Longest Marriage In America

Longest Marriage in America

“Behind every great man is a greater woman.”  So says Lee Cowan, a reporter for CBS Sunday Morning.  Lee was able to uncover some of life’s most complicated secrets during a recent visit to Hemingford, Nebraska.  The Longest Marriage in America (certified by the World Wide Marriage Encounter).  His story inspired us, and we wanted to share this lovely story of endearment with you.

Dale and Alice Rockey are each 99 years old. They met as kids just after the turn of the last century, in the small town of Hemingford, Nebraska. As Lee Cowan reports, the group Worldwide Marriage Encounter crowned the Rockeys the Longest Married Couple of 2015, having been husband and wife for 81 years. – Lee Cowan; CBS Sunday Morning

When asked about the secret to their longevity Alice Rockey answered “I always let him have my way”.  Clearly one of the (not so) secrets to their marriage is having a great sense of humor.  Enjoy!

Longest Marriage In America: 81 Years

Know other couples that have long marriages with one another? Any secrets to pass along? Let us know in the comments below :)

Life With Alzheimer’s Disease

Life with Alzheimer's DiseaseLife with Alzheimer’s Disease can be pretty tough.  It’s tough on sufferers of this debilitating disease and it’s tough on caregivers too.  Although much progress has been made researching Alzheimer’s Disease, it still remains a bit of a mystery to us all.  It’s been called “the memory thief” and affects half of all people over 85.  In an effort to educate the public on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, The Senior List (as well as other publishers) have shared the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease which was put together by the good folks at the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).

In a wonderfully presented video, Lisa Cerasoli invites us into her world of caregiving for her grandmother Nora Jo.  Nora Jo suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.  One of the many things that Alzheimer’s Disease steals from sufferers are the most profound memories of our lives.  In this case, Nora Jo relives the terrible news that her husband has died.  She relives this realization every single day.

This is the first video in a mini series that Lisa Cerasoli has put together entitled “Life With Alzheimer’s Disease”.  She uploaded this video (entitled “Truth”) in 2011.

Life With Alzheimer’s: “Truth”

If you or your family members need more information on Alzheimer’s Disease, we invite you to visit alz.org for more information and resources. If you’d like to share your story, we’d love to hear from you below.

Best Places To Retire 2015

Best places to retireIn January International Living published their list of best places to retire for 2015.  It wasn’t just their personal favorite places, the “best places to retire list” was based on a set of metrics that looked at the housing market, cost of living, entertainment, healthcare and climate.  They also factored in some other metrics, but these seemed like the biggies to us.

The list is very interesting because what it allows you to do is focus on what means the most to you.  For example if climate was important to you, you might want to take a good look at Ecuador, Colombia or Mexico.  If having access to excellent healthcare was important to you, you’d want to consider Malaysia or Costa Rica.  And if it was cost of living that you were most honed in on, well Nicaragua and Vietnam are good bets.

Retire in Ecuador

Best places to retireRight now International Living says Ecuador is the worlds #1 retirement haven.  World class medical facilities, great weather and low cost of living make it highly desirable.

A doctor’s visit will set you back around $10, while a main course in a restaurant can be had for as little as $2.50. The bus trip from Cotacachi to Otavalo will cost you 25 cents. For big-ticket items like real estate, you can get a lot more for your dollar here than in the U.S. A couple can live well here on $1,400 a month, including rent. – IL Ecuador Highlands Correspondent Wendy DeChambeau

Retire in Colombia

Best places to retireAnother great place to consider retiring is in Colombia. Sure we’ve all heard stories of drug cartels and the like, but Colombia boasts one of the finest healthcare systems in the region.

You can get health-care treatment comparable to that in the U.S. in any large or mid-sized city,” says Michael. “In a 2014 survey, 18 Colombian medical institutions ranked among the top 45 in Latin America. According to the World Health Organization, Colombia actually has better health care than the United States or Canada. – IL Colombia Correspondent Michael Evans

If you’re considering retiring abroad, or have tips for our readers – Please give us a shout in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!  Extra: List of Travel Discounts for Seniors

7 Financial Moves Before Retirement

Retirement PlanningU.S. News and World Report published a great list of money moves you need to make 5 years BEFORE you retire.  These moves can make a huge difference in your quality of life if you’re one of the millions of Americans getting ready to retire in the next few years.  The Huffington Post says Americans are not remotely financially ready for retirement and noted a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research which advised “For Americans ages 55 to 64, net worth, the equity they own in their homes, and the value of other assets they own are each falling at precisely the time in their lives when they should be rising.”

HuffPost said:

Net worth for the middle 20 percent of soon-to-be-retired Americans has fallen every year since 2004, and it is now just under $170,000. (The median is $165,700.) That might seem like a lot, but it’s just enough money to live at the median U.S. income of $52,000 for a little over three years. And when most of that wealth is tied up in a home, it’s unclear how many of those in their upper 50s and early 60s plan to stay afloat without working or selling their home for what could easily be 20 or more years of retirement. – Ben Walsh, Huffington Post

Best Financial Moves Before Retirement

Here are U.S. News & World Report’s 7 best financial moves you can make before retirement:

  1. Take advantage of your last chance to improve your retirement portfolio
  2. Make sure you arrive at retirement debt-free
  3. Look for other ways to trim your living expenses
  4. Plan to reduce the risk in your portfolio
  5. Start working on a post-retirement career or business
  6. Plan to delay your retirement by a year or two
  7. Make getting and staying healthy a lifestyle

What does this mean for you and me?  It means we need to save, save, and save more.  Additionally, we need to keep ourselves in the best health possible.  Financially, we need to keep in mind that we need more than home equity to feel good about our retirement future.  “Homeownership should not be a retirement plan” says Ben Walsh of the Huffington Post. And we agree!

The Tempo Medical Alert From CarePredict

Tempo medical alert from CarePredictWe’re watching an interesting start-up company in the medical alert space.  The company is called CarePredict and they have a very interesting in-home medical alert device called “Tempo” (which is not yet commercially available).  The Tempo device is different than a traditional medical alert system in that it’s a “wearable” that tracks activity and patterns through sophisticated algorithms.  Sensors placed around the home pick-up the activity (or lack thereof) in various rooms like the kitchen for example.  The technology looks for changes in behaviors that could predict an emergency before it occurs.

Tempo Medical Alert from CarePredict

CarePredict was founded by Satish Movva who decided he needed a better way to be in touch with his parents, and with their health. He teamed up with Dr. Krishna Vedala (co-founder) to develop a new device that tracks user patterns throughout the home. In the realm of aging in place technology the Tempo could set itself apart from other in-home medical alert systems.

Tempo medical alert from CarePredict

The CarePredict “Tempo” learns the normal activities of your loved one and then records those patterns in a “rhythm journal”.  If there’s ever a change, you get an alert notifying you of a potential medical issue before it occurs. The predictive nature of this medical alert is what sets it apart of the reactive pendant style medical alert systems (think I’ve fallen and I can’t get up).  Traditional medical alert systems notify family members or call centers during a medical emergency.

CarePredict™ Tempo™ is wrist-worn sensor with sophisticated software. It has a band that switches out for different looks. The sensor detects motion – walking, running, sitting, standing, or lying down – and location; and the software figures out the activities. It transmits data and charges wirelessly so there are no cords or plugs. – CarePredict.com

We’re going to keep our eyes on CarePredict and hope to get our hands on a unit for an evaluation. If you have any thoughts about this new technology or CarePredict’s new approach to medical alerts – let us know in the comments below!

Photo credit: CarePredict.com

Loneliness And Isolation Put You At Risk

Loneliness and IsolationA new study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science is shedding new light on loneliness and isolation. The study was conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University and found some alarming trends when it comes to loneliness and isolation. In short, researchers found that “Actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk for early mortality”. That means a life cut short by being lonely… and that is a shame.

Several lifestyle and environmental factors are risk factors for early mortality, including smoking, sedentary lifestyle, and air pollution. However, in the scientific literature, much less attention has been given to social factors dem- onstrated to have equivalent or greater influence on mortality risk (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, & Layton, 2010).

Loneliness and Isolation Study

The study was a meta-analysis (a study of many studies) involving millions of data-points.  Researchers concluded that there is substantial evidence that indicates people lacking social connections “are at risk for premature mortality”. The risk associated with social isolation and loneliness are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality, like obesity.

The data in this meta-analysis should make researchers call into question the assumption that social isolation among older adults places them at greater risk compared with social isolation among younger adults. Using the aggregate data, we found the opposite to be the case. Middle-age adults were at greater risk of mortality when lonely or living alone than when older adults experienced those same circumstances. – Julianne Holt-Lunstad et al

In an surprising twist, there was greater risk for those individuals 65 and under vs their older counterparts. I would have thought just the opposite, but the risk is there nonetheless.  I think it further confirms the need for awareness and caring for others, and the importance of connectivity to family and friends. Technology helps us stay connected, as do social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In my mind, nothing can take the place of personal visit to family or a phone call that reaches out and touches someone you care about.

Caregiving And The Toll It Takes

Caregiving and avoiding burnoutIf you’re a caregiver or you know someone who is, chances are you know that what a difficult job this can be day in and day out. Caregiver stress and caregiver burnout are real issues to deal with, especially when dealing with memory problems in the elderly. Debbie Cool of the Washington Area Agency on Aging talks about caregivers that care for people with memory problems; “The demands on the caregiver grow continuously and often they end up becoming ill because they’re no longer paying attention to their own needs“.

Because caregiver burnout is real, and can lead to real health consequences it’s important to understand how to take care of oneself.  We wrote about this a couple of years ago in a post titled the “Self Care Plan for Caregivers“.  This self care plan notes that caregivers must care for themselves first.  They must exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep.  These seem like little things, but doing the little things can keep caregivers out of harms way.  Caregivers are no good to others if they can’t take care of themselves.

It’s true that caregiving brings with it a stress load that can threaten the health and well-being of the caregiver. That’s why so many experts—me included— so strongly advocate for caregivers to engage in active self-care. A self care plan for caregivers is a must. – Joanne Reynolds (caregiving expert, author, teacher)

Here’s a great video produced by the Washington Area Agency on Aging that discusses the issues that caregivers face today, and the toll it can take on their own health. If you know a person suffering from caregiver burnout, send this post along so they know a) they’re not alone, and b) there’s something they can do about it!

Thank You Grandparents: A Tribute

Thank you grandparents- a tribute to my grandparents

My Grandfather (left), Panama 1945. Photo credit: “The Greatest Generation”, Tom Brokaw

I cherish the privilege of having three living grandmothers. My children have four living great-grandmothers, two grandmothers, and two grandfathers.  How fortunate are we!  I have always attributed my love for seniors to the influences of my grandparents as I was growing up.  My childhood summers were filled with fishing trips, camping, and hanging out with my dear siblings, cousins, and grandparents on all sides of my family.  Today, I’m taking a step away from my usual tech posts, and instead, want to share my appreciation and thanks to my grandparents and elders everywhere.

Tribute and Thanks to My Grandparents

Thank you grandparents for loving us unconditionally, as only you can do.  Your patience coupled with a firm resolve when we got out of hand taught us that you would always be there for us, even when we hid your cigarettes, pulled all your onions out of the garden, or pilfered your spare change to indulge at the candy store.  You would always forgive and help us learn from these silly mistakes. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing stories about your own youth, war (what we can get from you), and getting by on very little.  Those stories and lessons help keep me grounded and humble in today’s crazy world.

Thank you for teaching me the value of a kind word, a smile, a thank you note.  Thank you for teaching me how to fish, that it’s good to play in the mud, and how to successfully go camping.  These fond memories are the kind of warm-fuzzy experiences I want for my own children.

You have shown me how to age with grace, to not look at my age as a number, but as a collection of experiences, joys, losses and change.  The world you grew up in has evolved in every way, and moves so fast, but you continue to embrace it.  You have Facebook and email accounts.  You know what is going on in my life, the life of my family and what my food looked like at that restaurant last night.  You send me the funniest email jokes. Thank you.

It is, I believe, the greatest generation any society has ever produced. -Tom Brokaw

We will never be able to truly appreciate the sacrifices and hard work it took to give your children a good start in life.  Your legacy is as The Greatest Generation, and you truly are.  Thank you.

*Whenever I need a reality-check reminder of early life for my grandparents, I read Tom Brokaw’s book “The Greatest Generation”.  If you haven’t picked it up yet, I highly recommend you do.

                          1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

 

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A Billion People At Risk For Hearing Loss

hearing loss comes at a priceThis may be music to the hearing aid industry‘s ears.  CNN is reporting that up to a billion people are at risk for hearing loss, and we’re not talking about boomers and seniors today.  The iPod generation has officially been put on notice, that continued exposure to loud noises (without protection) can and will damage your long-term hearing prospects.

iPod Generation and Hearing Loss

In February the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release that included these details (and more):  “Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.”

Teenagers and young people can better protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues, and using carefully fitted, and, if possible, noise-cancelling earphones/headphones. They can also limit the time spent engaged in noisy activities by taking short listening breaks and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour. – World Health Org.

Younger folks don’t realize yet that once you lose your hearing, it’s gone for good.  The solutions are tiny devices that cost big money (yes more than your fancy new iPod nano). These devices come in the form of hearing aids or personal sound amplifiers, and this is big business for some! Did you know that the top 6 hearing aid manufacturers control 98% of the hearing aid market? Sanford C. Bernstein is a leading Wall Street research firm and in 2013 they provide key data points on the hearing aid market for industry guidance. Bernstein estimated the following market share in terms of “unit sales”:

Hearing Aid Market LeadersiPod Generation at risk for Hearing Loss

1) Sonova (owner of Phonak et al.): 24%
2) William Demant (owner of Oticon et al.): 23%
3) Siemens: 17%
4) GN Store Nord (owner of GN ReSound, et al.): 16%
5) Starkey Technologies: 9%
6) Widex: 9%

Disrupting such a well controlled market is difficult but not impossible.  Innovative companies like Apple, Samsung and a host of start-ups eyeing this market have the means, aptitude and capacity to pivot this market right on its ear!  Until then, let’s turn down the volume a bit eh? (Oh yea… and stay off my lawn!) :)

Photo credit: Apple

Work In Assisted Living Facilities

Work In Assisted LivingEver thought about working in a senior living facility?  Ever wonder what it might be like?  We found a great video detailing what it’s like to work in assisted living facilities.  The people that work in assisted living facilities are dedicated, caring individuals that are doing a great service for our aging loved ones while making a living doing so.  I know what you’re thinking, and yes we’ve all heard horror stories… But for the most part this group of dedicated professionals provides love and care all day (and all night) long.

What is Assisted Living?

An assisted living residence or assisted living facility (ALF) is a housing facility for people with disabilities. These facilities provide supervision or assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs); coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. – Wikipedia

Assisted Living Facts and Figures

  • Number of U.S. assisted living communities: 31,100
  • Number of apartments: 475,500
  • Number of residents: 735,000
  • Average length of stay: 36 months
  • Percentage of residents that receive help with three or more ADLs: 40%

*Source: National Center for Assisted Living

Work In Assisted Living Facilities