Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are you lucid or losing it?

Dear Friends,

As I write, it's the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

I know several people who keep lists and think every day about the things in their lives that are good. My family and I enjoy good health. We're fairly happy and content. We have a lot of great things in our lives, and one of those great things is that we're on top of our lives and current events. 

One of my big fears is that I'll start "losing it." That my mind won't function as it has, that I'll lose memories, that I'll not recognize people.

I have a funky memory. I have a hard time remembering names and I've joked that my family should wear name tags but they refuse. On the other hand, I can outline a 2-day training session including exercises and deliver most of it with a bare-bones outline. 

I've also told my husband it might be hard to know if my memory is slipping. I take a lot of notes and make checklists, and contacts and calendars are in my phone. I'm not exercising that part of my brain as I once did, freeing it up for writing and other tasks.

I lost a lot of my childhood memories, and my suspicion is that some of it is tied to reminiscing with others. My parents were young when they died and so was I. Dad was 45 and I was almost 13 and Mom was 50 and I was 21. 

When Mom was alive, we didn't sit around and talk about our family times that had passed. It was too sad to bring up and I didn't want to upset her. My sisters and I did not often discuss our childhood and our parents nor did we look at many photos. It was too painful in the beginning and as time went on, we had other things to discuss: our kids, our travels, what movies we've seen and so on. Life moved on without those discussions so I did lose a lot.

If you have family or friends who would enjoy reminiscing, it would be a pleasant thing to do. I think it'd be good to find some balance between talking about the past and talking about the present.

I've learned from my experience with "Terry" [I wrote about this person in previous entries] that socializing is so important to our well-being. Each medical care person talked about how important it is to be around and interact with others as we age. This helps keep our minds sharp and may prevent dementia. You can go to Google and search for "socializing as we age" to bring up a variety of links and articles about it. 

The Alzheimer's Association has a lot of information about dementia and Alzheimer's, and that is a great starting point to learn more about these issues.

Best wishes to you all, and happy socializing!

Take care,


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Retirement Decisions Begin with Money and Health

Dear Friends,

How are you? Are you feeling okay?

I'm finally seeing the end of a series of viruses and will likely have a cough for a while. I don't bounce back like I used to but I'm a pretty healthy person and grateful for it.

It's About Money

When I started thinking more about retirement, I found so many links to articles about finances and calculators that my head was swimming. You only need a couple of those sites, a calculator, and a budget to figure out where you stand with retirement readiness. Our Finances page has a series of great links for you.

Knowing how much you will have to live on with help you decide if you need to work longer or if you're ready to retire. For me, there are some unknowns to explore. For example, I haven't yet explored all of the options in Medicare and supplemental insurance and whatever I learn about current options will have to be adjusted for possible rate hikes over the years. Math is not my forte (glad we got that out of the way) but there are websites to help with this. Having a budget is important, and Kiplinger has a good budget worksheet. Think of your budget in the same way you would think of building a house: it's your foundation and you can only build once you know the quality and strength of that foundation.

It's About Health

How's your health? Are you generally healthy and active? Do you have a chronic illness? Do you go to an annual physical? Do you have a good doctor who can be a "traffic cop" as you may need to see different specialists?

My fantasy death is that I live to an old age as an fairly healthy person and die suddenly and painlessly in my sleep - but I'm not counting on it. Many of my friends have various aliments and sometimes we have that stereotypical senior talk about what's going on with our health. Weird or unfortunate things happen to our bodies as we age.

Our Health and Safety page has a list of resources for you. All of them are reliable and I never post any link with "miracle cures" or a vitamin that makes your skin like a baby's and restores you to your healthiest point in life.

Understanding your finances and your health will help you make decisions about how you want to enjoy your retirement years. Maybe you'll age in place, maybe you'll go to an active living community, maybe you'll head for assisted living. Knowing where you stand now and planning for possibilities can take a lot of stress out of your life and relieve your family members.

If you have some comments, you are welcome to share. If it looks like spam or advertising, I will delete so it's pleasant for everyone.

Take care,