Tablet or Computer for Seniors?

Tablet or Laptop for Older People?

Over the last 20 years, the personal computing landscape has changed dramatically.

Where once computer-use was dependent on chunky desktop computers, today laptops dominate the way we work and play. The portability of laptops is the key to their success but as machines keep getting smaller, laptops are facing stiff competition from tablet computers like Apple’s iPad and Google’s Nexus.

The result is that many people – especially older consumers and retirees – are considering whether a tablet can act as their main computing device. But can using a small tablet really be as satisfying as a more traditional laptop or desktop machine?

Continue reading Tablet or Computer for Seniors?

Losing Your Nest Egg Can Kill You 🥚 50% higher risk of death when you suffer a shocking financial loss

Losing your nest egg can kill you: 50% higher risk of death if people suffer a shocking financial loss

A sudden loss of net worth in middle or older age is associated with a significantly higher risk of death, reports a new study. When people lose a big chunk of their total wealth during a two-year period, they are 50 percent more likely to die in the next 20 years. More than 25 percent of Americans had a wealth shock over the 20 years of the study. This is the first look at the long-term effects of a large financial loss.

Continue reading Losing Your Nest Egg Can Kill You 🥚 50% higher risk of death when you suffer a shocking financial loss

Top 5 Helpful Smartphone Apps for Seniors

The 5 Most Helpful Smartphone Apps for Seniors

While having a mobile phone has been de rigeur for several years now, regular flip phones are on their way to becoming obsolete. According to the Pew Internet Research Project, about 90 percent of American adults have a cell phone and more than half these people (about 58 percent) have a smartphone. Many seniors think they don’t need a smartphone, or they are intimidated by the complicated tools and applications that come with it. However, there are several user-friendly apps that seniors would find particularly helpful. If you’ve been thinking of upgrading to a new Apple iPhone 6 or Android smartphone, try downloading one of these easy-to-use and handy apps:

Continue reading Top 5 Helpful Smartphone Apps for Seniors

How Canadian boomers got into pot

Actors Luana Anders and Peter Fonda smoking a joint in a scene from the 1969 film 'Easy Rider,' a countercultural movie that influenced drug use by baby boomers in the 1960s (Columbia Pictures)

The legalization of marijuana in Canada comes almost a century after the drug was first declared an illegal substance in 1923, but pot didn’t explode in popularity until the 1960s when a group of rebellious people began promoting it a shortcut to peace and enlightenment.

Concerned about the new use of this drug, in 1969, the Royal Commission on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs visited coffee shops and universities to talk to young people about marijuana use.

One student told them marijuana reveals “a greater sense of the universe.” He enthused that “things you never noticed… now jump out … and every event becomes suddenly deep.” Another touted that cannabis could be the “catalyst to the great Epiphany.”

One participant promised “fantastic benefits” from smoking marijuana and said that it could lead to “a much better way of living.”

In short, many baby boomers believed marijuana use could usher in a new era of experience, enlightenment and joy. Half a century ago, this was utterly new to most Canadians.

Cannabis convictions soar

Convictions for cannabis went from 60 in 1965 to 6,292 in 1970. By the spring of 1970, the Royal Commission on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs suggested that somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 million Canadians had used marijuana.

A survey of Toronto adults in 1971 showed that 8.4 per cent had used cannabis in the previous year, with higher rates among young people. Thirty per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 25 said they had tried the drug, while only 10 per cent of people aged 25 to 35 had smoked marijuana. From 1968 to 1972, marijuana use at Toronto high schools tripled.




Read more:
How pot-smoking became illegal in Canada


What made this new generation of young people reject the hard-drinking ways of their elders in favour of a new drug? Part of marijuana’s appeal was its illicit status — it allowed baby boomers to reject the rules of the “establishment” and the habits of their parents.

Timothy Leary addresses a crowd of hippies at the ‘Human Be-In’ that he helped organize in 1967. Leary told the crowd to ‘Turn on, Tune in and Drop out.’
(AP Photo/Bob Klein)

It was believed marijuana would open them to new experiences, while alcohol diminished awareness. As the LSD guru, Timothy Leary, put it in his Politics of Ecstasy, alcohol consumption brought about the “State of Emotional Stupor” while marijuana would lead to “The State of Sensory Awareness.”

Marijuana users were well aware that their parents already took a wide array of legal and prescription drugs. They were often highly critical of prescription drugs like barbiturates and tranquillizers. They believed these drugs numbed people to the injustices and inadequacies of North American society.

Promises of enlightenment

By contrast, marijuana promised to open a path to enlightenment. Many baby boomers were interested in Eastern religions and transcendent experiences. As Charles Reich put it in his Greening of America, an ode to the new generation, “using marijuana is more like what happens when a person with fuzzy vision puts on glasses.”

Reich explained that marijuana enabled people to hear new sounds in music and to visualize the world in new ways. It would allow them to understand time differently, thereby releasing them from the unrelenting demands of a capitalist society.




Read more:
The truth about cannabis on Canadian campuses


Other marijuana users were influenced by the popular culture of the day to try the drug. The Beatles were getting “high with a little help” from their friends. Janis Joplin spent all her money on drugs in “Mary Jane.” Bob Dylan intoned: “Everybody must get stoned.”

The Beatles psychedelic animated movie ‘Yellow Submarine’ from 1968.

Drug use was also glorified in movies. The Beatles psychedelic cartoon Yellow Submarine premiered in 1968, while the countercultural classic Easy Rider came out the following year. It featured Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper driving their motorcycles from Los Angeles to New Orleans, smoking dope, taking LSD, visiting a commune and raising the ire of the establishment.

Finding a ‘groove’

Protesters stage a demonstration in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood in the 1960s.
Michel Lambeth/Library and Archives Canada, CC BY

From the Mariposa music festival to the coffee shops of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, marijuana wafted through the air of the late 1960s. Headshops were a vital part of the street life in countercultural communities like Vancouver’s Kitsilano. Stores like the Polevault in Vancouver featured coloured lights beaming through parachutes on the ceiling, while chairs, cushions and ashtrays invited people to stay and “groove.” Countercultural newspapers like the Georgia Straight (Vancouver), Harbinger (Toronto) and Octopus (Ottawa) glamourized marijuana in their pages.

Marijuana proponents did not persuade the Royal Commission that marijuana would usher in a new era of enlightenment. But the Commissioners were persuaded that the costs of marijuana prohibition were too high, both for individuals and the state. They recommended the laws against the prohibition of marijuana be repealed.

This did not happen, as Marcel Martel explains in his book Not this Time. Jean Chretien’s attempt to decriminalize marijuana in 2003 also failed.

Finally, more than 50 years after the “Summer of Love”, cannabis will be legalized in Canada, although the dream of marijuana’s potential to create a new society has largely passed.

The Conversation

Catherine Carstairs does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

SUBSCRIBE!

Family Suspicions Confirmed: New Federal Data-Gathering Reveals Chronic Understaffing at Nursing Homes Nationwide

An eye-opening article just published on the website of Kaiser Health News reveals a troubling fact which most U.S. nursing homes would rather hide: the staffing levels at more than 14,000 facilities nationwide turn out to be far lower than the levels these nursing homes had previously reported to the federal government. The result, says Kaiser, is a pattern of erratic staffing and substandard care.

“Like a Ghost Town”

“Neglect Unchecked,” reads the title of the Kaiser Health News exposé: “Erratic Nursing Home Staffing Revealed Through New Records.” At times, especially nights and weekends, some facilities, said one resident, are “like a ghost town,” with no staff to be found who aren’t already swamped with residents and their needs.

“Most nursing homes had fewer nurses and caretaking staff than they had reported to the government, according to new federal data,” the Kaiser article reports, “bolstering the long-held suspicions of many families that staffing levels were often inadequate. The records for the first time reveal frequent and significant fluctuations in day-to-day staffing, with particularly large shortfalls on weekends. On the worst-staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.”

New Data Source Reveals the Truth

This dramatic reporting discrepancy has only recently come to light since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began evaluating nursing home staffing based not on self-reported data but on daily payroll records, a change required under the Affordable Care Act. CMS had been using staffing data under the old self-reporting system as part of its controversial five-star rating system, a tool used by many residents and their families in evaluating nursing facilities. The old reporting method, Kaiser asserts, allowed facilities to “game the system,” but now things have changed. “The payroll records provide the strongest evidence that, over the past decade, the government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes often exaggerated staffing levels and rarely identified the periods of thin staffing that were common,” says the report. “Medicare is now relying on the new data to evaluate staffing, but the revamped star ratings still mask the erratic levels of people working from day to day.”

According to statistics quoted in the Kaiser article, skilled nursing facilities in the United States currently provide care to about 1.4 million residents. “When nursing homes are short-staffed,” Kaiser reports, “nurses and aides scramble to deliver meals, ferry bedbound residents to the bathroom and answer calls for pain medication. Essential medical tasks such as repositioning a patient to avert bedsores can be overlooked when workers are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations.”  As an example, the article singled out one facility in Ithaca, New York, which had received good marks for staffing under the previous system. When this nursing home was fully staffed, it had a ratio of one aide for every eight residents – but on its days of lowest staffing the ratio plummeted to 1-to-18. Indeed, according to CMS, 70 percent of the 14,000 U.S. nursing homes studied now show lower staffing than before, with an average decrease of 12 percent.

How Do Families Decide?

What then is a family to do when it comes to selecting a nursing home for a loved one? If you do an online search for “How to evaluate a nursing home,” you’ll find plenty of possible answers. For example, we ran across this helpful checklist from the website Caring.com. Medicare offers this 9-page Nursing Home Checklist that you can print and take with you when you visit. Then there’s the ratings available at Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website which lets you search and evaluate by zip code.  We noticed a disclaimer on the site that reads, “Because we’re implementing a new Nursing Home health inspection process, we’ve changed how the star ratings are calculated.” If you’re relying on older search data, it may be time to update.

When it comes to choosing the right place for a loved one who needs nursing care, the keys, say the experts, are to visit in person and see for yourself; evaluate the facility objectively using some of the tools we’ve listed; talk to residents and their families to get the real picture of what it’s like to live there; and, when necessary, advocate for your loved one if at any time you suspect he or she is receiving substandard care. This is also a time when you and your family will want to call on the services of a senior housing professional such as the staff at Better Care Management. They help families handle the complexities associated with aging, including in-home care, housing placement, hospitalization and government programs. Contact our office during the week if you would like more information about their services.

Make Sure the Pieces Fit Together

Housing is a critical element in retirement planning, but it’s only one facet of many that must be taken into account in order for your plan to be truly complete. For example, you may have the best housing plan in place, only to have it derailed by an unexpected medical crisis. This in turn triggers a financial crisis which can precipitate a family crisis. Health, housing, finance and family all have to be considered together, along with the necessary legal framework to help you protect your assets as you age and avoid becoming a burden to those you love.  Fortunately, that type of highly comprehensive planning is readily available today, in the form of an AgingOptions LifePlan, an approach to retirement planning that is truly groundbreaking. Please come join us and find out more, without cost or obligation, by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich. We offer these highly popular, information-packed sessions in locations throughout the region: you can click here for our current listing, then register for the date and time that works for you. It will be a pleasure meeting you soon at an AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar with Rajiv Nagaich. Age on!

(originally reported at www.khn.org)

Photo Credit: ProPublica

The post Family Suspicions Confirmed: New Federal Data-Gathering Reveals Chronic Understaffing at Nursing Homes Nationwide appeared first on Aging Options.

Syndicated Columnist Chuck Jaffe Advises Readers to Have “The Financial Talk” Now to Avoid Pain Later

If something were to happen to your spouse, would you know how to find all the important information about your financial accounts? Would all your beneficiary designations be up to date? Do you even agree on who your beneficiaries should be? If your answer is no, you’re not alone. The sad reality is that many married couples don’t communicate very well when it comes to money, and that disconnect includes important topics such as when to retire and how to invest.

“The Financial Talk”

We just read this column in the Seattle Times by syndicated columnist Chuck Jaffe that casts this communications problem in a harsh new light. Jaffe, who is a heart attack survivor, warns his readers that they need to have “the financial talk” soon, because none of us knows which day will be our last. “Before every long trip I took for decades,” writes Jaffe, “I used to sit my wife down for ‘the talk,’ the never-pleasant topic of ‘Do you know what to do if something happens and I don’t come home?’ As much as she appreciated knowing where to find ways to access all of our investments and records, she never enjoyed those chats.” However, Jaffe adds, “judging from some recent data from Fidelity Investments, couples and families need to have these talks to remove financial stresses and more.”

Jaffe is referring to a Fidelity study that was released in late June. “Many married couples suffer from a failure to communicate,” the Fidelity article says. The study of married couples and finances found that an astonishing 14 percent of spouses (1 in 7) “couldn’t accurately report their spouses’ employment status. More than 4 in 10 couples disagree on when to retire—and more than half aren’t on the same page about how much to save for retirement.”  These findings are especially alarming in light of the statistic that more than one-third of couples concerned about debt say that money-related issues represent their number one relationship challenge.

Start with the Basics

Columnist Chuck Jaffe quotes a Fidelity spokesperson who says that “Talks about money always are difficult. But,” she adds “a great place to start them is [with] the basics, all of the things around money.”  Jaffe says that applies whether you are talking with a spouse or with adult children. “Putting together the information to share with my children was interesting; there was no discussion of amounts of money (which would have been appropriate with a spouse but is not yet an issue for my 20-something daughters), just where to find a list of accounts and passwords, details on how accounts are structured, who are beneficiaries and more.” In other words, Jaffe told his adult kids what they needed to know in case of sudden emergency, without divulging more details than necessary or appropriate. Jaffe points out in his column that his divorce a few years ago has made it especially important to keep his adult children clued in concerning family finances, which could become sticky if left entirely in the hands of an ex-spouse.

“Money talks are best when done without emotion,” Jaffe writes. “During my married days, when my wife grumbled about ‘the talk,’ her friends suggested that she was lucky because they would have been lost in a catastrophic situation. There’s nothing about that talk that is fun, but when I had the heart attack and knew that my family would know where everything is, how they were protected, who to contact and what to do, it gave me great peace of mind. Facing my own mortality, I would not have wanted to be thinking ‘Oh, man, I knew I should have updated my health-care proxy.’”  He advises that the essential things a spouse or adult children need to be able to locate include “the last two years of tax returns, marriage and birth certificates, insurance policies, wills and health-care proxies. Accounts, passwords and other data are crucial too, although storing it in a virtual safe might make some sense to avoid potential frauds.”

Four Steps to Better Financial Communication

If you’re determined to get on the same financial page with your spouse, the Fidelity article lists four simple places to start. You and your spouse need to:

  • List all financial accounts. This includes the obvious – checking, savings, credit cards, 401(k) – and the less obvious, such as retirement accounts from former employers. Find a safe place to maintain a list of account numbers, passwords and PINs so your spouse won’t be lost in the event of your untimely demise.
  • Make sure to name and update account beneficiaries. “Having a named beneficiary for retirement and investment accounts and insurance policies is as important as writing a will,” says Fidelity. “Assets in these accounts pass directly to the beneficiaries you’ve designated with your account custodian, trustee, or plan administrator—and generally supersede any instructions in your will.” Updating your beneficiaries is especially important in cases of divorce and remarriage.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. This includes preparing a will, a power of attorney and a health care proxy as a bare minimum. If you’d like more assistance with this important subject, please contact our AgingOptions office this week so we can advise you.
  • Get your documents organized. Chuck Jaffe’s list, mirrored in the Fidelity article, is a good beginning. Assemble the critical documents in one safe place and make sure you, your spouse and adult kids have access to them when needed.

Stop Procrastinating

Communicating about sensitive topics may be tough, but it’s essential, as any adult knows. For some people, communicating about retirement is one of those “sensitive topics” they keep putting off. If that describes you, please accept our invitation to experience retirement planning with a difference: LifePlanning from AgingOptions. Come and join Rajiv Nagaich for a free, information-packed LifePlanning Seminar where you’ll join men and women just like you exploring the retirement roadmap. Thanks to LifePlanning, retirees can now enter retirement knowing that their finances, housing choices, medical coverage, legal protection and family communication are all interconnected, each component reinforcing the others.

For a complete listing of currently-scheduled LifePlanning Seminars, click here to visit our Live Events page where you can register for the seminar of your choice. Bring your questions and come join Rajiv Nagaich soon – you’ll be very glad you did!

(originally reported at www.fidelity.com and www.seattletimes.com)

Photo Credit: flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

The post Syndicated Columnist Chuck Jaffe Advises Readers to Have “The Financial Talk” Now to Avoid Pain Later appeared first on Aging Options.

Despite Our Age of Connectedness, Millions of Seniors Face “An Epidemic of Loneliness,” Say the Experts

A pair of articles we’ve recently read tell an important story, one that should change the way we think about aging. In spite of an era in which we can connect with each other instantaneously, millions of seniors are living out their lives in isolation from regular human contact. The result, says one of the articles, is “an epidemic of loneliness” affecting older Americans. These articles should represent a challenge to each of us to reach out to the seniors around us, in our families, our churches and our neighborhoods. They also remind us not to allow ourselves to drift into isolation as we grow older.

Lonelier Than Ever

“We live in an age where we can communicate with friends and family members across the country and around the globe with a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a smart phone screen,” says the first article, this one from the website AgingCare. “However, despite advances in communications technology and the increasing connectedness it brings, research indicates that, as a society, we are lonelier than we have ever been. Perhaps no other age group feels the keen sting of loneliness more than the elderly.”

The AgingCare article contains some suggestions on how you and I can help loved seniors we care about overcome the scourge of loneliness, and we’ll cover those in a moment. But the second article,  this one from Reuters, takes a slightly different tack. Instead of asking how we can help others avoid the pain of living life alone, the Reuters article gives us four ways we can avoid becoming lonely ourselves as we age. Both these articles warn that the effects of loneliness are not to be taken lightly. “The emotional impact of loneliness in retirement is obvious,” says Reuters, including “feelings of being isolated and misunderstood, with social interactions that lack meaning. But loneliness turns out to have financial ramifications as well.” For example, it turns out that the healthcare costs relating to loneliness are far greater than most people realize. “People who feel lonely are less healthy,” one physician told Reuters. “There are many studies linking loneliness to worsening heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and substance abuse. In fact, health wise, loneliness is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

Steps You Can Take

As you consider your own retirement, what are some steps you can take to avoid becoming lonely? The Reuters article lists four:

  • Move to a Retirement Community. “Retirement communities are a powerful alternative to retiring ‘in place’ in your own home,” the Reuters article states. “Staying in your home may initially sound appealing because of the comfort level with your surroundings, but it could eventually leave you very alone indeed, especially if you are struggling with physical disability.” We agree that while aging in place is typically the desire of most seniors, it isn’t always the best choice.
  • Keep Working. “If you enjoy working, and your employer does not have any mandated retirement age, then by all means keep showing up at the office,” the article suggests. You’ll not only stay socially and mentally active, but you’ll also add to your retirement savings.
  • Federal studies show that more than 21 million older Americans currently volunteer every year. “Volunteers live longer, have lower levels of disability and higher levels of well-being,” the Reuters article says. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, and for your community.
  • Create Social Checks and Balances. This suggestion relates to the increased danger of financial fraud caused by isolation. Retirees lose more than $36 billion each year due to scams and exploitation, most often perpetrated by someone they know well. “The best way to defend against being at the mercy of one person is by having multiple people in your corner,” Reuters “If you have church friends, childhood friends, extended family and volunteering friends – all looking out for you – it will be less likely you will be taken advantage of.”

Helping a Loved One Avoid Isolation

But what if the lonely person is someone you care about and don’t know how to help? Some of the ideas in the AgingCare article we mentioned earlier might be a good place to start. Helping, says the article, starts with listening and observing. “Encouraging [loved ones] to express themselves can help you discover what interests and passions lay dormant, just waiting to be rekindled,” experts recommend, but you may have to “dig deep” to get them to share their desires with you. Once they do, it’s time to develop a strategy to defeat seclusion by helping your loved one resume the activities they once enjoyed, or else try new ones. If the senior you’re concerned about has a particular skill, let them teach you, the AgingCare article advises: “For example, if your mother loves to embroider, ask her to teach you how to do it. This not only has the potential to be a great bonding experience, but it can also help restore a bit of balance to the child-parent dynamic that may have been lost once caregiving began.” Finally, another good way to combat loneliness is to bridge the generation gap by involving grandchildren and other younger relatives in visits with the senior you love.

Multi-Faceted LifePlanning

There’s more content in both these articles and we recommend them as good places to start an important conversation. But what about the important conversation concerning retirement? Do you think you have a “retirement plan” in place just because you’ve set aside some savings? If you think that’s all there is to retirement, you’re in for some unpleasant surprises in the years ahead. Retirement planning done properly is a multi-faceted affair involving the interconnected relationship between finances, health care, housing, legal matters, and the dynamics of your family situation. Here at AgingOptions our comprehensive approach is called LifePlanning, and there’s nothing else like it for building true retirement security and peace of mind.

We invite you to learn more, without obligation, by joining Rajiv Nagaich at a free LifePlanning Seminar in a location that’s convenient for you. Bring your questions and come experience this information-packed session for yourself. Click here for upcoming dates, times and locations – then register online or give us a call. It will be the best investment of a few hours’ time you’ve ever made!

(originally reported at www.reuters.com and www.agingcare.com)

The post Despite Our Age of Connectedness, Millions of Seniors Face “An Epidemic of Loneliness,” Say the Experts appeared first on Aging Options.

Can Retiring be “Dangerous”? Yes – if You Haven’t Prepared for the Changes Retirement Will Bring

Whenever you hear people discussing their retirement hopes and dreams, what’s the number one thing they seem to talk about? In our experience the answer is usually money. “I’ll retire when I can afford to,” they’ll say – or “I think my financial plan will allow me to retire next year.” This kind of one-dimensional, money-focused thinking is common, but it’s also reckless, “a recipe for disaster,” as we at AgingOptions often call it. It simply doesn’t begin to go far enough.

Last year we found yet another helpful article, this one from the financial website MarketWatch, that makes this very point, and we’re bringing it back to your attention because the message is so important. It’s called “Why Retirement Can Be a Dangerous Time,” and it emphasizes very unambiguously that “you need more than a pile of money to make you successful” in retirement. Here’s how reporter Allessandra Malito puts it: “Getting your finances squared away is only one part of preparing for retirement — mental preparation is also crucial.” Malito adds, “So many Americans are not financially ready for retirement, but even when they do have the money for it, they may not be mentally prepared.”

A Dangerous Delusion

It’s an all too common pattern: working men and women labor feverishly to set aside enough money to retire, only to find that they’ve fallen for a dangerous delusion by failing to consider the rest of the retirement story.  Retirement itself can often be a major emotional shock. “Calling it quits after decades in the workforce,” says MarketWatch, “jolts people from their routines and causes them to lose their sense of self.” This problem is compounded when illness is involved, either for the retiree or for a loved one.  “Retiring too early, because of a disability, caring for a loved one, or a layoff, can cause depression and sickness, and even death.”  The retiree’s self-image suffers, and long-standing relationships with family and friends often become irrevocably changed once someone quits working. These are the aspects of retirement that too often go unexamined, and they can prove dangerous when ignored.

We agree with the MarketWatch article up to a point, but we fear this warning still doesn’t go far enough. As you’ve heard us say time and time again on our radio program, financial planning alone will not begin to ensure the type of retirement you’re hoping for. But sadly, neither will the kind of “emotional preparation” the MarketWatch article advocates. Our approach at AgingOptions, called LifePlanning, is the only retirement planning strategy we know of that covers all the major aspects of retirement and prepares you fully for what lies ahead. We’ll explain more in a moment and tell you how you can learn the rest of the story.

Plan to Keep On Working

The MarketWatch article states that many retirees never fully “retire,” with about one in five reporting that they’re still working at least part time after their official retirement date. These days a huge number of workers – 75 percent, according to national studies – fully expect to go on working after retiring, maybe even transitioning into a true “second career.” Whether or not the hopes of these future retirees will be realized depends on several factors, including a healthy economy and an age-friendly job market; but it’s significant that so few workers anticipate entering what used to be called a “classic” retirement.

The MarketWatch article suggests that many view their work chiefly as the means to a paycheck, and as they approach retirement age, they often adopt what the military calls a “short-timer’s attitude,” treating work as little more than a necessary evil. But a job actually means far more than a paycheck and benefits.  When unprepared retirees lose the physical, mental, and social stimulation found in the workplace, they can experience adverse health effects, both physical and mental. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, quoted in MarketWatch, says that measurable cognitive decline can begin to occur when people stop working and fail to engage mentally and socially. “It’s important in retirement to spark friendships and a new sense of community, since the old one in the office will be a part of the past,” says MarketWatch. And while retirement can mean more quality time with a spouse, both spouses need their own routines and activities apart from one another.  All these aspects of retirement need to be part of the conversation as you get ready for whatever lies ahead once you enter that next phase of life after full-time work.

All the Elements Need to Fit Together!

But what’s missing? Here’s where you need the advice and guidance of the team at AgingOptions. Financial planning is essential for a solid retirement, but it must be done in conjunction with your housing plans. This in turn becomes intertwined with your medical planning, which can quickly encompass the need for careful preparation of your legal affairs. And without the involvement and support of your family, the best-laid plans can sadly degenerate into bickering and divisiveness. The answer to effective retirement planning is an AgingOptions LifePlan, a blueprint that incorporates all these elements and allows you to prepare for the type of fruitful and secure retirement you’ve always hoped for. With financial, legal, medical, housing and family planning all accomplished, you’ll find yourself far better prepared emotionally – and in every other way – for whatever’s next.

Why not invest a few hours and find out more? Join us for one of our free LifePlanning Seminars with Rajiv Nagaich, held at convenient locations all throughout the Puget Sound region. There’s no obligation whatsoever. For dates, times and other details, simply click here, and then register online. If we can assist you by phone, call us during the week. As you look toward retirement, financial preparation is important, and so is emotional preparation. But in our experience the only preparation that will get you where you want to go is a LifePlan from AgingOptions.

(originally reported at www.MarketWatch.com)

Photo Credit: flickr (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

The post Can Retiring be “Dangerous”? Yes – if You Haven’t Prepared for the Changes Retirement Will Bring appeared first on Aging Options.

Thoughts on the Ending Age-Related Diseases Conference

I made the pilgrimage to storied Manhattan last week for the first conference organized by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF), titled Ending Age-Related Diseases. It was well organized, all in all a very professional effort. Congratulations are due to the volunteers who set it all up and kept everything moving smoothly. The attendees were a mix of researchers, entrepreneurs, advocates, interested members of the public, and investors of various stripes – a good mix, one that in the present excitable market environment provoked a great deal of useful networking.

The presentations were recorded and will start to appear online as the LEAF volunteers process them. You should make a point of taking a look when they turn up, particularly the view from the investor side of the house. Investors who are personally interested in the success of a field are very different beasts from the run of the mill individual who mechanically seeks returns. They usually have an interesting perspective on the real world challenges inherent in turning a promising technology into a therapy, and that was the case here. The Fight Aging! audience is perhaps more familiar with the science, and so may find considerations of the business side of the house novel and interesting.

While attending the conference, I had a chance to meet in person a sizable number of people who I have only talked to via email over the past decade or more. I apologize to the apparently equally sizable number of people I didn’t have the chance to talk to during the breaks between presentations. Keith Comito of LEAF announced that the organization will be making this a yearly event, so I will endeavor to do better next year. Hopefully at that time I will have more interesting things to say about progress towards rejuvenation therapies at Repair Biotechnologies, and the state of the industry as a whole.

As I see things, this sort of mix of participants is very much needed in order to keep progress underway in our rejuvenation research community. We need a regular stirring up of the everyday patient advocates, the entrepreneurs and employees who build therapies, the scientists who discover new opportunities, and the investors who fund those tasks. Communication and building bridges are hard tasks, and there is ever a tendency to form camps and forget how to travel between them. There is a vast chasm between academia and commercial medical development, and all too many promising foundations for therapy fall in and are never seen again.

Is this because scientists are not doing enough to reach out to entrepreneurs and investors? Is it because there are too few entrepreneurs? That the universities make it too hard to license technologies developed in academia, discouraging investment across the field? That investors and their funds are sitting around waiting to be handed opportunities in a nice, neat package, rather than doing more legwork? I’m inclined to put more blame on the investor community simply because they have the resources to do better and more interesting things. They could work more systematically when it comes to reaching back into the research community to pick up promising work and assemble companies to develop it. Doing so in a robust, organized way will help all parties.

While at the conference, I buttonholed a number of people to espouse what we shall call the Dasatinib Empire concept. At this point in time, I think there is more than sufficient evidence to consider that dasatinib and quercetin in combination is most likely a useful, cheap senolytic treatment – a legitimate rejuvenation therapy that partially clears out the senescent cells that cause age-related disease and dysfunction. A single dose is in the $100 to $200 range, less if one shops cleverly, and one treatment every few years is likely close to the optimal dosage. Human trials, such as that ongoing at Betterhumans, will prove the benefits over the next few years, but it looks very compelling even right now. Dasatinib has side-effects that are very well categorized thanks to the past fifteen years of studies as a cancer therapeutic, and they appear neither onerous nor life-threatening in the senolytic scenario of a single dose once every few years, rather than the sustained dosing of cancer treatment.

Given this, and that dasatinib is a generic pharmaceutical, out of patent protection, why can’t someone build a serious non-profit or for-profit effort to deliver dasatinib and quercetin at scale to the tens of millions of older people who would benefit significantly from it? An initiative could finalize the human data currently in progress, and then it would be as much a matter of delivering information as delivering pharmaceuticals: anyone can set forth and obtain dasatinib if they only know how to do it. Doing this at scale would probably entail driving a very large truck through the loophole of off-label use of a generic drug, working to help as many older people as possible, as rapidly as possible, and then weaponizing favorable public opinion to fend off the inevitable attention of the FDA. Indeed, this could be a path to change the regulatory landscape, to force regulators to accept the treatment of aging as a fait accompli. I’d say this is a better, more aggressive, more plausible way to do it than the slow approach of trying to change the FDA from within.

It is the case that FDA officials, as a rule, are strongly opposed to the prospect of widespread off-label use, meaning the physician-ordered use of a treatment for something other than the purposes the FDA has approved. They see their role as protecting the population, and off-label use, while completely legal, is viewed as an end-run around their shield. However, and as I have argued in the past, the FDA is too much of a barrier, too strongly opposed to any and all risk, too unwilling to grant patients any choice in their own lives. The cost of that barrier is higher than the benefit. Why should so many millions of people suffer when the evidence strongly suggests that their suffering could be alleviated to some degree at low cost and little risk? Shouldn’t it be their choice?

Manhattan is a wealthy enclave. There are any number of individuals resident in that small section of New York real estate with the wealth, connections, and acumen to make something like the Dasatinib Empire a reality, were they to turn their attention to it for the years it would require. At some point it will become obvious to even those who have not watched the development of our longevity science community that the benefits of early senolytics are large, the costs are low, and there is thus much that might be accomplished in the world by joining up these dots. So I’ll keep mentioning this to people. Sooner or later it will happen.

📍

Physical Activity Correlates with a Reduced Impact of Aging in Later Life

The open access study noted here is one of many to show that greater levels of physical activity correlate well with a reduced risk of age-related disease. It isn’t possibly to reliably live to extreme old age on the back of a good exercise program, but that physical activity does reliably improve the odds of experiencing better rather than worse health in later life. Even small benefits can be worth chasing when they cost little and are reliably obtained, so long as that pursuit doesn’t distract from far more important initiatives. Exercise is beneficial, but it is no substitute for the rejuvenation therapies presently under development.

Successful aging has been defined as not suffering from chronic diseases, having optimal social engagement and mental health, and a lack of physical disability. Numerous studies have found that physical activity decreases the risk of many chronic diseases and increases longevity. However, the association between physical activity and successful aging has shown heterogeneity across studies. Some studies have shown either a lack of or a weak independent association between physical activity and successful aging; however, other cohort studies as well as systematic reviews have shown that higher levels of physical activity was associated with aging successfully.

Therefore, in our cohort study of 1,584 adults aged 49+ years at baseline we aimed to investigate whether total physical activity is independently associated with successful aging, which was defined as not experiencing disability and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer), having good mental health and functional independence, and reporting optimal physical, respiratory, and cognitive function during 10 years of follow-up. Participants provided information on the performance of moderate or vigorous activities and walking exercise and this was used to determine total metabolic equivalents (METs) minutes of activity per week.

Of the cohort, 249 (15.7%) participants had aged successfully 10 years later. Older adults in the highest level of total physical activity (more than 5000 MET minutes/week; n = 71) compared to those in the lowest level of total physical activity (less than 1000 MET minutes/week; n = 934) had 2-fold greater odds of aging successfully than normal aging. Our finding of a positive association between physical activity levels and successful aging is in agreement with the existing literature showing that physical activity might be an important parameter in enabling people to age successfully. Moreover, a systematic review found that the effect sizes for the association of successful or healthy aging with high levels of physical activity ranged from 1.27 to 3.09, which is in line with our observed estimate.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28526-3

📍

Physical Activity Correlates with a Reduced Impact of Aging in Later Life

The open access study noted here is one of many to show that greater levels of physical activity correlate well with a reduced risk of age-related disease. It isn’t possibly to reliably live to extreme old age on the back of a good exercise program, but that physical activity does reliably improve the odds of experiencing better rather than worse health in later life. Even small benefits can be worth chasing when they cost little and are reliably obtained, so long as that pursuit doesn’t distract from far more important initiatives. Exercise is beneficial, but it is no substitute for the rejuvenation therapies presently under development.

Successful aging has been defined as not suffering from chronic diseases, having optimal social engagement and mental health, and a lack of physical disability. Numerous studies have found that physical activity decreases the risk of many chronic diseases and increases longevity. However, the association between physical activity and successful aging has shown heterogeneity across studies. Some studies have shown either a lack of or a weak independent association between physical activity and successful aging; however, other cohort studies as well as systematic reviews have shown that higher levels of physical activity was associated with aging successfully.

Therefore, in our cohort study of 1,584 adults aged 49+ years at baseline we aimed to investigate whether total physical activity is independently associated with successful aging, which was defined as not experiencing disability and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer), having good mental health and functional independence, and reporting optimal physical, respiratory, and cognitive function during 10 years of follow-up. Participants provided information on the performance of moderate or vigorous activities and walking exercise and this was used to determine total metabolic equivalents (METs) minutes of activity per week.

Of the cohort, 249 (15.7%) participants had aged successfully 10 years later. Older adults in the highest level of total physical activity (more than 5000 MET minutes/week; n = 71) compared to those in the lowest level of total physical activity (less than 1000 MET minutes/week; n = 934) had 2-fold greater odds of aging successfully than normal aging. Our finding of a positive association between physical activity levels and successful aging is in agreement with the existing literature showing that physical activity might be an important parameter in enabling people to age successfully. Moreover, a systematic review found that the effect sizes for the association of successful or healthy aging with high levels of physical activity ranged from 1.27 to 3.09, which is in line with our observed estimate.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28526-3

📍

Physical Activity Correlates with a Reduced Impact of Aging in Later Life

The open access study noted here is one of many to show that greater levels of physical activity correlate well with a reduced risk of age-related disease. It isn’t possibly to reliably live to extreme old age on the back of a good exercise program, but that physical activity does reliably improve the odds of experiencing better rather than worse health in later life. Even small benefits can be worth chasing when they cost little and are reliably obtained, so long as that pursuit doesn’t distract from far more important initiatives. Exercise is beneficial, but it is no substitute for the rejuvenation therapies presently under development.

Successful aging has been defined as not suffering from chronic diseases, having optimal social engagement and mental health, and a lack of physical disability. Numerous studies have found that physical activity decreases the risk of many chronic diseases and increases longevity. However, the association between physical activity and successful aging has shown heterogeneity across studies. Some studies have shown either a lack of or a weak independent association between physical activity and successful aging; however, other cohort studies as well as systematic reviews have shown that higher levels of physical activity was associated with aging successfully.

Therefore, in our cohort study of 1,584 adults aged 49+ years at baseline we aimed to investigate whether total physical activity is independently associated with successful aging, which was defined as not experiencing disability and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer), having good mental health and functional independence, and reporting optimal physical, respiratory, and cognitive function during 10 years of follow-up. Participants provided information on the performance of moderate or vigorous activities and walking exercise and this was used to determine total metabolic equivalents (METs) minutes of activity per week.

Of the cohort, 249 (15.7%) participants had aged successfully 10 years later. Older adults in the highest level of total physical activity (more than 5000 MET minutes/week; n = 71) compared to those in the lowest level of total physical activity (less than 1000 MET minutes/week; n = 934) had 2-fold greater odds of aging successfully than normal aging. Our finding of a positive association between physical activity levels and successful aging is in agreement with the existing literature showing that physical activity might be an important parameter in enabling people to age successfully. Moreover, a systematic review found that the effect sizes for the association of successful or healthy aging with high levels of physical activity ranged from 1.27 to 3.09, which is in line with our observed estimate.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28526-3

📍

Physical Activity Correlates with a Reduced Impact of Aging in Later Life

The open access study noted here is one of many to show that greater levels of physical activity correlate well with a reduced risk of age-related disease. It isn’t possibly to reliably live to extreme old age on the back of a good exercise program, but that physical activity does reliably improve the odds of experiencing better rather than worse health in later life. Even small benefits can be worth chasing when they cost little and are reliably obtained, so long as that pursuit doesn’t distract from far more important initiatives. Exercise is beneficial, but it is no substitute for the rejuvenation therapies presently under development.

Successful aging has been defined as not suffering from chronic diseases, having optimal social engagement and mental health, and a lack of physical disability. Numerous studies have found that physical activity decreases the risk of many chronic diseases and increases longevity. However, the association between physical activity and successful aging has shown heterogeneity across studies. Some studies have shown either a lack of or a weak independent association between physical activity and successful aging; however, other cohort studies as well as systematic reviews have shown that higher levels of physical activity was associated with aging successfully.

Therefore, in our cohort study of 1,584 adults aged 49+ years at baseline we aimed to investigate whether total physical activity is independently associated with successful aging, which was defined as not experiencing disability and chronic disease (coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer), having good mental health and functional independence, and reporting optimal physical, respiratory, and cognitive function during 10 years of follow-up. Participants provided information on the performance of moderate or vigorous activities and walking exercise and this was used to determine total metabolic equivalents (METs) minutes of activity per week.

Of the cohort, 249 (15.7%) participants had aged successfully 10 years later. Older adults in the highest level of total physical activity (more than 5000 MET minutes/week; n = 71) compared to those in the lowest level of total physical activity (less than 1000 MET minutes/week; n = 934) had 2-fold greater odds of aging successfully than normal aging. Our finding of a positive association between physical activity levels and successful aging is in agreement with the existing literature showing that physical activity might be an important parameter in enabling people to age successfully. Moreover, a systematic review found that the effect sizes for the association of successful or healthy aging with high levels of physical activity ranged from 1.27 to 3.09, which is in line with our observed estimate.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28526-3

📍