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In this week’s Trending Topics Talk, I am joined by Career Expert and Author, Eileen Williams from Feisty Side of Fifty and Mike Drak who is a Retirement Coach, Author and Public Speaker from Victory Lap Retirement.
We discuss a variety of different topics that have been trending over the past week;
Booming Encore's Trending Topics Talk - June 20th - YouTube
Some highlights of what we discussed;
How Is Life Different Today for Millennials Versus Previous Generations
The Pew Research Center published some research on how life is now different for millennials today then it was for past generations. Some changes included levels of education, ages they are marrying and where they are living. We chat about this report and share some of our own perspectives of the challenges they may face.
Boomers Innovating Retirement
Similar to other times in their lives, baby boomers are transforming how they plan to live in their retirement. Flexible working conditions to embracing the sharing economy – they are doing things differently.
We discuss how we see retirement changing and where there may be some opportunities for both individuals and organizations.
Cannabis Use By Older Adults
Both the AARP and the Globe and Mail recently published articles about the increase use of cannabis by older adults to help them manage pain. We each share our thoughts on this practice along with the legalization of marijuana.
How do you feel about the idea of retiring on a cruise ship?
There was a recent article written in Forbes about Mama Lee Wachstetter, who turned 90 years old in May and had retired aboard the Crystal Serenity. She had been living continuously on this luxury cruise ship for the past nine years.
This sounds pretty luxurious doesn’t it?
There’s an increasing trend of people starting to consider this as an option – and for some good reasons. Here are just a few;
Imagine the options of great dining, nightly entertainment, health facilities and more. These are all available on a cruise ship.
During your time in retirement, a cruise ship could offer you the chance to travel to different parts of the world that may interest you.
The cost of retiring on a cruise ship has been compared to being similar to costs of living in a retirement community. Of course, these costs may vary depending on the type of cruise or the retirement community that you are comparing each other to.
Doctor On Board
The majority of cruises do offer access to an onboard physician.
But along with the pros, there are often some cons. Here are just a couple that you may want to consider;
Away from home
When you’re on a cruise ship, you’re not at home and continually moving around. The closeness to family and friends may be something that you might miss.
Although there may be a physician on board, emergency services, geriatric specialization and meeting any other immediate health needs may not always be available.
Increased Fall Risks
Making your way around a ship if you have some mobility challenges could be a potential issue. Small corridors, stairs, changing floor types combined with moving around on a moving vessel could pose some challenges.
As much as we all like to think that cruise ships just glide across the sea without a ripple, there are storms and turbulent waters that can sometimes make the trip a bit of a bumpy ride.
So, along with any major decisions the suggestion is to always to do your research to make sure that this is something that you really want to do.
If cruising in your retirement is something that you might be interested in, it’s probably something your would want to consider trying it on a short term trial first before completely diving in to make sure that it is the right choice for you.
Here is more information about this trend in the following video from CNBC;
Retiring At Sea Can Be Cheaper Than Just Staying Home | CNBC - YouTube
This week I was joined by Author and Career Expert Eileen Williams from Feisty Side of Fifty along with Joe Casey a Retirement Coach and Managing Partner from Retirement Wisdom to chat about some of the topics that have been trending over the last week or so that concern baby boomers, aging and retirement.
Here’s what we discussed this week;
Booming Encore's Trending Topics Talk - June 13th - YouTube
Have We Forgotten How to Have Fun As We Age?
An article in the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that we have forgotten to have fun as we get older. We now have plentiful leisure time but are not filling it with things that are considered fun. (for example the amount of TV the average retiree watches if 48 hours a week – that is more than the equivalent of a full time job!).
We discuss have we forgotten how to have fun as we get older?
Perceptions of Aging
The Royal Society for Public Health in the UK conducted some research to find out what some of the perceptions were of aging (spoiler alert – they weren’t very good).
This week we chat about some of these perceptions and why they may exist.
The Power of “Old” Money – What Does This Mean?
We all know that the population is aging and along with this will come changes. In an article written by Forbes – they share how some examples of how organizations will need to rethink retirement, individuals will need to work longer and reskill, new products and services will be required.
We talk about what we expect some of the changes that may be necessary as well as some potential opportunities.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
For years as a literature teacher, I guided students in examinations of this brief, yet powerful poem by 20th Century American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson.
Robinson’s direct prose allowed students to easily discover the main themes expressed – appearance vs. reality; the relationship among success, money, and happiness; the tragic costs of isolation; and the inherent irony in life. The topics suggested by the poem invariably prompted wide-ranging discussions of suicide and its causes and effects.
I was thinking a lot about “Richard Cory” and its meanings last week following the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom, like the fictional Cory, would classify as members of the famed-and-seemingly-favored club.
Spade, 55, was a fashion designer whose handbags carried many women into adulthood, while the 61-year-old Bourdain was a larger-than-life figure — a gifted chef and storyteller who used his popular books and TV shows to explore culture, cuisine, and the human condition.
Ironically, the deaths of Spade and Bourdain provided a dramatic personal highlight to a report, released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that shows rates of death by suicide in the United States have risen by roughly 25 percent in the past couple decades. For example, in the last year of the study (2016), nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives.
Here are three key demographic findings from the report:
There is a gender factor that really shows in the CDC study. While the suicide rate increased in women, it’s still 3 to 5 times higher in men.
Veterans are also a key part of the demographics; while veterans make up only 8.5% of the population, they are 18% of adult suicides.
Middle-age adults had the highest increase in suicides. Though it’s not clear why, there are some hints that the economic effects of the Great Recession of 2008 could be partly responsible.
“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes (the two others are Alzheimer’s and drug overdoses) that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem—and something that is all around us. Our data shows the problem is getting worse,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
Others claim it stems from the rise of technology, which has replaced important face-to-face interactions. But in the end, all these explanations are speculative as scientists struggle to find the still evasive answers.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 in the U.S. For that cohort, suicide is often connected to bullying, sexual violence, or child abuse, according to the recent studies.
However, as troubling as that may be, many researchers see an even more alarming rise for aging Baby Boomers, especially for males born between 1946 and 1964.
Currently, Bourdain’s age group – those between ages 55 to 64 – have the third highest rate of suicide, at 18.71 per every 100,000 Americans and it is steadily increasing. In fact there has been a 43% increase in the suicide rate for men aged 45 to 64 between 1999 and 2004.
One of the most disturbing findings in the new CDC report is that more than half of the deaths happened among people who had not been diagnosed with mental illness. And here gender and age do make a difference. As a group, older men are particularly wary of seeking treatment, as they perceive a stigma around depression and mental illness as a whole.
Then too, the manifestation of the disease is often different in men than in women. For the men who do seek help, experts say the indicators of depression are often ill-defined such as a propensity to substance abuse or violence, which means proper mental health treatment can be delayed.
“For anyone, but especially for men, it is very brave to be able to say, ‘I feel horrible and I need to reach out’. You are revealing your vulnerabilities and our culture does not really respect vulnerability,” says Susan Lindau, a practicing therapist and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in suicide.
Now 67, Springsteen has been suffering for 15 years from a private darkness – recurring serious bouts of chronic depression which he says opens “a terrifying window into mental debilitation,” leaving him with “an agitated depression” that feels “dangerous and brings plenty of unwanted thoughts.”
But while there are those like Springsteen who have sought and are responding to treatment, in the next few months, health experts are concerned about ripples from Spade’s and Bourdain’s suicides from people who aren’t in treatment.
When comedian Robin Williams killed himself in 2014, there was a 10 percent increase in suicides in the four months that followed. That syndrome is now called “the celebrity suicide effect.”
”The celebrity suicide effect is the consequences of a celebrity suicide in the digital era.” You have to wonder — worry — whether that might happen now, too,” says David S. Fink at Columbia University, who was a central figure in a CNN story this past February describing Williams’ death and its aftereffects.
￼So, what can, and what should you do if you notice a family member or friend exhibiting signs of depression you fear could end in tragedy?
I can’t help but wonder if living in a commune as we age isn’t such a bad idea.
Now before you say “didn’t we try this once before?” – here’s the reason why I’m even suggesting we revisit it again.
I was reading some recent research conducted by Ohio State University that discovered that social ties could possibly preserve memory and slow brain aging.
Now this particular finding by itself isn’t that new. There have been many studies that support the need for social interactivity to maintain healthy brain functions. But what I thought was really interesting was this component of the study;
“…The Ohio State University found that mice housed in groups had better memories and healthier brains than animals that lived in pairs.”
In this study, they actually housed older mice in both a mix of couples (as they termed an “old-couple model”) and then other mice in groups of six. What they discovered at the end of the study was; “The group-housed mice had fewer signs of this inflammation, meaning that their brains didn’t look as ‘old’ as those that lived in pairs…”.
This is when I thought of communes.
The thing is though, when I think about a commune the first thing that pops in my mind is “free love”, hippies and tie dye. But as I looked into this concept further, there were actually some positive living arrangements this lifestyle was looking to embrace.
a small group of persons living together, sharing possessions, work, income, etc., and often pursuing unconventional lifestyles.
a close-knit community of people who share common interests.
Without us getting into the “unconventional lifestyle” discussion, I could see how living with a strong social network of people who share, watch out and support each other couldn’t help but be good for aging.
Not being lonely, having a sense of purpose, keeping physically active and a healthy diet are all are key conditions for positive aging. So living in a group setting that supports this could be extremely valuable.
So whether we call it a commune, co-op or a shared living arrangement, I think the value for positive aging is in the creation of a close-knit community where people share and care for each other.
Actually, isn’t this what we all need?
Here’s an example of an older communal living arrangement in Spain;
Trabensol: A hippie-like community only for seniors - YouTube
We’re trying something new here at Booming Encore – we have just waded into the wonderful world of video!
Today we are launching a new video chat series on trending topics that concern baby boomers, aging and retirement.
In this session, I am joined by two of our Booming Encore ongoing contributors – Eileen Williams, an Author and Career Expert from Feisty Side of Fifty and Joe Casey, a Retirement Coach and Managing Partner from Retirement Wisdom.
Here’s what we discussed in this segment;
There’s been a new term buzzing around lately called unretirement. Basically, it’s a situation where someone retires and then returns back to the workforce often in a different capacity. In one article they shared that 39% of workers aged 65 to 71 had previously retired. We chat about what unretirement means and why this may be happening.
In an article written by Ageing Better in the UK, they shared that as many essential services are being moved online there were 4.8 million people over the age of 55 who were not using the internet and were at risk of missing out on these services along with companies increasingly offer only-only deals. This was creating for a call for “digital inclusion” and some support to help elder people get online.
We discuss the implications of this and whether there is also a digital divide in North America.
Aging Life Lessons
There was a really interesting article in CNBC about Iris Apfel titled: 10 life lessons from a 96 year old who is probably cooler than you.
Iris is an icon in the fashion industry and the post documented some of her life story along with sharing some of her life lessons.
A couple of her suggestions to age well were;
Don’t obsess over your age
Pick a partner who celebrates your successes
Care about your own opinion above anyone else’s
Don’t pretend you are younger than you are
In our chat, we each share one of our own personal life lessons.
Here’s the video. We are always interested in hearing your feedback so please let us know what you think!
Booming Encore's Trending Topics Talk - June 6th - YouTube
If you are already making a regular routine of taking a walk that is great. In fact, you don’t even have to walk that much in order to derive some benefits.
According to a study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, as little as two hours of walking a week can significantly reduce your mortality rate (when compared with being inactive).
But if you are going for a fast walk – turns out that this is even better.
A recent study completed by the University of Sydney suggests that walking at a fast pace can actually extend longevity – especially for older people.
In an article in Newsweek, they reported “Those age 60 or older who walked at an average pace saw their risk of death from heart disease decrease by 46 percent, and 53 percent for those who walked fast.”
They also shared from the study that;
“Walking at an average pace was found to cut the risk of death overall by a fifth, while speeding up to a brisk or fast pace was associated with a cut in the risk of death of almost a quarter. The researchers found almost the same results for cutting the risk of death caused by heart disease.”
Here is more information about the study in the following video:
Walk Fast, Live Longer - YouTube
So now is probably a great time to lace up your sneakers and go for a nice, brisk walk!
Elder abuse is one of those really uncomfortable topics to talk about.
It’s not something we talk about with our friends over coffee or on the golf course. In fact, most of us hope that our loved ones are safe from abuse as much as we hope that we will be when we become elderly.
It’s important to recognize when talking about elder abuse, exactly what it is.
Elder abuse can include inflicting physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and also financial harm. The abuse can be from a stranger, a family member, a friend or neighbour or a trusted professional. Elder abuse can create tremendous harm and trauma for the victim, impacting them for the rest of their life.
The World Health Organization reported that 1 in 6 older people experienced some form of abuse in the past year and that 6.8% were affected by financial abuse. They also shared that that the ability to gather this type of data is limited so these numbers may in fact be actually under reported.
When it comes to financial elder abuse, the CDC defines this as;
“the illegal, unauthorized, or improper use of an older individual’s resources by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship, for the benefit of someone other than the older individual. This includes depriving an older person of rightful access to, information about, or use of, personal benefits, resources, belongings, or assets. Examples include forgery, misuse or theft of money or possessions; use of coercion or deception to surrender finances or property; or improper use of guardianship or power of attorney.”
So what signs do you need to be aware of and what should you do if you suspect someone you know is being abused?
Financial elder/senior abuse is about taking advantage of someone and their finances. The perpetrator can be a stranger (website, scam, telephone call, etc.) or it can be a friend or family member. Some examples can include, but aren’t limited to:
A financial planner promises your grandparent that if they invest with them, they will be guaranteed a return of 20%
A grandchild continuously “borrows” money from a grandparent and never pays them back
A telemarketer calls your elderly uncle and tells him he’s won a free trip to an exotic location, but he first needs to give his credit card number to pay for the taxes
Your neighbour found a dating website and she’s “talking” with someone, who professes their love and wants to be together but first they have to clear up some financial issues and they need help
Your brother convinces your elderly parent to change their estate plan and grant him Power of Attorney and he wipes your parent’s account clean
Your parent co-signs or guarantees a loan under duress from another family member
The examples could go on for pages.
However sometimes it’s not obvious that it is abuse – your elderly family member or friend may not disclose their story to you.
They may not know they’re being taken advantage of; they may be embarrassed and ashamed; they may have been threatened by the abuser; they may be worried that they won’t be believed; they may believe that disclosing the abuse means it will break up the family and they don’t wish to be responsible for this; and/or they may not have the capacity to communicate the abuse.
Financial elder/senior abuse can be subtle or obvious. Some signs to look out for include, but aren’t limited to:
A sudden drop in the standard of living of the senior family member – this may be because they are giving or loaning money to someone and don’t have enough to keep up with their own expenses
A new caregiver, friend or love interest – the senior family members can feel lonely and may appreciate the company and attention, but it costs them money, outside of the normal costs of a relationship (paying for caregiving services, coffee with a friend, a dinner date)
A joint account with the senior family member that is being drained
Money is missing and/or credit cards are being used for things the senior family member would not purchase
The senior family member’s belongings are missing
The senior family member ’s will is changed suddenly and/or Power of Attorney is handed over to someone
Care for the senior family member goes down, but the cost remains or care is not provided by the “caregiver”
Money is borrowed, but never paid back, over and over again
The senior family member becomes more isolated, keeping the secret of the abuser
If any of these experiences resonate with you and you feel as though you are being taken advantage of or being abused, you can:
Talk to someone you trust
Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, talk to a reliable source before giving money
Say no to family borrowing money even if they threaten to cut off contact – if your relationship comes with financial strings, it’s abuse
Talk with a lawyer
Consider talking to the police
If you suspect an elderly family member or friend is being abused financially:
Talk to your senior family member with compassion – tell them that you are worried about their well-being and you want to help them
Listen to their story, their feelings as well as what they want
Talk with an expert, who can help (financial institution, lawyer, police)
Create a plan to prevent this from happening in the future
Elder/senior financial abuse is a frightening and growing issue.
Our elderly family members cared for us when we were young and vulnerable, and we must in return, provide a safe environment, free of financial abuse.
For more information, here are some available resources;
In Canada: The Canadian Centre for Elder Law by calling 604-822-0242, by email at email@example.com, or by visiting their website. There is also a useful resource for Canadians by province or territory on the Government of Canada’s website.
In the US: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has some tools and resources to help protect older adults from fraud and financial exploitation. As well, the National Center on Elder Abuse provides a State Directory for support.
Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy is the Director of Education and Community Awareness at the Credit Counselling Society. She has a Master’s degree in Family Ecology, is a professional Coach and a Certified Educator in Personal Finance. She has presented at various conferences and has served on expert panels at University of British Columbia and Carleton University. She has published articles in Canadian Living, Vanier Institute for the Family, My Money Coach and Amik, and has been interviewed by CBC Radio, Global National, and the Toronto Star. Stacy has co-written two workbooks – Making Cent$ of Money and Money Management Basics – and has developed personal finance curriculum for various workshops and webinars. Stacy serves on a national financial education committee.
Does the idea of travelling the world to visit different and exotic places excite you but you’re just not sure you could afford it?
Well that is exactly what Michael and Debbie Campbell from Seattle wondered.
And then they actually did it.
Not only did they travel the world – they became interns for AirBNB – a service that provides people to offer their homes for short term rentals and leases.
And they haven’t looked back since.
They initially discovered AirBNB back in 2012 and it sparked the idea that they could in fact afford to travel the world.
Since becoming nomad retirees, they shared some of their tips on how to live this lifestyle in the following video from CNBC;
Here are their seven tips to being a nomad in retirement;
#1: Stay in AirBNB’s
Now given that the couple are AirBNB intern’s probably means that this is the starting point for all their travel plans.
#2: Set a Budget
They suggest that you start by mapping out the places you would like to visit and figuring out how much it would cost to stay there. Michael and Debbie set a budget of $90 / night on average. They found sometimes it was a bit higher, sometimes it was a bit lower but they liked to stay within that average range.
#3: Buy Experiences Not Things
The Campbell’s suggest trading in buying things for buying experiences instead. Not only are you left with great memories – experiences also don’t overload an already over packed suitcase.
#4: Live Like A Local
When visiting a city, they suggest to try and see the free things the city has to offer. Also make a point of spending time with locals – they will often give you tips and advice on the best places to go and see. As well, be sure to buy and prepare your own meals.
#5: Keep a Journal For Your Expenses
Daily, the Campbell’s tracked what activities they did, how much they spent and kept the receipts all in a journal. This way they knew exactly what they spent and where they spent it.
#6: Walk Alot
When choosing where to stay, the Campbell’s would often select to stay in the centre of the city so that they could walk to where they wanted to go. Not only was this less expensive for transportation costs but also helped them maintain their health.
#7: Find an Internship If You Can
The couple suggest that you see if there is an organization that may be interested in what you are doing. In the Campbell’s case, it was just a matter of reaching out and asking AirBNB. You never know what might someone may say if you don’t ask.
Overall, the Campbell’s discovered that they could live in smaller spaces with fewer things and when they eventually return to Seattle, they hope they will understand more about exactly what they really need to be comfortable.
So it seems that based on the Campbell’s experience if you’re willing to plan, budget and manage your expenses you may just be able to travel the world like a nomad.