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.

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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

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Maintaining Mental Health as We Age

Many seniors feel lonely, even when surrounded by beauty.

As a resident of an over 55 Active Adult Community, it has become obvious over the years that many retired people suffer from loneliness and depression.  These mental health issues can also affect their physical health.  In fact, when I had knee replacement surgery, my surgeon's assistant followed up for months with questionnaires about whether or not I was feeling lonely or depressed.  The questions included asking if I felt I had the personal support I needed, both physically and mentally, in order to fully recover from my surgery.  These are major issues for senior citizens.

While most of us realize that seeing a doctor, getting fresh air and exercise, sleeping enough and eating right are all good ways to overcome depression, many people lose the energy and motivation to seek out the help they need once they fall into deep despair.  It is far better to take care of your mental health before things have gone that far.

As a result, I was pleased to receive a request from a guest writer, Johny Kershaws, who offered to write a post on how we can all maintain our mental health as we age.  I was impressed with his suggestions, which are a good reminder for people of all ages. That guest post is below:

Maintaining Mental Health as We Age

by Johny Kershaws

As we age, practicing good self-care and paying extra attention to our mental health is essential. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and memory loss can be expected in seniors. Fortunately, some simple steps can help us maintain our mental well-being as we age. Here are some suggestions for maintaining mental health as we age.

Stay connected

One of the most crucial things older adults can do to stay healthy and preserve good mental health is to stay active. Exercise lowers stress, improves mood, increases energy, and delays cognitive degeneration. Exercise regularly to strengthen your muscles and joints as well as release endorphins, which are hormones that have anti-anxiety and anti-pain properties. In addition to lowering tension and enhancing sleep, exercise also boosts confidence and self-esteem.

Find activities which are both pleasant and practical for older persons is crucial. This could involve engaging in low-impact activities like yoga or tai chi, swimming in a pool, playing sports, going for a leisurely stroll with a friend or family member, signing up for a fitness class at the gym or community center, or having a leisurely walk. Regularly performing easy tasks like housework or gardening counts as exercise. Indoor exercise bikes designed for seniors offer a great way to stay active even when the weather outside is not ideal for walks.

Whatever the chosen activity, it's critical to set realistic goals and maintain consistency. The recommended amount of daily moderate exercise for older persons is 30 minutes, though this can be divided into smaller sessions if necessary.Whatever the chosen activity, it's critical to set realistic goals and maintain consistency. The recommended amount of daily moderate exercise for older persons is 30 minutes a day, though this can be divided into smaller sessions if necessary.


As we age, staying socially active can help us to maintain our mental health. Socializing helps us stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation, both associated with a decline in mental health. Staying connected with family, friends, and other social networks can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms while helping to increase self-esteem and feelings of belonging.

One way to stay social is by joining groups or clubs that relate to your interests, such as a book club, knitting circle, or outdoor activity group. This can help you develop relationships with others who share similar interests, making it easier to connect with people regularly. Attempting to stay in touch with your family and friends is very crucial. This can be done through regular phone calls, video chats, or even just sending an occasional email or text. Regularly scheduled get-togethers can also help you stay connected and foster meaningful relationships.

Eat a healthy diet to support the brain’s needs

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is one of the best ways to promote healthy brain function as we age. Eating foods rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can help support our mental health and well-being as we age. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean proteins, and fatty fish benefit mental health and can help protect against cognitive decline. Incorporating these nutrient-rich foods into one’s diet is key for supporting healthy brain functioning as we age.

Evidence suggests that an overabundance of unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed carbohydrates may negatively affect our mental health. Reducing the intake of unhealthy fats and sugars and limiting our consumption of processed carbohydrates can help keep the brain healthy and functioning as we age.

Try a new hobby

If we don't put self-care first as we age, our mental health may deteriorate. Taking up a new interest that promotes mental health is a fantastic approach to achieving this. This could involve anything from picking up a new skill—like learning a musical instrument or a new language—to creating art or gardening. All of these activities include using and exercising our brains in different ways. They can help keep our minds engaged and provide a sense of accomplishment and allow us to express ourselves creatively. By participating in these hobbies, we can also build relationships with like-minded individuals, potentially expanding our social circle and helping us stay mentally healthy. There is evidence that hobbies can increase our happiness levels and reduce stress.

Make sure to get enough sleep

Good sleep hygiene is vital for mental health. Adults over 65 especially need to prioritize getting enough restful sleep each night. To get the best quality of sleep, try to go to bed and wake up consistently each day and limit your exposure to electronic devices before bedtime. Avoiding caffeine late in the day can also help you get a better night’s sleep.

Find mental health support

Our needs for mental health may change as we become older. For seniors struggling with addiction, finding mental health help is crucial. Online counseling services are a fantastic resource for finding mental health information. These services enable you to get individual and group therapy sessions conveniently and comfortably at home. This is especially beneficial for people who find it challenging to attend in-person counseling due to age or physical constraints.

Connecting with your local mental health organizations and support groups, such as mental health centers or adult day care programs, is also a good idea. These services provide access to counseling, support groups, and other programs that can help you cope with the changes associated with aging. It's also essential to stay connected with friends and family. Talk to your loved ones about how you're feeling, and consider joining social clubs or community groups designed for seniors. This can help you stay connected with others and feel supported.


Be careful to schedule time for self-care and engage in stress-reduction exercises like yoga, deep breathing, and mindfulness meditation. You may keep a healthy mental outlook as you age by taking time to unwind and focus on your mental welfare. By taking charge of your mental health needs and seeking the necessary resources, you can ensure that you stay mentally healthy and resilient as you age. With the proper support, you can successfully navigate this new stage in life.

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Maintaining Your Serenity

Learn more at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com 

One way to maintain your your mental well-being to try to focus on keeping a sense of peace and serenity no matter what is going on in your life.   This little lovely tote back with a scene from Laguna Beach and the phrase "Living a Day at a Time" may be a helpful reminder to you to try to relax and maintain your peace-of-mind whenever you begin to worry, feel depressed or become upset.  

You can purchase this tote bag and other uplifting items at my Etsy store. For the moment I like the positive approach of reminding ourselves to stay serene as much as we can, considering the problems that life can throw our way.  Check out my Etsy Store 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

Photo credits: Photos from Deborah Dian and DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Describing Pain to Your Chiropractor - How to Get the Most out of Your Appointment

Chiropractors can dramatically reduce pain!

Have you ever visited a chiropractor, or are you considering turning to one to help you cope with your pain?  I have used a chiropractor for 30 years, and have found that they have often been able to relieve my pain better than a trip to my medical doctor.  I started seeing one when I was a busy Realtor, driving clients around in my car many hours a day.  Going to my chiropractor provided me the relief I needed to sooth my neck, shoulders and hips after a busy week.  

When I retired, and took up walking as a serious hobby in order to stay in shape, I still needed to go the chiropractor as I sometimes overworked different muscles and joints in my body.  

The relief I have have gotten from my numerous chiropractic visits over the years has greatly improved my life.  That is why I was delighted when a guest author, Jennifer Bell, asked if she could write an article about "How to Talk to Your Chiropractor About Pain."  Jennifer's post is below:

How To Talk To Your Chiropractor About Pain

Many individuals seek chiropractic care to alleviate pain and improve their overall well-being. However, without clear and accurate communication, the chiropractor may not fully grasp the nature and extent of the patient's pain, leading to sub-optimal treatment outcomes. Effective communication about pain is a two-way process that involves both the patient and the chiropractor actively exchanging information, asking questions, and providing feedback. By mastering the art of effective communication, patients can play an active role in their own healing process, while chiropractors can tailor their treatment plans to address the unique needs of each individual.

Throughout this article, we will provide a few practical tips and strategies to help patients engage in meaningful conversations with their chiropractors. By understanding how to articulate their pain experience, provide specific details, maintain a pain journal, communicate expectations, ask questions, provide feedback, and follow instructions, patients can ensure that their chiropractor has a comprehensive understanding of their pain and can deliver personalized care.

By implementing the advice and techniques presented in this article, patients will be better equipped to talk to their chiropractors about their pain, leading to improved treatment outcomes, enhanced patient satisfaction, and a stronger therapeutic alliance between the patient and the chiropractor.

Understand Your Pain:

Before your chiropractic appointment, take some time to reflect on your pain. Consider the location, intensity, frequency, and any factors that may worsen or alleviate it. This self-reflection will help you articulate your pain experience more effectively when speaking with your chiropractor.

Be Specific and Descriptive:

When describing your pain, provide specific details that can help your chiropractor understand your condition better. Use descriptive language to explain the nature of the pain, such as sharp, dull, throbbing, or shooting. Additionally, mention any activities or movements that aggravate or relieve the pain.

Maintain a Pain Journal:

Keeping a pain journal can be immensely helpful in documenting your symptoms and tracking any patterns or changes. Note down the date, time, duration, and severity of your pain episodes, along with any activities or factors that may have influenced them. This journal can serve as a valuable reference during discussions with your chiropractor.

Communicate Your Expectations:

Clearly communicate your goals and expectations to your back and neck pain center chiropractor. Discuss what you hope to achieve through chiropractic care and any specific concerns you may have. This open dialogue will enable your chiropractor to tailor their treatment approach accordingly and manage your expectations realistically.

Ask Questions:

Do not hesitate to ask questions if you have doubts or need clarification. Understanding the treatment plan, techniques, and potential outcomes is crucial for your engagement in the process. Your chiropractor should be willing to address your concerns and provide you with the necessary information to make informed decisions.

Provide Feedback:

During and after the treatment sessions, provide feedback to your chiropractor. Share any changes or improvements you have noticed, as well as any new or persistent issues. This feedback will help your chiropractor assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make adjustments if needed.

Follow Instructions:

Follow your chiropractor's recommendations and instructions diligently. This includes adhering to the prescribed treatment plan, performing any exercises or stretches as advised, and following lifestyle modifications, if suggested. Consistency and compliance are key to achieving optimal results.

Jennifer Bell

Effective communication with your chiropractor is essential for successful pain management and overall well-being. By understanding your pain, being specific and descriptive, maintaining a pain journal, communicating your expectations, asking questions, providing feedback, and following instructions, you can establish a collaborative relationship with your chiropractor. Remember, clear communication lays the foundation for personalized care and better outcomes, empowering you to take an active role in your own healing process.

About the Author:

Jennifer Bell is a wellness coach, long-time chiropractic patient, and writer for chiropractors in the Clearwater area.

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 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

Photo credits:  Jennifer Bell, Pixabay and Etsy

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Delete Your Internet History for a Safer Future

 By now, millions of Baby Boomers and other Americans have been on the internet for close to 25 years.  If you are like most of them, you almost certainly have signed up for countless online accounts from stores and other businesses. You may have had several email accounts, including those with former employers.  You may have been on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr and others for years.

Can you even remember every site you have been on, or what you posted, the comments you made, and the posts you "liked?"  Probably not.

Recently, I began closing old accounts which I had not used for years, such as my Reddit, Tumblr and Linked-in accounts.  Much to my surprise, I even discovered I had two Linked-in accounts!  I closed them both down.  I'm not looking for a job, and there is no reason for me to use Linked-in.  

However, I also realize that there is more we need to do to make sure our internet history is as tight as possible.  As a result, I was pleased to read an article in the November, 2021 issue of Reader's Digest which provided a number of tips for reducing the size of my internet footprint.  While I did not follow all their advice, anything we can do to eliminate past accounts and secure our current accounts will help keep us safer online.  Below are some helpful tips to get you started.

Delete any old accounts you no longer use.  Do not forget to close and delete old email accounts and online businesses you no longer use.  Can't remember them all?  If a company sends you a promotional email, you should try to delete your account with that company first and, afterwards, unsubscribe from their email list.  Google has the instructions for closing a wide variety of different email accounts.  Every business should have a link where you can delete the account you have with them.

Do not save payment details on every site where you make purchases.  If you regularly use a particular shopping site, such as Walmart or Amazon, then you may want to store your credit card information on the site to make shopping more convenient.  However, for that single sale you make once a year, it is much safer to enter your credit card information each time you make a purchase. Otherwise, it is possible a criminal could access that information and start making purchases.

Delete your old e-mails, even in accounts you currently use.  Do you really need to keep thousands of old emails?  Did you know that emails stored on a web server, such as Gmail, can legally be considered abandoned after 180 days and the government can access them with a search warrant?  Unless there is a reason to keep an old email, delete them all after a few months.  Set your "deleted emails" or "trash" folders to automatically delete old emails after a specific period of time. 

Update your passwords.  By now, it is very possible that you have used the same password for more than one account.  Stop it!  Give all the accounts you currently use a fresh, new password. In this way, if a hacker discovers an old account of yours that you forgot to delete, they cannot try using that old password with your current accounts. Use strong, unique passwords for each account you have.  With so many different passwords, it is a good idea to store them on your computer AND use a little notebook or address book to jot down your log-in information and passwords for every site you use.  Keep the notebook in a safe place, but tell at least one other person you trust where it is.  It could be very helpful if something happens to you and your family needs to close out your accounts to prevent the information from being stolen.

Try using a password manager.  I confess that I have not tried using a password manager, but you could try using a service such as 1Password (about $3 a month per person or $5 a month for a family).  The article in Reader's Digest also recommended a free service called Bitwarden. They did warn that not all free password managers are reliable, and some could be hacked, which would leave you even more vulnerable, so use your own judgement about using a password manager. 

Tighten your social media privacy.  What information do you want to reveal on the public pages of Facebook?  Think carefully before you reveal the year and place you were born, the place where you currently live, and similar information.  For older Americans, it is possible for a hacker to narrow down your possible Social Security numbers if they know your place of birth and the year you were born.  Social Security numbers were once based on this information, so there are just a few other digits they would have to guess.

Control who sees your Facebook posts.  If you have hundreds of Facebook "friends," it probably means you are revealing private information to hundreds of people you barely know.  I have made it a rule to limit the number of Facebook friends I have to family, relatives, close friends and people I actually know in "real life."  In addition, I have different groups who can see my posts.  All of my friends can see when I post a photo I took of a sunrise or the ocean.  A smaller group can see family photos or vacation photos.  Only a select, small group can see political posts and other topics which could be controversial.  There are a lot of advantages to setting up different groups and carefully selecting which group is going to see each post.  It may take you a few tries to refine who is in each group, but it will be worth your time if it helps you protect your privacy and avoid online arguments.

Delete old social media posts.  Facebook also has a Manage Activity tool which will allow you to delete or archive posts which are older than a certain date.  Instagram will allow you to delete or archive specific posts.  You can use a third-party tool called Tweet Delete to delete old Tweets, either automatically or according to your specific criteria. This could be helpful, for example, if you do not want old political posts used against you.  However, the site charges $4 to $6 a month for you to delete old Tweets. That is something to think about before you post a bunch of Tweets or re-Tweet things which you might have to explain during a job interview or political campaign!

Visit your My Google Account page to turn off any activity you do not want them to save.  Just go to Manage Your Google Account and in the left navigation panel click Data & Privacy.  Under History Settings, click My Activity and then decide which activities you want to turn off, such as your location history.  Is there really any reason why Google needs to know where you go?  Only if you are using Google maps.

Take more extreme measures if you are really concerned about your privacy.  If you really, really do not want anyone to know what you are doing online, you might switch from using Google and try DuckDuckGo, instead.  If you are worried about protecting your business secrets or hiding from a stalker, you can also go to the extreme of using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and/or using end-to-end encryption.  However, the majority of regular internet users do not need this level of privacy.  If you do decide to try these things, you may want to get expert assistance in setting everything up in the safest way possible.

See more at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com
You can find a variety of gifts for friends or family members at my Etsy shop.  There you will find jewelry, tote bags, framed nature photos, coffee mugs, t-shirts and much more. Check it all out 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

Photo credits: author's photo and Etsy graphic

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Life Expectancy Differences Between Democrats and Republicans

Readers of Baby-Boomer-Retirement have repeatedly shown interest in understanding what they can do in order to live a longer, healthier and less stressful life.  Since most Baby Boomers are now in their 60s and 70s, this interest is quite understandable.  No one wants to see their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, cut shorter than necessary.

As a result, it was with great interest that I learned that among the causes of a shorter lifespan, one factor which is often overlooked is your political party, as well as the prevailing political leanings in the state and community where you live.  In fact, as you can see in the map shown in the healthcare section of this post, there is an almost 20 year difference in average lifespan between people living in heavily Republican areas and heavily Democratic leaning areas.  

Of course, all of us know a favorite Republican aunt who lived to the ripe old age of 102, or that Democratic cousin who died at 45. However, despite these outliers, on average a Democrat living in a Democratic county in a Democratic state is likely to live to be significantly older and healthier than a Republican living in a Republican county in a Republican state.

On Average, Republicans Have Shorter Lifespans Than Democrats

The United States has been divided into two major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, for decades. These parties often have contrasting views on various political issues including gun violence, healthcare, environmental factors, education, and more, and it may surprise you to know that those issues can contribute to the differences in longevity. Below are some of the reasons why this may be true.

Gun Violence

Gun violence is a significant problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that firearms are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in the country, with an average of 40,000 deaths annually. It is the leading cause of death for children and teens. 

Republicans generally have a more lenient attitude towards gun control than Democrats, which plays a part in the shorter lifespans in areas where they are in control. Studies have shown that states with more permissive gun laws have higher rates of firearm-related deaths, including a study by the American Public Health Association which found that states with more permissive gun laws had a higher rate of firearm homicide than states with stricter gun laws.

Data compiled by: https://ghdx.healthdata.org/


Access to healthcare is a fundamental factor in determining an individual's health outcomes. Republicans generally oppose policies which would increase access to healthcare, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In contrast, Democrats support policies which aim to improve healthcare access. 

Research has shown that lack of healthcare access is associated with higher mortality rates. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that individuals who gained access to Medicaid through the ACA had a 6% lower mortality rate than those who remained uninsured. Many people also benefited by the Medicaid expansion during the Covid pandemic.  When the Medicaid expansion expires post-Covid, especially in the Southern states, people without healthcare are more likely to die at a younger age.

Another problem is that in some parts of the U.S., local hospitals, particularly maternity hospitals, have closed, which increases the risk of death in pregnant women and their babies.

In addition, differences in attitudes towards vaccines, science, and access to healthcare also contributed to a higher death rate during the pandemic in Republican communities, compared to Democratic leaning communities.  

All this adds up to a terrifying reality. The map above shows that people in the darkest blue counties have an average age at death of 86.8 years, while those who live in the darkest red communities have an average age at death of 66.8 years, which is a 20 year difference in the average age at death, all based on the political values of the county where you live. 

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also impact an individual's lifespan. Republicans have generally been skeptical of environmental policies which aim to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. In contrast, Democrats support these policies, especially in the states where they live. 

Research has shown that exposure to air pollution and other environmental factors can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including respiratory diseases and cancer. A study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that exposure to air pollution was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. 

Of course, some highly polluted cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, are in Democratic leaning areas, while many Republicans live in rural, Midwestern areas which may seem to have less air pollution from industry and cars. On the other hand, people in rural areas are more likely to be subjected to exposure to farm pollution, such as chemicals dropped from crop dusters, which can also be deadly.  Despite the higher air pollution in certain Democratic cities, the states of California and New York still have the second and third highest life expectancies in the U.S.  (Hawaii has the highest).  Any health damage caused by pollution may be offset by the other health advantages available to the residents of Democratic states.


Education is an important factor in an individual's socioeconomic status and overall health outcomes. Democrats generally support policies which attempt to increase access to education, such as affordable college tuition and student loan forgiveness. In contrast, Republicans are more skeptical of policies designed to increase equal educational opportunities for all. 

The problem with lower educational opportunities in some states is that research shows that higher levels of education are associated with lower mortality rates. A study by the American Journal of Public Health found that individuals with a college degree had a 28% lower mortality rate than those without a high school degree. Improving educational opportunities, and making higher education more affordable, is one way to improve the lifespan of the citizens of a state.

Income Inequality

Income inequality is another factor which can impact an individual's lifespan. Republicans generally support policies which favor the wealthy, such as tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of the financial sector. In contrast, Democrats support policies which aim to reduce income inequality, such as progressive taxation, increasing the minimum wage and supporting programs such as Social Security and financial safety nets for the poorest Americans.

Researchers have found that income inequality is associated with higher mortality rates, including a study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which discovered that income inequality was associated with a shorter lifespan. Many Republican leaning Southern states in the U.S., including Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arkansas, are among the poorest states and also tend to be places where people do not live as long. Essentially, poverty kills.


Stress is another factor which can impact an individual's lifespan and this is something which can affect both Republicans and Democrats, although they often have different sources of stress. Republicans who live in areas where there is a lot of poverty may experience more stress due to economic insecurity, while certain groups of Democrats may experience more stress due to discrimination and social inequality. 

Studies have shown that chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and depression. A study by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that job stress was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  It is hard to assess how different types of stress can affect lifespan, but regardless of where you live, your life expectancy will probably be longer if you feel less stressed.   


In conclusion, where you live and your political affiliation may affect how long you will live. This is due to a wide variety of factors, including gun violence, healthcare access, environmental factors in your community, access to higher education in your state, the income inequality or discrimination you experience, and your overall stress.  Of course, where you live is not the ONLY factor which will determine how long you will live.  Your longevity will also be determined by your genes, how well you take care of yourself, whether you smoke, get exercise, eat right, and other issues.  However, just knowing that there is a 20 year longevity difference in the United States between the most strongly Republican and Democratic counties is certainly something to consider when thinking about where you want to live and raise a family.

Since this topic may be controversial to some readers, you can find a full list of the citations for this research at the end of this article, and explore the research which interests you the most.  By reading the background material, you may even find ways to reduce the impact of these issues on your personal life.  

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One way that many Americans are reducing their financial stress is by having a side gig, such as an Etsy store or other business.  
You can even choose a business which is designed to help other people, such as tutoring or selling products which help others.  

In my Etsy store, I often sell gifts for a variety of people, as well as jewelry and other items which are designed to help people in 12 Step recovery programs like AA, NA, Alanon and similar groups.  

You can find this and hundreds of other items at: 

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“America Under Fire: An Analysis of Gun Violence in the United States and the Link to Weak Gun Laws.” Center for American Progress, 2016.

“2021 Gun Law State Scorecard.” Giffords Law Center, 2021.


Kaufman, Elinore J., et al. “Rural–Urban Differences in Firearm Ownership and Storage Practices Among Adult Owners in Alaska.” Journal of Rural Health, vol. 35, no. 2, 2019, pp. 213–21.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports. Available from: https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10_us.html

Kalesan B, Mobily ME, Keiser O, Fagan JA, Galea S. Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study. The Lancet. 2016; 387(10030):1847-55.

Webster DW, Vernick JS, Zeoli AM, Manganello JA. Association between youth-focused firearm laws and youth suicides. JAMA. 2004; 292(5):594-601.

Sommers BD, Epstein AM. The Affordable Care Act and mortality in US adults. New England Journal of Medicine. 2017; 376(10):1-9.

Gruber J, Sommers BD. The Affordable Care Act’s effects on Americans’ health. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 2018; 2018(1):1-84.

Brauer M, Hoek G, van Vliet P, et al. Air pollution from particulate matter emissions in the European Union decreases life expectancy by almost a year. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019; 116(52):26211-6.

Lipsett MJ. Air pollution and cardiovascular disease. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1997; 105(Suppl 1):23-8.

Elo IT. Social class differentials in health and mortality: patterns and explanations in comparative perspective. Annual Review of Sociology. 2009; 35(1):553-72.

Hayward MD, Gorman BK. The long arm of childhood: the influence of early-life social conditions on men's mortality. Demography. 2004; 41(1):87-107.

Wilkinson RG, Pickett KE. Income inequality and population health: a review and explanation of the evidence. Social Science & Medicine. 2006; 62(7):1768-84.

Marmot MG, Wilkinson RG. Social determinants of health. Oxford University Press; 2005.

Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000; 62(5):623-32.

McEwen BS. Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine. 1998; 338(3):171-9.

Landsbergis PA, Dobson M, Koutsouras G, Schnall P. Job strain and ambulatory blood pressure: a meta-analysis and systematic review. American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103(3):e61-e71.