

In later years, if you need it, you may incur additional fees for extra care you need such as home healthcare, assisted living or memory care.  Assisted living and memory care can be provided in select Holiday Communities; other services may be provided by outside home health service providers.

There are no long-term leases.  In addition, if you have long-term care insurance through a private provider or the Veteran's Administration, you may be able to use it to pay for your additional expenses, when they become necessary.  Check with your insurance provider and the specific Holiday Community where you wish to live.

This total care arrangement has made Holiday very attractive to Veterans, with over 12,000 currently living in their communities, out of more than 30,000 total residents.

Holiday Travel Program

Another aspect of these retirement communities that I found appealing is their Travel Program.  At no additional expense, you can spend one week per stay in a guest room at one of the other Holiday communities in the United States or Canada.  Your stay will include all meals and access to all the programs and activities that are available at that site.  You can travel just for fun or in order to spend an occasional week near family members who live in another part of the country.

This means that you can enjoy warmer weather or celebrate special occasions with family members without having to pay for a hotel stay or meals in your temporary location.

If you are currently planning your retirement, check the tabs at the top of this page for more articles about where to retire in the United States or abroad, health issues as we age, financial information and changing family relationships. 

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Thursday, December 15, 2022

Positive Aging and an Easier Retirement


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If you are over the age of 60, you have probably looked around at your friends and casual acquaintances and realized that not everyone ages the same, and not everyone has an easy retirement.  Of course, most of us want to definitely be in the group that is active and doing well when we reach our 70s, 80s and beyond, but we may think it is our of our hands.

While it might seem easy to just shrug our shoulders and say, "Some people have better genes," there are actually quite a few things we can do to improve our odds of living longer and more comfortably than many of our peers. It really is possible for many people to continue to enjoy their lives and feel "Forever Young," at least for a couple of decades after retirement.  So, what do you have to do? 

According to the AARP Bulletin in June, 2022, there are several ways to improve the chances you will have a better future after retirement.  Here's a guide to their tips for positive aging and an easier retirement.

1. Get regular medical check-ups.  Nearly every private insurance and Medicare plan includes a free annual wellness visit.  When you go to the doctor, you are likely to get vaccine boosters and screenings for a variety of illnesses which, if caught in time, could be treated and, possibly, cured.  Don't be surprised if they recommend vaccines for the flu, Covid, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus and whooping cough, as well as screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer and other common health problems.  Simply avoiding those illnesses could improve the quality of your life as you age. 

2. Get regular dental care.  The AARP article asked, "Could you pick your dentist out of a line-up?"  While that is a humorous way to put it, the truth is that many senior citizens avoid the dentist until they are in pain.  By then, they may have done a lot of damage to their mouth and the rest of their body. If you have gum inflammation, for example, it increases your risk of heart disease. There is also some evidence it can lead to some types of cognitive decline.  Research also shows that the more teeth you have at age 70, the longer you are likely to live. 

3.  Stay physically active. Everyone should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a minimum of five days a week.  Get more if you can.  Any kind of movement counts, including walking, golf, housework, dancing and gardening.  Just get out of your chair and move as much as you can, as often as you can.

4.  Make your home as safe and accessible as possible.  Do you have a one-story home or a master bedroom on the main floor of the house?  Is your shower large enough for you to add a seat and sit down if you get light-headed?  Are there grab bars conveniently located by the bathtub?  Are light switches low enough to reach, even in a wheelchair?  Are the doorways large enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker?  If you cannot answer "yes' to all these questions, you may either want to make some renovations, or move to a senior community which is better suited to keeping residents safe and comfortable as they age.

5.  Do you have a plan for when you cannot drive? Many people lose the ability to drive as they age, whether it because of diminished vision or other health problems.  How will you handle this, if it happens to you?  Is there a convenient bus service in your area?  Could you use a golf cart for short local trips? Would a motorized wheelchair be feasible? Have you learned how to order groceries and other services on the computer?  Even if you don't need to give up driving, yet, you should see what is available in your area so you know what to do in an emergency.  

Practice ordering your groceries online, occasionally.  I frequently order my groceries through Amazon Fresh, and love it!  I've written another post with detailed instructions about it, which you can find, here:  "Ordering Groceries from Amazon Fresh Can Help Many Seniors."  Check it out and make sure you are ready to use it whenever you cannot easily get out to the store in person. 

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You may also want to do your shopping for other things online. To help, I have opened the DeborahDianGifts gift shop on Etsy where you may be able to find items for your own home, or gifts for your friends and family members, including jewelry, t-shirts, tote-bags, coffee mugs, hats, LGBTQ gifts, and gifts for people in 12 Step Recovery programs, like AA and Alanon.  Most items are priced between $15 and $40. You can find unique gifts there, and in other online shops, for most people you know, without having to travel to a mall or department store.

Learning to shop online is one way you can safely remain in your home as you age, whether or not you can drive.

6.  Stay busy and active.  Even if you cannot drive, it is important to have regular planned activities and a purpose to your life.  The more activities and projects you have, the longer you are likely to live.  Just because you have stopped working, it does not mean you should sit home and watch TV.  Instead, record your favorite shows and get active doing other things.  Walk the dog.  Take an exercise class. Meet friends for lunch or coffee. Volunteer at your place of worship, your favorite charitable organization, or the local food bank.  Write a book.  Learn a new language.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea!

7.  Take control of your finances.  While you cannot control everything in your life, nearly everyone has some control over how much they spend in comparison to how much income they have.  If your spending exceeds your income, the sooner you change things the better off you will be.  If you aren't sure where to start, go to and use AARP's free online digital retirement coach, Avo.  In a few minutes, it can give you a personalized retirement action plan.  If you still need more help, meet with a financial planner through your bank, credit union, or pension plan.  You can also find financial planners through, or

8.  Plan for the best and prepare for the worst.  Get to know the local assisted living facilities and home care agencies in your area.  You can Google a list of them, or get a list from the local senior center.  Then, check them out when you have the opportunity. Read the online reviews. Do you know someone who had to spend two weeks in assisted living after hip surgery?  Did a neighbor need a caregiver either temporarily or permanently?  Ask them questions. What did it cost? How much help did they get?  Find out what they liked and did not like about the services they used, and what they would have done differently.  Armed with this information, you will be better prepared if the time comes when you need a little extra help. 

9.  Put together an emergency phone list.  Everyone needs at least one person they could call in the middle of the night in an emergency, whether that is an adult child, a neighbor or a friend.   Put several names on the list for extra peace of mind.  Post the list on the refrigerator, along with your medical information, so you have it in a handy place if you ever need the EMTs to come to your home. They will also ask for a list of your medications, when they show up.  Remember the Scout motto:  Be Prepared!

Once you have done all the above things, you can relax and simply enjoy your retirement.  You've done everything you can to assure yourself that you have prepared as well as you can for the future!

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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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Financial Planning BEFORE Buying a Retirement Home

 Most people look forward to the day they can retire and move to their dream location.  The problem is that the perfect place for retirement means different things to different people.  Do you want to stay in your current community and, perhaps, just downsize to a smaller home or a condo?  Do you want to move to a new community where you have always dreamed of living ... a small village, a beach town, or into the heart of a big city?  What about living in an active adult over-55 community?  Or, if you have chronic or serious health problems, you might want to consider moving to a CCRC, which is a Continuous Care Retirement Community. In a CCRC you begin by living in an independent living cottage or apartment, but are assured that you will be cared for if you later develop debilitating physical or mental problems.

There are so many good choices for retirement, how do you decide which is the right choice for you?

Visit as Many Communities as Possible

Even if you think you want to stay in your current area, try visiting a variety of housing choices in your community.  Go look at a local active adult over-55 retirement community, a CCRC, and a few smaller homes or condominium complexes.  See if one of them seems like a good location for you to spend the rest of your life.  If you aren't satisfied with what you find, broaden your choices.

If you are thinking about moving to another city, visit it whenever you can, years before you actually retire there.  Become familiar with the housing choices, the local businesses, and the types of activities you plan to enjoy after retirement.  You might even subscribe to the local newspaper online or see if there is a community newsletter.  Get a feeling for the types of homes available and how much they cost.

The more you know about your choices, the more likely you are to choose a home which will please you and meet your future needs.

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Check Out the Important Stuff

No matter how much you think you would love a community, make sure you ask all the important questions.  You need to know how much you would pay in property taxes, homeowner's or condominium association dues, and property insurance. What about public transportation if you become unable to drive? If you are moving to a different part of the country, ask about things like utility bills.  A home in the desert may seem affordable, but how much will you pay in utility bills?  Are solar panels an option?

You also need to find out what services are available in the community and where they are located.  Remember that, as you age, you will not be young and healthy forever.  How far away is the closest hospital?  How many doctors are in the area?  What type of medical insurance will they accept?  

If you are planning to work part-time after you retire, check out the availability of jobs in the area.  You do not want to move to a remote community, far from hospitals and businesses, which would require you to drive long distances in the future.   

While you are at it, learn as much as you can about retirement planning so you know you can afford to live in your preferred community.  You can find a good resource here:  "How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?"(Ad)

Put Together a Budget

Before finalizing your plans, you need to work out a realistic budget based on the income that you know you can rely on in retirement.  How much Social Security will you receive?  What about a pension?  Will you have a fixed income from an annuity or investments in your retirement savings account?  

Although it might be nice to have a little additional income from a part-time job for a few years after you retire, you cannot count on having that income for the rest of your life.  Plan a budget that you can maintain even without the part-time job.  Then, you can use any extra money you earn for some of the things you would like to do in the early years of your retirement, like traveling, or buying a boat or RV.  The extra money could also help you avoid spending down your retirement savings in the first few years after you quit your full-time job, so you have more money to support yourself later.

If you are part of a couple, make sure you also put together a budget based on the income you would have if either one of you dies.  I have known people who could barely pay for food and medical expenses when they no longer had the Social Security income from a spouse to help cover all their bills. Many people forget that when you lose your spouse your income will drop, but your house payments, utility bills, car payment, debts and some other expenses will not be cut in half.  Set up a budget with enough room in it that you are not financially devastated if you lose your spouse.

Don't Forget the Cost of Moving Somewhere New!

If you are moving to a new place, you need to be realistic about how much you will spend in closing costs on a new home, any changes you might want to make to the house, appliances you may need to purchase, and the cost of moving.

Depending on how far away your new home might be, a mover can be quite expensive.  You should get a quote on what it would cost to move everything in your home, or just the items which are most important to you.

Personally, I have known a few cases where people have decided to sell their furniture rather than move it, and then they replaced the furniture when they got to their new location.  One couple I know packed up their two cars with all the personal possessions they could carry in their vehicles.   They also mailed a few boxes of belongings to a friend in their new community.  Then, they drove across country to their new home and purchased everything they had not been able to fit into their cars or the mailed boxes.  They were able to bring with them their clothing, books, photos, artwork, computers, important papers and even a few lamps, small tables and knick-knacks.  They saved thousands of dollars in moving costs, and used the savings to buy new furniture when they moved into their retirement home.  

That may not be the right choice for everyone, especially if you have some large family heirlooms you want to keep.  However, it was a smart idea for them and is something everyone should consider as a possibility.

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Talk to Your Financial Advisor

Everyone should discuss their options with a financial advisor before they retire.  There may be surprises you are not expecting.  For example, you need to know how much you will be paying in Medicare premiums and any Medicare supplement you purchase.  Will these bills cost more or less than your current medical insurance premiums?  What about your co-pays and deductibles under your new Medicare plan?  You should set aside some money every year to cover these.  You may also want to consider getting a Medicare Advantage plan which, in most cases, is less expensive than paying for original Medicare, plus a supplement, plus a drug plan and any other supplements you may want, such as a dental or vision plan.  Medicare Advantage plans often cover all these extras with much lower premiums.  However, the downside of these plans is that your are limited in which doctors you may use, and you generally need a referral from your primary care doctor before you can go to a specialist.  

You want to make sure you have considered all the possible expenses you could have.  If you are unsure what you need to do to build a lifetime retirement income, you will find a good resource here: "Don't Go Broke in Retirement." (Ad) The book will be helpful in making sure you are well-prepared for this new phase of your life. 

You also need to know about the Required Minimum Distributions from your IRA, once you reach age 72.  How much money will you be required to take out of that account each year?  Are you going to plan to use the money from those required withdrawals for living expenses, or put it aside in a savings account for an emergency? You are required to withdraw it from your IRA, but you are not required to spend it immediately.  As you remove money from your IRA, you should try not to take more than required. If you do, what effect will that have on any interest and dividends accumulating in the IRA?  You want to feel assured that your money is likely to last the rest of your life, especially if you need it to support your monthly expenses.

A financial advisor should be able to either put your mind at ease about the future, or help you know if you need to make revisions to your future plans.  Either way, you want to be able to choose your future retirement home with the confidence that you have done everything possible to make the necessary financial preparations to have a comfortable retirement.

One option many people are discovering to earn extra money in retirement is to open a small home business.  They might do tutoring, give piano lessons, become a tax preparer, or almost anything that appeals to them.  Some people, like me, are opening small home businesses such as my Etsy store, DeborahDianGifts:

Whatever you decide to do to supplement your retirement income, it is important to realize that Social Security rarely provides all the income you will need in retirement.  You need to plan well in advance how you will support yourself.

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.

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