Those who are nearing retirement will need to pay more attention to their health than they did in years past. Thankfully, living a healthy lifestyle is not overly complicated, although it does take some effort and self-discipline. Following are some simple yet very effective healthy living tips that a person who is getting on in years will want to put into practice.
My mother just died.
She was 92, in quickly deteriorating health, and didn’t see the inside of her home again during the final six months of her life – she needed far too much, and round-the-clock, skilled care – best handled in a Skilled Nursing Facility (aka, “nursing home”). We found her the best available facilities in this woods’ neck, stayed on top of her care daily to ensure it was highest quality (aka “squeaky wheel”), visited her daily, and, I hope, helped her to leave this world with as little suffering as her body would allow.
I’m sad. Sad that her body was so broken in the end; sad that given my own disability I couldn’t do more for her myself; sad that there will be no more visits and dinner outings with her; sad that I’m now an orphan (daddy died in 2009).
In that I’m a wee too old to be upset that I have no parents now, I’m realizing that this is a Boomer phenomena – we take the loss of our parents harder than our parents did the loss of theirs.
Why is that?
Here’s my theory.
I believe our parents were, well, a bit more adult adults than we are as we live our dream of perpetual youth. We’ve depended on our parents far more than they did theirs, remaining “children” far longer. Too many of us depend upon our inheritance as our retirement plan, having spent up and borrowed away what we earned. Even those of us who became, and will become, our parents’ caretakers in the end as was I, and therefore took on a type of “parenting” role with and of them, do so in a way different than our parents did theirs; some of us doing it from afar and therefore, frankly, less effectively by necessity, some petulantly (annoyed that an ailing elder is interrupting their daily routine), most of us lovingly but perhaps with a tinge of shock that we must sacrifice in ways to which we’re unaccustomed.
Their “greatest generation” moniker came from lives of sacrifice, stoic determination, toughened by the need to take on great responsibility at an early age (some right after high school, many before even completing it) thus being better prepared for such significant loss.
Our at times aptly coined “me” generation came from being more coddled, cared for through college and for some beyond, we had/have lives of greater comfort than they; we are softer.
They felt like grown-ups who understood the loss of their parents as another part of life to rise above. We feel like….orphans.
My mother and father, I realize now, lived up to their generation’s sensibilities, something I didn’t appreciate enough when they were alive. I will try to emulate them now.
Mom, Dad, I think I’ve finally learned what you tried to teach us all along – the ideals of humility, thrift, strength to face and conquer adversity with dignity (eg without losing stride…) that your generation tried to teach ours but we cast aside as too “old fashioned” – now that you’re gone, I’ve finally grown up.
- warm climate
- lower taxes (particularly for those in the Northeast)
- affordable, senior-friendly communities
- golf (or other favorite sport like boating)
Not in that order particularly; perhaps even equal in importance.
Then came Boomers’ turn to choose retirement Eden, and I predict – or hope, or both – we will include one key factor; for some of us, it may even trump one or two of the others on our list:
- political & cultural climate
That portion of our youth, activism and strong political/social views, just might influence where we finally settle down to live out our last 30+ years. After all, that’s almost 1/3 of our life, so we’re wanting more than early-bird specials and Jai-Alai.
As the country becomes ever more polarized (thanks to us…), we will want to live in a State that also shares our views legislatively/socially, from gun control to health care. Boomers who lean left politically will not want to live in a State like Florida that is run by the Tea Party and the NRA. Boomers who lean right to far-right will love places like Arizona and Florida, where their views are embraced by the populace and the leaders they choose.
The importance of this factor is driven by not just the role cultural comfort plays for us (far more than it did for our parents), but the need for a place that supports quality elder care for our parents and then us, with excellent schools for those of us who will be caring for our grandchildren, and clearly welcomes mid-age and older workers/entrepreneurs as we won’t be sitting in our rockers playing Mah Jong.
So, States wanting to woo us, play this ace in your deck to attract our lucrative generation to your shores.
Boomers, pay close attention to this key ingredient when you make this very important decision. I can tell you from personal experience; living in a State far removed from your cultural/political sensibilities is very painful indeed.
I’d like to answer the question posed by the Republican candidate for President: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” in a way I keep hoping the Democratic candidate for President would respond but hasn’t; for a “real people/real lives” perspective:
Actually, not really. In it, Mr. Astaire who at the time was 56 and pretending to be 10 years younger, falls in love with Ms. Caron who at the time was 24 and not pretending at all (OK she pretends to be 16 in the film’s opening, but ends up being about her real age at the end). Throughout the movie, Mr. Astaire’s character goes on about how inappropriate it is for a middle-aged man to court a woman young enough to be his daughter; the script has him saying just that, in fact. But, he’s a scillionaire, she’s a poor orphan from France – let the dancing and woo’ing commence!
Ugh! Continue reading