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If you’re preparing for surgery chances are you may be concerned about how the surgery will go and how long your recovery will be. Will there be complications? How long will it take before you can get back to your regular routines?
What if there was a way to speed up this process? What if there was something that you could do that could help minimize your pain and suffering after surgery?
Well, it turns out there just may be.
The Ottawa Citizen recently reported on a pilot study completed by The Ottawa Hospital with cancer patients. The study enrolled 100 patients in a home based exercise program prior to surgery. The patients were assigned a combination of cardiovascular, muscle strength, and stretching exercises along with being provided nutrition advice prior to their surgeries. They were monitored and met with staff weekly to discuss the program and their progress.
They are still analyzing the outcomes of the study but the initial results look extremely positive.
As well, another study of elderly patients undergoing cardiovascular surgery also found similar results. The study shared;
“There is high quality evidence that preoperative exercise is effective in reducing the length of stay and the number of complications after cardiac surgery, particularly in the vulnerable patient.”
And yet another study from Duke University found that when older patients who were scheduled for abdominal surgery exercised, ate healthy, minimized their stress and anxiety plus some other things that they reported they;
Spent less time in the hospital (four days versus six days for a control group)
Were less likely to return to the hospital in the next 30 days (7.8 percent vs. 18.3 percent)
More likely to return home without the need for home health care (62.3 percent vs. 51.1 percent)
They also had slightly fewer complications.
Being in good physical shape is always a good thing and it looks like it’s also extremely valuable prior to surgery. Of course, it is always wise to consult your physician or healthcare professional prior to starting any exercise regime.
Here is Marie Lapointe sharing her personal results as being part of the Ottawa Hospital program.
Pre-op exercise program for elderly patients scores early results at The Ottawa Hospital - YouTube
Getting in shape for surgery. It looks like spending some time up front may save a great deal of time (and possibly pain) later.
All of us would like to age in a comfortable and caring community – but what exactly does that look like?
Joe Carella believes he knows what it is.
Joe is the Executive Director of the Scandinavian Living Center in Newton, MA as well as the author of Creating Unlimited Options For Aging: The Path Forward. Joe discovered his passion for caring for older people as a result of being placed in a geriatric ward of a hospital recovering from an injury. During his stay, Joe witnessed the amount of isolation for elders and saw it as a stark contrast to the close-knit, multi-generational “we all take care of one another” community he grew up in. As a result of this experience, it set him off on a journey to find a new model and in his search he discovered community centered living.
In this Learning Bites episode, Joe joined us to discuss what exactly is the philosophy and thinking behind a community centered living model and some of the value that has resulted to both the residents and the community.
Here is our discussion;
The Value Of Community Centered Living - YouTube
Here are some of the highlights of our conversation;
The intention of community centered living is to eliminate institutional isolation, segregation and design. It is intended to create the opportunity for people from the community to gather and for the residents – regardless of their current support needs from nursing home to independence – feel that they are engaged as part of this larger community.
To create this setting, Joe suggests it’s best to start with the gathering needs of the community and then create a welcoming, residential setting for the entire community.
What happens when the community is involved, all their clubs and programs become part of the residents opportunities for connection as well as the residents programs also being available to the community
A good analogy is that the residence becomes a community center hub for the community that also provides living accommodations. It’s about building something for the entire community.
So many people want to stay in their own homes because they do not want to go into an institution that segregates and isolates them. By building community centered living options, Joe is able to educate the community on a “new normal” option for aging. A center that allows for everyone to be involved.
The Scandinavian’s have embraced this model for some time and the reason is that they believe in community – and focus on keeping people together. Joe believes that our current models in North America are based on housing and protection and as a result of this we isolate our older population. We currently do not believe that housing could also be a gathering place.
For example, Joe’s center receives 2000 visitors a month (and this is not including family and friends of the residents). The Scandinavian Living Center is considered to be a “cool” place to gather by the community
The activities that the residence supports is anything that the community wants. Joe starts his programs with what does the community need. They are not limited by programs only for their residents. The community pays to participate and the residents get the value of attending any of the programs and not having to pay.
In order to implement this type of community centered living model, Joe believes the community must be involved. If anyone is interested in starting this type of living option, Joe suggests start with the city and towns and discuss the gathering needs for their community and then build from there.
If you are interested in seeing more of Booming Encore’s Learning Bites, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.
There are many formal definitions of the word and everyone seems to have a view or their own opinion on what it is.
But I did discover one definition of wisdom that I particularly liked;
“Wisdom is the store of knowledge that a society or culture has collected over a long period of time.”
Continuing with this thought, back in 2008 Photographer and Filmaker Andrew Zukerman with the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu interviewed some of the leading elders of our generation and asked them to describe what they believed wisdom was and/or how it should be applied.
Here are just some of the thoughts that he captured.
One of my favourite thoughts was from June Godall who referenced the wisdom of indigenous people in their decision processes; “How will this decision affect our people seven generations ahead?“.
In the post, the author of the article shared his experiences and discoveries after his visit to the AgeLab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge.
The article does a great job of sharing some of the new technologies that are currently being developed to help an aging population. But there was one statement referencing how the AgeLab was actually a paradox that made me really stop and think;
“Old people will not buy anything that reminds them that they are old. They are a market that cannot be marketed to…. We would rather suffer because we’re old than accept that we’re old and suffer less.”
This, like so many other things about aging, is truly a paradox.
We all want to live a long and high quality of life but in order to do this are we guilty of not being willing to use products or services that we think makes us look old?
Does our vanity, desire for independence and possibly even our own ageist views stop us from accepting the help and support we may actually need?
I think this is possibly the case for some things and not so much for others.
For example, it is projected that there will be a significant increase in the number of knee and hip replacements. The knee replacement market alone is estimated to be worth $25 billion by the year 2025 with a large portion of this market increase a result of an aging population.
Similarly, the cosmetic surgery market is also experiencing a bit of a boom. The demand for fillers and minimally invasive procedures has seen a dramatic increase. And one of the primary reasons being cited is “An overwhelming majority of patients felt that skin care was critical to improving the appearance of aging on the face“.
What all of these three segments have in common is that these procedures are not necessarily anything that is outwardly visible and directly connected to our age. These activities are all done in a private setting and once completed, doesn’t expose someone’s age. In fact if anything, they offer the hopes of reversing the perception of someone’s age.
Whereas some of the new technologies being developed may be more visible to other people and shine a light on the fact that someone is older. As a simple example, chances are the majority of us wouldn’t hesitate to use a cane or crutch if we had some type of injury. But if we needed it to help us walk because of mobility challenges, would we be so quick to accept it? I’m sure most of us would find it much easier to explain an injury to someone rather than admit we needed help because of an issue related to aging.
I get it. In actual fact, I think I’m guilty of this myself in some ways. But I think we need to shift this thinking and be more open to accepting some of these new products and services designed to help us age. We need to face the reality that we are in fact aging and if something is designed that helps us do this better we should use it.
Let’s try looking at this from another perspective. If someone you loved was in need of help and there was something that could assist them, would you not insist that they accept the support?
Maybe we need to think this way for ourselves as well. We need to remove the stigma and judgement of aging and age related products and be willing to accept the support that it offers us.
Even if we don’t want to do this for ourselves, maybe we should accept the responsibility to be role models for the generations that will follow and break through this aging paradox.
The world is aging. The World Health Organization shared “the number of older persons — those aged 60 years or over — is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100“.
The implications of this increased longevity will undoubtedly bring both challenges and opportunities.
To help us better understand the impacts of this increasing longevity, we spoke with Michael Nuschke from Retirement Singularity. Michael’s previous experience was in the financial sector helping individuals ensure that they had saved enough to fund their retirement. He now specializes in understand the future of longevity and the implications that this may have on retirement.
Here is our Learning Bites episode discussing this topic;
The Implications Of Longevity - YouTube
These are some of the highlights of our discussion;
How Longevity Has Evolved
Longevity is defined as living a long life. Michael suggests that the terms life span and health span are also now being used in reference to longevity
Life spans have been steadily increasing over time. For example 200 to 300 years ago, the average life span was 30 years. With the medical advancements, improvements in hygiene, discovery of antibiotics and our ability to treat conditions that were previously terminal along with reducing the number of child deaths have all contributed to increasing our longevity
Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in life expectancy by about 3 months per year. Average life span has now increased to approximately 80 to 85 years which is almost double to what it was 150 years ago
What is interesting however is that lately however there has been a slight dip in average life spans as a result of some of our social and cultural issues. For example the opioid crisis and addictions, specific health issues and even suicide have been contributors to this drop
The Future Of Longevity
With the advances now being realized in science and technology along with the discoveries associated with DNA are all beginning to have an impact on our future longevity as we begin to better understand our genetic makeup and creating the potential opportunity to change our genes to increase longevity
Medical innovations and breakthroughs are also coming much faster than in previous years. With the addition of computing power and high tech tools we are now able to more quickly engineer these advances much quicker then over the last fifty years
Some people are projecting that the next ten years advancements will come at the pace that was previously set over a one hundred year span
Some Implications Of Extended Longevity
We are getting closer to having people live in relatively good health past the age of 100 if this is the case then the idea of retirement as we previously know it will need to change. Possibly becoming a next phase in life where someone embraces a new career or activity will become the new norm
For example, the idea of living to 120+ is now potentially within reach. Should someone retire at the age of 65, they would then really be only around half way through their lifespan. So the idea of “winding down” or retiring at that age in the traditional sense is really no longer viable
Here are some of the significant implications of longevity should someone live a longer life;
People will need to be prepared to fund a much longer lifespan
People will need to be prepared to spend money on getting and staying healthy
People will need to be prepared to be open to accepting things that possibly haven’t been discovered yet
Pension plans and their calculations will need to be reviewed and revised based on new life span expectations
Some of the positives of an increased life span are better health, more time to enjoy our lives and potentially the opportunity to explore more aspects of our lives
Previously, people used to get old and die. Now with increase longevity we can change this mindset. For instance, here is a thought – what if aging became something optional. With so many changes and advancements coming, anyone who is aging will more than likely be impacted.
Things To Focus On Today To Embrace Your Longevity
Mike has a code on things you can do today to help you live a longer life tomorrow. The acronym is RECIPE;
R – Reframing retirement. Rethink your views of retirement in this new world we are entering. Does your current views reflect the new realities?
E – Elevate our health. Stay healthy, eat a nutritious diet, ensure you get enough sleep and exercise
C – Stay connected. You need to stay socially connected and engaged with other people
I – Sustainable income and investment. You may need to take a look at ways to ensure an ongoing sustainable income with potentially other sources of income and cash flow options. Also ensure that you invest in yourself and your earning power. You may need to develop new skills and capabilities to remain employable as you age
P -Planning. Plan out this portion of your life. From your finances to your career to your lifestyle
E – Enlighten yourself and others. Stay informed and engaged with what is happening. Educate yourself on the different developments and options
Here’s the roundup for the topics that have been trending on Twitter at Booming Encore this past week.
We had another variety of topics – everything from relationships to personal vision for your retirement to the secrets of becoming a super-ager. Have a look!
This Week's Top Three Tweets - June 21st - Grey Divorce, Retirement Vision and Super-Agers! - YouTube
Grey Divorce and Retirement – Some Things To Know
Grey divorce – divorces of people over 50 – are on the rise. And as difficult as divorce can be at any age, when you’re older it can get even more complicated as you deal with your retirement plans too. This post identifies some areas you should be aware of should you find yourself in this situation. You can read this post here.
What’s Your Retirement Vision?
Do you have a vision for your retirement? Author Mike Drak shares his with us and provides some suggestions on how you can create your own retirement vision. Click here to read what Mike has to say.
Discovering The Secrets Of Super-Agers
Everyone wants to live a long life – but having quality of life is also extremely important. There is a group of individuals who seem have both. Researchers are now studying these “super-agers” to find out what they can learn to help us to become super-agers too. You can find out more about this research here.
And here’s Our Thought For This Week;
For more daily information and inspiration to help you live your best encore – be sure to join us on Twitter and Facebook and also subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Four years ago I wouldn’t have been able to give you a good answer to the above question. I just kind of fell into retirement after being forced out of the only company I worked for after thirty-six years and it was a bit of a shock.
Today I’m a different person and have turned back into that lively and funny person that I remember – reclaiming the personality and interests I had in my twenties before I went to work in the corp.
I’m now at a point where all the pieces in my retirement have finally come together. I’m blessed with a loving family and friends, a great wife and I’m finally living the life I always wanted.
Having fun keeps you young
One of my favorite role models is that guy in “the most interesting man in the world” Dos Equis beer commercials (the one they recently retired). He is a person who sees value in having fun and lives each day to its fullest. He’s humorous and outrageous but never boring. “His only regret is not knowing what regret feels like.” I like his style and his tag line of “stay thirsty my friends.” He reminds me that retirement should be interesting and that is why I decided to become a “retirement rebel.”
The retirement rebels that I hang around with at the pool and gym continually remind me that a person’s age doesn’t mean anything. It’s only a number and not a definition of an individual’s physical or mental capabilities, and this is why we need to stop listening to age-based stereotypes that are simply not true. I swim with a retirement rebel who plans on celebrating his 80th birthday by attempting IRONMAN Florida and his wife celebrated her own 80th birthday last Saturday by doing a 2,000 meter swim.
Every day I notice more retirement rebels enjoying awesome lifestyles that they built on their own. They are ripping up the old rule book on aging and retirement. By refusing to let chronological age constrain and limit them, they love to show us what older people are capable of doing. It’s breathtaking to see what 90-year-olds are doing today and it’s improving every year.
My retirement vision is to maximize both the quality of my retirement, and the time I spend in retirement.
By following the retirement principles, I have a good shot at reaching age 90 in good health. That will give me 25 years of quality retirement, and with all the new medical advances who knows how many years I might have?
But what I do know is that having a successful retirement is not a contest about who lives the longest it’s about living the best retirement life possible.
“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”
To have a happy productive retirement you need to have a good handle on what makes you happy and what you need to do to make that happy happen. Fill your retirement with as many adventures as possible. Now is the time to dream about all the roads untravelled, the untapped potential within you, all the life you still have to live.
Establish some value-based goals that will stretch you beyond your current limits. It can be something challenging, such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, starting a new business, going back to school, or as simple as saving some money each month so you can go on that special fishing trip to Cuba that you’ve spent years dreaming about.
Foster a sense of curiosity about the world around you. Schedule a big trip to a country that you always wanted to visit and then spend the next year or two preparing for it. Learn something about the people, their history, the culture, local food, and learn to speak the language of the country you will be visiting. Also focus on getting in shape especially if there is a lot of walking involved.
At the end of the day retirement happiness includes a wide variety of experiences and memories. It’s activity with purpose. To avoid getting bored, constantly learn and try new things. Learn new technology, learn how to play a musical instrument, learn to play tennis and while you are at it why not learn to scuba?
Stay thirsty my friends!
If you’re not sure who “the most interesting man in the world” is – here’s one of the commercials that featured him.
No matter how old you are a divorce can be difficult time in someone’s life. It’s an emotional situation often filled with high levels of stress and anxiety.
But divorce at an older stage of life can even be more complicated as people are often dealing with more than just a separation in their relationship. There is also the additional complexity of separating and dividing their assets. And this situation can also significantly impact a person’s future retirement savings and plans.
In the following video by BNN Bloomberg a panel of experts discussed the rise of the “gray” divorce and what the potential impacts may be on retirement.
Here are some of the highlights of what they shared;
Gray Divorce Implications
Baby boomers are getting divorced. It seems to be typically happening around the 25th anniversary. This is typically when the kids have left home and the couple is now on their own. “Divorce happens”.
Dealing with a home, dealing with pensions, dealing with savings, dealing with debt all have to be dealt with. For example, if a couple was living off of a line of credit, that debt will need to be closed given that the couple is not splitting.
Couples that divorce at an older age tend not to remarry. They may move onto other relationships and live common law. However living common law often comes with the same responsibilities as being married – for instance spousal support.
Future inheritance may also be another area that needs consideration as people move away from a relationship.
Couples need to be very mindful of assets and debts as they move into a divorce later in life
Whether someone is newly single or with a new partner after a divorce, the retirement plan needs to be reset based on the new living situation
The new baseline, assets and assumptions all need to be re-calibrated based on the new lifestyle. More than likely the numbers will have come down so this means that someone may have to now work longer or even start working to compensate for any gaps
Often people are surprised by how little they actually have for retirement after a divorce
Legal Things to Consider In A Gray Divorce
When a person divorces, this action does not change their will. The only thing that may change in a will is if your ex-spouse was the executor, they would no longer be however everything else remains the same. So the will must be updated after a divorce
Power of Attorney for health and property also need to be updated
As exhausted as people may be at the end of a divorce, ensuring that the proper legal paperwork is in order is critical to ensure that there are no future problems
Divorce always tends to be a complicated and emotionally challenging situation however sometimes change can also be a good thing. You just want to try and get there as easily as you can.
We explore whether living in the suburbs is risky for aging, learn more about the “gray” ceiling in the workplace and look at a couple of industries that are just destined for disruption due to an aging population.
Have a look!
This Week's Top Three Tweets - June 8th - YouTube
Aging In The Suburbs – Is This Realistic Or Risky?
Many years ago young families headed out to the suburbs for the promise of a home and some space. Now there are many older people still living there. But are the suburbs the right place to age? We look more into this topic. Click to read this post here.
Breaking Through The “Gray” Ceiling
Chances are you have heard about the glass ceiling – but have you heard about the “gray” ceiling. It’s a situation that a lot of older workers are experiencing. But this gray ceiling is based on stereotypes that just aren’t true. Click to read this post here.
Two Industries Destined For Disruption
You are probably aware that we have an aging population the size that has never been seen before. So what needs to change in order to support this aging wave? Here are some predictions for two industries that we think are just destined for disruption. Click to read this post here.
And here’s our Thought For The Week;
For more daily information and inspiration to live your best booming encore – be sure to join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
If you’ve been reading the media lately, it’s hard not to realize that the population of the world is aging.
With the largest demographic of baby boomers now aged between 55 and 75 and about 72 million strong in the US and around 9.6 million in Canada, one thing is for sure the way we currently support an aging population will need to change. The old support models will just not sustain themselves.
“Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.”
Now I am in no way a psychic but if I was to predict where I think we will see some significant changes and disruption, these are two areas that I would bet on.
# 1 Disruption: Healthcare
With age, comes an increase for healthcare services. It’s been reported that people age 55 and over account for over half of total health spending. And it’s not just insurance that is paying the cost. In fact, Fidelity recently reported that “an average retired couple age 65 in 2019 may need approximately $285,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement”.
So how our current healthcare systems are set up are just doomed to fail. Not only will there be an influx in demand, both the healthcare systems and people may not be able to support or afford it.
So bring on the disruption.
Focus On Prevention
The best way to avoid high healthcare bills is to avoid them all together.
As reported in Harvard School of Public Health, chronic diseases —including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer— account for some of the most common health problems in the United States, yet many of these chronic diseases are preventable. They are often linked to having a poor diet, lifestyle choices and lack of physical activity.
I expect that there will be more focus on programs and initiatives to help educate, manage and report on how well people are taking care of themselves and their health.
I imagine that similar to insurance companies now monitoring your driving habits, they will move into motivating and incenting individuals to enroll and report on their own personal healthy behaviours. Technologies will be put in place that will track and monitor someone’s progress.
As well, the demand for personal trainers, nutrition coaches, active stretching coaches and more will all see an increase. I can foresee customized food services that will cook and deliver healthy meals specifically based on personal health issues will find an increased demand.
I anticipate that virtual reality will begin to play a bigger role. I can see as the goggles and technology advance, people will be working out with virtual groups, learning how to cook nutritious meals, joining group support chats that discuss how to manage any health challenges in keeping up with their regimes.
Prevention will have to become a priority. Dealing with a disease once diagnosed becomes much more challenging and expensive.
Designer Drugs and Automated Delivery
I’ve suggested this before but I still think it needs to be reiterated. Once someone is diagnosed with a condition, maintaining their adherence of their medications becomes critical.
“Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed…. This lack of adherence… is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year.”
We must find better ways to ensure people adhere to taking their medications. The best way to do this is make it easy. This means something that someone can’t forget to do.
I project that some type of implant or automated delivery system will be developed that will coordinate someone’s specific medications and automatically deliver this to the individual the appropriate dose(s) without any human need to remember to take their medication. The medications will be managed and monitored by some type of technology with oversight from a healthcare practitioner.
Personal Health Hubs
I think that the accountability and responsibility of health management will make a major shift to the individual given the demands that will be placed on the healthcare system. But to do this, more tools and technology will be needed. I predict that we will see an expansion of health diagnostics that will be able to be conducted from someone’s home with oversight from a healthcare professional. Blood tests, blood pressure, weight management, vision tests and even possibly dentistry would all be managed from a home based personal health hub.
Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from heart disease have decreased by 9% while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 145%
5.8 million Americans are living with Alzehimer’s and by 2050 this number is expected to rise to nearly 14 million
Without a cure in sight, how are we expecting to support all these people?
Until we can get a cure, prevention again is probably the best remedy. Lifestyle, diet, keeping active and sleep all can play a part in delaying the disease.
I can envision Alzheimer / Dementia Specialists emerging to help people modify their lives to try and stave off this devastating disease. Apps will be designed to track, report and manage the risks associated with Alzheimer’s. Using artificial intelligence, tools will be developed for early diagnosis. And hopefully a vaccine or cure will be found and end this disease altogether.
#2 Disruption: Housing
Let’s be honest, no one wants to be forced out of their home and go live in some strange place with people they don’t know. Which means that the number of people planning to remain in their own homes is going to skyrocket.
But we all know that there are risks in older individuals living in home settings. Loneliness, isolation, injury, falls all can cause personal challenges. Never mind the upkeep and management of maintaining a home.
Here’s where I think we may see some new services and offerings to help.
Monthly Home Maintenance Fees
Snow removal, lawn maintenance, window cleaning, picture hanging, furniture moving, minor repairs – and more. All of these are things that are needed to manage and maintain a house.
Similar to maintenance fees for a condominium, I think there will be organizations that will offer a single fee service on a monthly basis to support people aging in place. Technology will keep track of what services are required when, ordering of services and will let the home owners decide when they would like to schedule them.
Personal Concierge Services
Think of this service almost like a personal task rabbit. Whatever you need done, just ask and someone will be available to help. Whether it’s accompanying someone to an appointment to take notes as to what the doctor says to joining someone in going to a movie, these personal assistants will fill in the space where the family cannot be available.
Customized Aging In Place Housing Options
How should a home be constructed so that someone can safely age in place? An aging in place expert will know as we see the emergence of silver architecture and renovations.
As reported by the Smithsonian, experts need to build spaces that allow for independent living as someone ages. Well lit, large hallways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, floors that aren’t slippery, handles placed in the correct spots, correct counter top heights and low shelving plus future accommodations for caregivers are just some of the things that need to all be considered. It’s becoming such a growing field, the National Association of Home Builders now has courses not specific to become an aging in place specialist.
Intergenerational Housing and Renovations
There is already a rise in the requirement for intergenerational housing. This will allow family’s to care for each other more effectively. Governments will need to support new housing developments and renovations being requested along with allowing for “granny pods” to help support families in living together.
This is already starting to happen. Younger people living with older people. Older “communes” of people living together. Older people renting rooms of their large homes so they can stay in their homes. Whatever co-housing model it is, I anticipate that this will continue to grow. Especially with the shortage of home care workers, caring for each other is going to have to become paramount.
Here is some more information about how some of these options are working now;
There’s my list of some areas that I think are just primed for change and disruption. There are many others – for instance the business of dying – that also needs an overhauled but before we reach that point, my hope is that we try and make sure that the journey to get there is as enjoyable and stress free as possible.