Traditional Retirement Yields to the New, Flexible Retirement

New, Flexible Retirement

Their more traditional view was that if you are retired, you don’t work, period. A few even quoted dictionary definitions to support their case. But an increasing body of evidence points to an overwhelming trend in the opposite direction – that retirement is often going to be anything but traditional or predictable. It is more likely to be a transition than it is stopping work. Instead of just cashing pension and Social Security checks and having morning coffee or golf with the guys, it might mean a change of career or a part time or volunteer job. The trend is toward more of a highly personal, very customizableretirement experience, one that will be a little bit different for just about everyone.
Here is a summary of some of what we are seeing in 3 recent studies and/or articles:

The Pew Institute asked about Americans about their retirement plans and work. They found that 1 in 5 (21 percent) said they are not planning to retire, while more than half (53 percent) anticipate doing something else, including working at a different job. Just 26 percent have a traditional notion of retirement in which they stop working altogether. Source: Pew Study Shows Americans’ Financial Worries Clouds Optimism. Note that this was a study among Americans of all ages. Its bottom line was that many of those polled are barely breaking even or spending more than they make each month, and more than half said they feel unprepared for a financial emergency.

Housing trends are changing
Meanwhile a Merrill Lynch/New Wave retirement study reported on new housing trends among Americans of retirement age.  Here are some of their findings that support that freedom in housing choices also helps bring about more flexible and interesting retirements:

– Two-thirds (65%) of the retired Americans in the study say they are living in the best home of their lives.
– Compared to people who have not yet retired, retirees are more likely to say their homes are comfortable, in a safe community, and a great place to connect with family. They also are more likely to say that they are now living in a part of the country with pleasant climate and weather
– Many don’t have to work, family obligations are lower than ever, many of their homes are paid for, and they can live where ever they would like.
– Retirees are generally thrilled about their new found freedom. In fact the study authors even have a name for this, the “Freedom Threshold”. It generally seems to happen at age 61, and signifies that retiree age folks are free to live wherever they would like
– 4 out of 5 Americans 65+ own their own home, and 7 out of 10 have no mortgage
– An estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone. 83% of those folks did not move out of state.
– Sixty-four percent of retirees say they are likely to move at least once during retirement, with 37% having already done so and 27% anticipating doing so. Reasons for doing so are widowhood, empty nesting, health changes – as well as desire for a new environment or climate.
– Seniors do face serious challenges, and one of the biggest is that they have to be prepared to live for 20 to 40 years of retirement on what they have saved.
– The downsize surprise. Most people expect that retirees will downsize at some point in retirement. But this study found that almost half of them did not downsize, in fact 3 out of 10 moved to a larger house.
– According to this study, just 7% of retirees have moved into age-restricted retirement communities. Although this seems quite surprising and low, Topretirements would like to note that perhaps an even large percentage of retirees move to communities that although are not officially 55+, are in fact very highly defacto 55+.

Easing into retirement
The third leg of the ‘new retirement’ concerns what people will do in retirement. A New York Times article, “Easing Into Leisure, One Step at a Time“, has the examples of many baby boomers as they struggle to redefine what retirement means to them. The first example in the article is of Jack Guttentag, a Wharton professor who as an empty nester at age 54 decided to downsize to a place in the country, even though he was still working. That was 37 years ago, but now he and his wife have just downsized again, this time back to the City of Philadelphia.

The village of Southampton, a place where you can live a fun-filled, maintenance-free lifestyle. New Custom Built Condominium Homes – Luxury, 55+ Active Adult Community ideally located in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County.

The First Steps for Mesothelioma Patients

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer without a definitive cure, but recent advances in treatment have provided hope for those being diagnosed today.

The typical gloom-and-doom prognosis of yesterday is no longer valid.  Patients are living longer than ever before.

Finding a specialty center and a mesothelioma specialist who truly understands this disease is critical to survival. This should be step No. 1 for patients and their families.

“There are new therapies available today that can help a patient at every stage,” said mesothelioma specialist Dr. Abraham Lebenthal, thoracic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “But you need someone with experience, a center that handles a lot of these cases, to help guide you through.”

An estimated 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually in the United States – compared to 200,000 cases of lung cancer – and many oncologists rarely treat it. Don’t be part of their learning curve. Mesothelioma often is caused by a long-ago exposure to asbestos, meaning many of the people currently suffering from it are actually seniors.

Don’t delay if you’ve been diagnosed or even suspect you have an asbestos-related disease. Patient advocates at The Mesothelioma Center can put you in touch with a specialty center in whichever part of the country you live. They can set up an initial consultation and make travel arrangements if necessary.

The next step is deciding on treatment options. They may include either minimally invasive or aggressive surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, or any combination of the three. Treatment at a specialty center will be individualized, depending upon a number of factors. No two cases are the same.

A specialty center will explain your type of mesothelioma (pleural or peritoneal), the cell type of your disease (epithelial, sarcomatoid or biphasic) and its stage (I, II, III or IV). All are among the many factors when considering treatment options.

Many of the specialty centers will work with your local oncologist, tailoring treatment that will help limit any traveling you may need to do. A specialty center also can direct you to possible clinical trials, where the latest therapies are being tested, often with impressive results.

If you are a military veteran and part of the VA Healthcare System, you will need a referral to see Lebenthal, who is part of VA Boston Healthcare, or Dr. Robert Cameron at the West Los Angeles VA. They are two of finest and also part of the VA System.

Important steps to take:

  • Find a specialist who can give you hope, and the best treatment available.
  • Ask questions to make sure you understand all your options.
  • Include your family and friends to help you.
  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Take an integrative approach, which includes treating your mind and body beyond traditional medicine.
  • Find a support group where you can talk with others with the same diagnosis.



Staying Healthy and Positive After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, but after the initial shock, sadness, and gloom and doom scenarios are absorbed, the best thing a patient can do is stand up and look around.

There is reason for optimism today. It is no time to give up or give in. The prognosis for mesothelioma may sound grim, but there are exceptions every day, and progress is being made in the treatment of this disease.

There are mesothelioma patients living three, four, five and even 10 years after their diagnosis. Miracles happen, too.

Survivors all agree the key is staying positive.

“I tell people, I got mesothelioma, but mesothelioma doesn’t have me — not yet anyway,” said Rich Delisle, a three-year mesothelioma survivor from Florida. “I try to stay positive, and stay active. The worst thing you can do is sit around feeling sorry for yourself. We had our pity party at first, but then we moved on.”

Many of the survivors who share their story with The Mesothelioma Center give similar advice to newly diagnosed patients who come searching for answers. Some of the keys points they make:

Surround yourself with positive people, whether it’s family or friends. Stop them quickly when the talk turns negative.

Embrace your faith, and rekindle your religious convictions. Prayer works wonders sometimes, especially when the number of people praying for you starts to grow.

Stay active physically. Exercise regularly, even when you’d rather not. It’s not easy during treatment when fatigue gets the best of you, but force yourself to do something every day. Take a walk. No matter how slow you move, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch. And it feels good when you stop.

Eat healthy. Diets can be tailored to individual needs, and it’s surprising how much better you will feel.

Accept the help of others. Don’t try and do this alone. No matter how tough you may be, and no matter how independent you once were, let others into your life to help with chores that may have once been routine. Now these chores may seem overwhelming.

Pull out that bucket list and start doing the things you always wanted to do, but never seemed to have the time. Take that vacation. Drive across the country. Play that golf course you always wanted to play. Ride in a hot-air balloon.

Take an aggressive approach to cancer treatment. Ask questions, and get answers. Be a fighter.

“I tell people all the time, ‘Life is a gift.’ And I love it more than anything,” said mesothelioma survivor Trina Clark, from Michigan. “So much with cancer is the attitude you take. You have to stay positive. You have to believe you can beat it. Just don’t let it win. Don’t sit there and dwell on what you can’t control. Learn from it.”

Although doctors once recommended limiting physical activity during cancer treatment, there is growing evidence now to support the stay-active mantra. Exercise actually reduces the fatigue caused by cancer or the side effects from chemotherapy.

It also reduces anxiety and helps with self-esteem. It adds to that positive feel that has become so important in the fight. Mind-body therapies, such as yoga and simple stretching, can work wonders.

Active Community Best Practices

Active Community Best Practices
1. Great communication.In our opinion the #1 thing any organization can do is communicate – effectively and openly. Whether it is the HOA or the developer, have some good ways to communicate. Websites, newsletters, agendas, meetings are all great. Agendas for meetings should be published in advance. Minutes of meetings published immediately and prominently.

2. Welcoming resident input. This is related to communication. But some organizations do a much more organized job of soliciting community input. Not just gripe sessions, but structured ways to get constructive feedback and suggestions.

3. Long range planning. Every organization should have some form of long range planning. In an active community that usually comes in the form of facilities planning. Are they looking ahead to plan for road and elevator replacement? Improvements to community facilities like the clubhouse that will help maintain real estate values, but without bankrupting the community? Looking to buy adjacent property if that would help improve property values or expansion possibilities.

4. Policies to insure financial integrity. In the Florida Communities of Excellence Awards contest, The Beach Club of Hallandale Community Association hopes to win an award in the financial category for its pro-active policies to keep delinquent owners from using communal facilities. While it might seem harsh, so are the pains caused by owners who choose not to fulfill their financial obligations to the community. Countless other communities do a great job financially by controlling their expenses, implementing financial controls, and planning for the future.

5. Resident-focused Innovation. Whether the innovation is design inspired, amenity focused, or technologically driven, some communities are head and shoulder above others.

6. Reasonable rules and policies. Not only doing a good job of formulating the rules of the road, but enforcing them fairly and consistently.


The village of Southampton, a place where you can live a fun-filled, maintenance-free lifestyle. New Custom Built Condominium Homes – Luxury, 55+ Active Adult Community ideally located in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County.

Five Reasons to Buy and Not Rent in Retirement

The golden years of retirement are fast approaching for many Baby Boomers, finally able to spend more time with their families, pursue their hobbies, and take those long vacations without worrying about rushing back to the office. It is also the time to decide whether to put some of the money from the nest egg into homeownership or if it would be better to rent an apartment or condo.

There are many reasons to take the plunge and become a new homeowner. A person may be looking to downsize to a smaller home. They could also finally want to be the master of their very own place during their golden years. Here are five reasons why buying a home is better than renting a place to live.

Potentially Less Debt to Worry About

At this stage in life, and if they are able to, retirees may want to simply purchase a house outright without worrying about making mortgage payments or rental payments every month. The house will be free and clear for their children to one day own. Retirees can also make improvements and renovations to create the home they have always wanted, unlike an apartment where you have to worry about leaving the rental unit as-is when you move out.

Of course this isn’t an option for every retiree. Even if you are unable to purchase a house with cash, taking out a mortgage is usually a wiser choice than renting since your monthly payment is at least being invested in your property rather than given to the property owner. It’s especially wise now considering retirees have access to…

Low Mortgage Rates

If a retiree plans to carry a mortgage for a new house, they will currently find low rates available. While 2016 had the highest increase of rates (3.66% in April) for 30-year fixed loans, it is still considered on the low side compared to 2013 when the rates averaged about 3.75% during this same time of year. So retirees can jump on these ideal mortgage rates and find a home now before they begin to rise again.

Tax Advantages

There are several tax advantages a retiree will get when buying a home instead of renting one. When a person purchases a home, they will be eligible for tax deductibles for the property taxes. There will also be deductibles for the mortgage interest points if they take out a loan. Here is another thing to keep in mind. If a person is selling their home for more than they paid for it, they may not have to pay capital gains tax on the extra amount if they fall into the exclusion requirements. This situation is especially common for active adults who opt to downsize when they retire.

Rental Rates on the Rise

Currently, rental rates are on the rise across the country. Vacancy rates are at their lowest point in 21 years, giving property managers and landowners an incentive to keep raising prices. Based on the retiree’s situation and their housing budget, they may find it more affordable just to purchase a home outright and pay a low mortgage versus paying high rental rates, especially if they plan to be in the home for more than seven years.

Having Peace of Mind

It’s not just the financial aspects that make buying a home an ideal option. There are many emotional, mental, and physical aspects to consider. A home can be designed for a retiree as they grow older and may have certain health ailments. They don’t have to worry about noisy tenants keeping them up late at night. A person entering retirement can happily live however they want to in their own house.

Consider these five reasons why buying a house is a smart decision versus renting an apartment, condo or property. The retiree should think about their current finances, what they are looking for in a new home, and how long they plan to live there when deciding on the best option to suit their lifestyle.


The village of Southampton, a place where you can live a fun-filled, maintenance-free lifestyle. New Custom Built Condominium Homes – Luxury, 55+ Active Adult Community ideally located in Upper Southampton Township, Bucks County.

A Smarter Home for 55+

Now that you’re retired or planning for retirement, purchasing a smaller, low-maintenance home is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your technology too. Advances in home automation are making this easier than it’s ever been. Now, with smart phones, you can do virtually everything you need to from anywhere, whether it’s down the block or across the globe. Here are some high-tech home gadgets to make your home smarter and your life easier.

Smart TV

Smart TVs allow your television to connect to your home’s internet connection, allowing access to hundreds of apps and nearly endless opportunities for entertainment. Popular options include Apple TV and Roku. A simple HDMI cable to your TV and WiFi connection can instantly stream Netflix, HBO, and a host of your other favorite channels and movies; making your TV into the ultimate entertainment machine.

Smart Thermostat

Always forgetting to turn off the air conditioning, leading to unnecessarily high energy bills? Products like Ecobee and Nest are here to save your wallet and bring you peace of mind. Smart thermostats can automatically adjust to make rooms more comfortable, conserve energy while you’re away, and use sensors to make your bedroom more comfortable while you’re asleep. Not only does it make your home more comfortable, but can save you lots of money on energy bills by giving you more control no matter where you are!

Video Monitor

Being away from home has never been safer with video monitors that give you live feeds directly to your phone, tablet, or computer. The Nest Cam links up with your mobile device, allowing you to keep tabs on your home whenever you’re away. Not only can you check in to make sure that you shut the fridge, but it will send you a notification if it detects motion while you’re away. Have an old iPhone sitting around? Now you can use it as a monitor rather than a dust collector in your drawer, thanks to the Presence app.

Smart Garage Door Remote

Leaving your garage door open is more than a cause of anxiety while you’re in the middle of the grocery store, it can be a serious security hazard. With MyQ Garage, you can check to see whether you shut the door. Left it open? A simple tap will close it. MyQ Garage will also send you a notification if your garage door opens while you’re away from home.

Smart Home Lock

Tired of digging through your purse for your keys with an armful of groceries? Kwikset Kevo makes that situation a thing of the past. Although it appears like a typical lock, the Kwikset Kevo connects with your phone via Bluetooth and, after approved users touch the lock, it’ll automatically open using fingerprint recognition. Have guests? The product also comes with key fobs that will allow the door to open when they are within range. It also allows you to see when your front door was locked or unlocked and by whom, so you can track every time someone enters or leaves the home.

Smart Slow Cooker

Want to make something delicious while you’re gone all day, but aren’t comfortable with leaving it unattended? The Belkin Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with Wemo will put your fears to rest. This WiFi-enabled crockpot can be adjusted through the WeMo app, allowing you to adjust the temperature from anywhere. So, if you happen to be running late, you can lower the temperature so your meal won’t overcook. Even if you forget, the crockpot will automatically know that it’s been longer than the allotted cooking time and will lower the temperature accordingly.

Home Automation Systems

If all these sound like good additions to your home but you don’t want to clutter your phone with apps, then a home automation system would be the answer. A home automation system acts as a central space for all your smart devices, allowing you to control all of them from one interface.

Have a smart lighting system, coffee maker, and thermostat? A home automation system, like SmartThings, will have them all talk together. Just tell it that you’ve woken up, then watch as the lights slowly turn up, the coffee starts brewing, and the temperature adjusts to a more comfortable level. When you’re away from home, you can lock your doors, turn off your lights, monitor your home with whatever cameras you have set up, or unlock your doors for your spouse who forgot their keys before leaving. A device like SmartThings is perfect for the tech-savvy active adult homeowner who has several smart devices but would like to easily manage them.

5 Reasons It’s Exciting to Be Over 55

There are several reasons to look forward to reaching 55. It’s a major milestone and many adults report being happier the closer they get to retirement age (although, we think, a lot of that has to do with being able to move into an active adult community). After all, there is a reason we call this stage in life “the golden years.”

Life not only gets better after 55, it also gets a lot cheaper.

Many places offer senior discounts, making exploration less of a splurge and more of an economical way to spend an evening or afternoon out. Here are some ways to leverage your age to save some money.

Dining Out

Although eating out is seen as an unnecessary extravagance for many, several restaurant chains (and local restaurants too) offer senior discounts. Popular restaurants like Papa John’s Pizza, Outback Steakhouse, and Carrabba’s Italian Grill offer steep discounts for AARP members. Early risers can have their morning coffee and breakfast at IHOP and Denny’s, where a special senior menu offers smaller portions at a lower price in addition to AARP member discounts.

Looking for something more local? Check out for a list of restaurants near you that offer deals for active adults and retirees.

Continuing Education

Want to hit the books again without the exorbitant tuition fees? Many public universities offer extremely reduced, and sometimes waived, tuition for seniors. The University of California in Los Angeles has the Senior Scholars program, where 50+ adults can audit undergraduate classes. Prestigious universities see the value in having seniors sit in during courses including Georgetown University (through their Senior Citizen Non-Degree Auditor Program) and UC Berkeley.

Universities typically do a poor job of advertising these opportunities, so check out your local college’s website or meet with an advisor to see what they can offer.

Travel Time

Many active adults spend their newfound downtime to see new corners of the country and little-known parts of the planet. While some airlines will shave off 10% of the price for adults over the age of 50, British Airways has discounts for AARP members that range from $65 up to $400. If you’re curious how far your AARP membership will take you, they offer a search function so you can see how much you can save in flights, hotels, and cruises.

Movie Night

Want to unwind at a matinee or see all the Oscar nominations before the big night? Several of the country’s largest theater chains offer steep discounts. Cinemark has designated Senior Days where the discounts last all day for all movies. New England chain Showcase Cinemas has Senior Wednesdays, offering not just a reduced ticket price but also popcorn and a soda for just a few bucks. AMC, one of the country’s largest movie chains, offers senior discounts for most showings.

Museums, Music, and Memberships

If you live near a major city, all those renowned cultural institutions are now accessible thanks to senior discounts. The Art Institute of Chicago gives seniors a 42% discount, while New York’s Museum of Modern Art also gives seniors a respite from the full admission price. Several other cultural institutions offer similar discounts like symphonies, theaters, and aquariums.

For exploring the country’s famed national parks, the National Park System offers a lifetime pass for just $20 to adults 62 and over. This allows entrance into all national parks and it will never expire. It also gives discounts for use of extra amenities like camping, swimming, or boat use.

55+ Nutrition: What your body needs

Older adults can feel better immediately and stay healthy for the future by choosing healthy foods. A balanced diet and physical activity contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence as you age.

55+ Food pyramid guidelines

Fruit – Focus on whole fruits rather than juices for more fiber and vitamins and aim for around 1 ½ to 2 servings each day. Break the apple and banana rut and go for color-rich pickings like berries or melons.

Veggies – Color is your credo in this category. Choose anti-oxidant rich dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as oranges and yellows, such as carrots, squash, and yams. Try for 2 to 2 ½ cups of veggies every day.

Calcium – Aging bone health depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Adults 55+ need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

Grains – Be smart with your carbs and choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and a higher fiber count. If you’re not sure, look for pasta, breads, and cereals that list “whole” in the ingredient list. Adults 55+ need 6-7 ounces of grains each day (one ounce is about 1 slice of bread).

Protein – Adults 55+ need about .5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Simply divide your bodyweight in half to know how many grams you need. A 130-pound woman will need around 65 grams of protein a day. A serving of tuna, for example, has about 40 grams of protein. Vary your sources with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, and seeds.

Important vitamin and minerals

Water – Adults 55+ are prone to dehydration because our bodies lose some of its ability to regulate fluid levels and our sense of thirst is dulled as we age. Post a note in your kitchen reminding you to sip water every hour and with meals to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation, and possibly confusion.

Vitamin B – After 50, your stomach produces less gastric acid making it difficult to absorb vitamin B-12—needed to help keep blood and nerves vital. Get the recommended daily intake (2.4 mcg) of B12 from fortified foods or a vitamin supplement.

Vitamin D – We get most of our vitamin D intake—essential to absorbing calcium—through sun exposure and certain foods (fatty fish, egg yolk, and fortified milk). With age, our skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D, so consult your doctor about supplementing with fortified foods or a multivitamin.

Changing dietary needs and physical changes

Every season of life brings changes and adjustments to your body. Understanding what is happening will help you take control of your nutrition requirements.

  • Metabolism. Every year over the age of forty, our metabolism slows. This means that even if you continue to eat the same amount as when you were younger, you’re likely to gain weight because you’re burning fewer calories. In addition, you may be less physically active. Consult your doctor to decide if you should cut back on calories.
  • Weakened senses. Your taste and smell senses diminish with age. Adults 55+ tend to lose sensitivity to salty and bitter tastes first, so you may be inclined to salt your food more heavily than before—even though older adults need less salt than younger people. Use herbs and healthy oils—like olive oil—to season food instead of salt. Similarly, older adults tend to retain the ability to distinguish sweet tastes the longest, leading some to overindulge in sugary foods and snacks. Instead of adding sugar, try increasing sweetness to meals by using naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or yams.
  • Digestion. Due to a slowing digestive system, you generate less saliva and stomach acid as you get older, making it more difficult for your body to process certain vitamins and minerals, such as B12, B6 and folic acid, which are necessary to maintain mental alertness, a keen memory and good circulation. Up your fiber intake and talk to your doctor about possible supplements.
  • Medicines and Illnesses. Prescription medications and illnesses can often negatively influence appetite and may also affect taste, again leading older adults to add too much salt or sugar to their food. Ask your doctor about overcoming side effects of medications or specific physical conditions.

Tips for creating a well-balanced diet

Thinking of trading a tired eating regime for a nutrient-dense menu? Good for you! It’s easy and delicious.

Avoid skipping meals – This causes your metabolism to slow down, which leads to feeling sluggish and poorer choices later in the day.

Breakfast – Select high fiber breads and cereals, colorful fruit, and protein to fill you with energy for the day. Try yogurt with muesli and berries, a veggie-packed omelet, peanut-butter on whole grain toast with a citrus salad, or old-fashioned oatmeal made with dried cherries, walnuts, and honey.

Lunch – Keep your body fueled for the afternoon with a variety of whole-grain breads, lean protein, and fiber. Try a veggie quesadilla on a whole-wheat tortilla, veggie stew with whole-wheat noodles, or a quinoa salad with roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese.

Dinner – End the day on a wholesome note. Try warm salads of roasted veggies and a side of crusty brown bread and cheese, grilled salmon with spicy salsa, or whole-wheat pasta with asparagus and shrimp. Opt for sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes and grilled meat instead of fried.

Snacks – It’s okay, even recommended, to snack. But make sure you make it count by choosing high-fiber snacks to healthfully tide you over to your next meal. Choose almonds and raisins instead of chips, and fruit instead of sweets. Other smart snacks include yogurt, cottage cheese, apples and peanut butter, and veggies and hummus.

Source: HELPGUIDE.ORG in collaboration with Harvard Health Publications
Authors: Sarah Kovatch, M.F.A. and Gina Kemp, M.A.

Excercise to stay healthy

Even modest exercise can result in improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and brain function. According to the American Heart Association, people who have a low fitness level are much more likely to die early than people who have achieved even a moderate level of fitness(1). Nevertheless, according to a report by the U.S. Surgeon General on physical activity and health, more than 60 percent of American adults are not regularly active, and 25 percent are not active at all(2).

Some people who have been inactive for too long are afraid to start exercise programs. However, if you’re under the regular care of a primary care physician, there’s nothing to fear and you can benefit from exercise even if you live with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis.

In fact, for some seniors, moderate exercise may be the key to remaining independent. It can also serve as a mood booster.

How do you get started? As the old adage goes, the longest journey begins with a single step.

Seniors should start slowly and, if you have health concerns, first check with your doctor. Upon receiving clearance, slowly begin to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Some examples include gardening, playing with grandchildren, walking, dancing and even house work.

Then, gradually increase the amount you exercise with the goal of reaching 30 minutes of exercise a day.The exercises mentioned here so far are primarily endurance exercises. Other types of exercises can build strength (light weight lifting), improve balance (standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe) or increase flexibility (yoga, stretching). Balance and flexibility are particularly important in avoiding falls.

Some of these exercises can be done in a chair or while lying down.

A fitness advisor can provide seniors with recommendations for an exercise regime. That may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Medicare Advantage plans, like those administered by Humana, may offer an advisor and a gym membership at no cost as part of the plan. For example, health benefits company Humana teams up with Healthways SilverSneakers® to provide Humana Medicare Advantage members with free memberships at participating fitness centers.

Keep in mind that it could take months to go from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. Additionally, with any kind of exercise, you should always keep safety in mind. This includes wearing comfortable shoes, using appropriate safety gear, avoiding extreme cold or heat, drinking plenty of fluids and breathing deeply.In addition to greater strength, stamina and flexibility, here is another reason to exercise — you may save money on your health care expenses. In a study conducted by SilverSneakers®, participants who visited a fitness center at least twice a week for two years incurred at least $1,252 less in health care costs in the second year than those who visited less than once per week(3).

Finally, don’t forget to exercise your brain along with their body. Brain teasers like crossword puzzles can help keep your minds sharp.

Active Adults Spend their Days Differently

Active Adults

It’s no secret that active adult communities are changing. With shifting demographics and lifestyles, gone are the days of sequestered neighborhoods in the far-flung suburbs dominated by golf culture.

Today’s active adult communities offer a much more diverse, vibrant mix. In this article, we’ll take a look at how a typical day might unfold for someone living this lifestyle.

1. You might start the day with work. Many of today’s “retirees” aren’t fully retired at all. More than likely, you’ve scaled back your work so you’re not putting in a full 9 to 5 anymore, but it’s likely that you’re still serving in some sort of professional capacity, perhaps as a consultant. To that end, you might find yourself starting your day in your home office, or using the office facilities in your community’s clubhouse.
2. You’ll find yourself participating in activities outside your community. Once you spend some time “at the office,” you’re ready to unwind a little bit. Today’s active adult communities offer a greater variety of activities from which to choose…on this particular day your community manager has organized a trip to a nearby art gallery, followed by lunch in the city. Buses have been chartered and tickets have been reserved in advance. Incidentally, this trip was arranged because many of your neighbors have just finished reading The Goldfinch in the community book club, and the tale of purloined artwork has kindled an interest in the work of the Dutch masters – many of which are on display in a traveling exhibit at the museum.
3. Your community culture will be unique. On your way to the exhibit, you get a call from an old friend who lives in another active adult community, far away in the Carolinas. The way she describes her life is vastly different from yours – a lot of card games and gardening, things like that. And she loves it. This difference is the product of a new trend of great property managers who know how to grow the cultures unique to each community. Whereas your community culture is defined by arts and activity, your friend’s has evolved into a place where leisure is at the forefront.
4. Your children and grandchildren will be a bigger part of the picturewhen your schedule permits. After your visit to the museum, you’re home just in time to see your grandchildren, who spend a few hours after school with you while their parents are at work. A lot of your neighbors do the same thing…you’ve all found that your children are working longer hours, so you’ve offered to pitch in and help with some after-school time spent with your grandchildren. You’re fortunate in that your community is close to where your children live (that is, you didn’t have to move away to the Sun Belt to find a good active adult community), so you can see everybody more often. But it’s on your schedule and your terms – after all, you’ve got a busy life, too.
5. You might find yourself on a team. At 5:15 your grandchildren are picked up (you helped your granddaughter navigate the tricky waters of her math homework – long division) and then you’re off to your evening softball game. You’ve been on the team for a few years now, and usually you all meet for a light picnic dinner at the ballpark before you play. After the game (you went 2 for 4, great job) it’s time to call it a day…another perfect day, that is.

Of course, everyone’s day will be different (just like every community is different). The key is that today’s active adult communities are known for lifestyles that are tailored to the individual interests of the people who live there.

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