October 16, 2019
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the Winter Blues, affects millions of people every year. A form of depression that occurs at the same time every year, with symptoms diminishing when Spring weather arrives, the likelihood of a SAD diagnosis increases as we age — and seniors who are housebound are especially at risk.
One of the most frustrating aspects of SAD is that it often mimics the symptoms of other illnesses. Seniors exhibiting symptoms of the Winter Blues have been diagnosed with everything from thyroid problems to mononucleosis, often because they don’t make the connection between their symptoms appearing every year and improving with the weather, and because the disruption to their sleep cycles, mood, and behavior is so extreme. For that reason, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to understand the symptoms of SAD, so they can help ensure a correct diagnosis and the right treatment.
Understanding The Winter Blues
For many people, just the thought of Winter is enough to bring them down. The idea of being stuck inside, with short days, freezing temperatures, and mountains of snow and ice outside, isn’t always appealing. Winter weather can disrupt your usual routine, preventing you from visiting with friends or taking your daily stroll, which can lead to sadness.
It’s not just the disappointment and boredom that can come with Winter weather that causes, SAD, though. Although researchers aren’t certain of the exact cause, it’s believed that the disorder is due to changes in the amount of natural light exposure during the Winter season. The shorter days and longer nights, and in northern climates, the changes in the angle of sunlight, are disruptive to natural circadian rhythms, or the sleep-wake cycle. This disruption disrupts the body’s production of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. Without enough natural sunlight each day, serotonin levels fall, causing symptoms of depression — and significant changes to the sleep cycle.
SAD and Sleep
Although SAD causes many of the classic symptoms of depression — withdrawal, changes in appetite, changes in mood, loss of interest in activities — but changes to sleep patterns are some of the most common. The Winter Blues can cause increases in sleep for seniors, especially during the day, but it can also contribute to insomnia.
Many of these sleep changes are attributable to the changes in ambient light during the day. The human body is naturally attuned to the cycle of day and night. When that cycle changes, and there is more darkness than light or vice versa, the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. This is only exacerbated by the natural tendency for circadian rhythms to chance as we get older. In general, as we age, we become sleepier earlier in the day, and wake up earlier in the day. But when the sun starts going down at 3 p.m., as it does in some northern climates, that could mean a very early bedtime for some people.
One of the most interesting aspects of the effect of SAD and sleep is the fact that many people report symptoms of insomnia during the Winter, when in fact, they don’t have insomnia at all. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh found that people with SAD often report that they have insomnia, when they are in fact getting just as much sleep as usual. The difference? They typically spend more time in bed, because the seasonal changes cause them to spend up to four hours a day more resting than usual. The perception is that this extra time resting is insomnia — or sleeping to excess — when in fact they’re getting the same amount of actual sleep as usual.
Still, the fact that the Winter Blues can have such an effect on sleep patterns is cause for concern. There are things you can do, though, to support better sleep during the Winter, and reduce the effect of SAD.
Supporting Healthy Sleep
Encouraging healthy sleep for any age during the Winter months is important for maintaining overall well-being, but it’s especially important for older adults. It’s possible to reduce the symptoms of SAD and improve sleep with a few changes to the daily routine.
- Consider investing in a “happy light.” Using a special, full-spectrum lamp for a short time every day can help regulate the circadian rhythms and improve mood.
- Start the day with some exercise. Exercising each day is a key part of healthy sleep. Take a short walk outdoors in the morning if possible, or do a simple indoor workout during bad weather.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Create a sleeping area that’s conducive to sleep: Dark, cool, and comfortable. Establish a bedtime routine to encourage sleep; for instance, go to bed at the same time every night, take a warm bath, read, or use specific lotions to indicate it’s time for bed.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Avoid long afternoon naps. If you need to rest, only sleep for 20-30 minutes.
- Talk with your doctor. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or trouble sleeping, your doctor can help by recommending lifestyle changes, further testing to rule out other issues, or prescribing medication.
The good news about the Winter Blues is that they are temporary, and when Spring comes, the symptoms will disappear. There’s no need to suffer in the meantime though. Understanding what’s happening and taking steps to get plenty of sleep can help alleviate the effects and keep you healthy all season long.
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October 7, 2019
By Meghan Belnap
As we age, it becomes harder to be comfortable. Getting a good night’s rest seems impossible. Seniors can be extremely sensitive to things like temperature and light changes. The National Institute of Health says older people get less sleep and the quality of the rest is not as good as for younger individuals. After age 60, nearly half of seniors experience difficulty sleeping. We talk about four ways the elderly can get the most out of a nap or a night’s rest below.
Warm up the feet to stay cozy
Surprisingly, many people find cold extremities keep them awake. If you always have cold feet, then maybe a thick pair of socks, compression hose, or heated stockings can make a difference. Most heat loss comes out of the top of the head, so wearing a cap to sleep may help some people who can tolerate the feeling while slumbering.
Add thermal room darkening curtains to the bedroom
Nothing disrupts a good nap or a night’s sleep than a bright light. When your sleep rhythm is off, it may be necessary to nap during the day. To get the best rest while the sun is up, a set of light-reducing drapes can make a huge difference. Using a brand with thermal linings can reduce any drafts from windows keeping the bedroom temperature more even. Plus, the curtains can help save energy costs by reducing heat transfer.
Splurge for an adjustable mattress
Mattress sales offer the biggest discounts around the holidays and at the end of winter. Early spring works when you need to find a deal on replacing your bed. If your mattress is over eight years old, then it is a good idea to upgrade your bed. Selecting a model with cooling technologies or functions like raising and lowering the head and legs can make getting to sleep easier. Some people say they get a better nights sleep because they can stay asleep longer without achy legs or stiffness in the back and hips.
Use ambient sound makers
Do you have a favorite nighttime noise like crickets or frogs? Maybe the sound of rain on a tin roof or a river babbling over pebbles is soothing. Ambient sound machines are helpful for some seniors who need white noise to drift off to sleep. Sleep apps and playlists on Internet music sites can also help a person drown out the ringing in the ears to get more sleep.
While we lose the refreshing feeling of sleep as we age, there are things we can do to get a better night’s sleep. Making the room and the bed comfortable is an excellent start. Choosing a quiet place and introducing welcome sounds is another way to fall asleep faster. Individuals with dementia and other health issues may not sleep well at night. Creating a comfortable space for napping at any hour may help older individuals get a better quality of rest.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
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September 12, 2019
By Brooke Chaplan
There are different types of caregivers who can care for elderly or ill individuals. When you are considering hiring a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, think about the specialty areas of this health care career. Understanding the different types of caregivers will help you to choose the best individual for the job. Here are five types of caregivers who you can hire for yourself or an elderly loved one.
Live-in Caregiver Services
A live-in caregiver can provide services on a 24-hour basis seven days a week. This individual will live at and sleep in the home for long-term care or for temporary care. This variety of caregiver may also perform a variety of household duties that include cleaning tasks, laundry chores or shopping for food. Live-in caregivers are especially helpful for those who need constant assistance or care, but they do cost more due to the large time commitment involved.
Physical Therapy Caregiver Services
After someone has a stroke or an accident, the individual may need physical therapy care services to regain the use of the affected limbs or other body parts. A caregiver with an understanding of mobility issues can assist a client with exercises or other types of therapeutic services. A licensed physical therapist may teach the caregiver how to assist a client in his or her own home.
Occasional Caregiver Services
If you are responsible for caring for an elderly spouse or grandparent, then you may require respite services occasionally. This type of caregiver is only hired when you need a break from your daily responsibilities, and hiring one can give you a chance to do something different, including having fun for a day, or alternatively, something vital, including taking care of your own health needs. A respite caregiver may come and assist in the home, but can also come to an adult day care or health care facility, or just aide the family caregiver in providing assistance.
Routine Daily Caregiver Services
Infirm clients may need assistance with daily care tasks that include showering, brushing teeth or getting dressed. A caregiver may prepare nutritious meals, help a client eat and wash the dirty dishes. This is often part-time care that is only required for a few hours each day, and it may include having different caregivers throughout the week. This type of caregiver is often required for senior citizens who do not want to move to an assisted living environment.
Professional Transportation Caregiver Services
When an ill or injured individual requires frequent trips to hospitals, physician’s offices or other medical facilities, a professional transportation caregiver service is vital. This type of caregiver service may include having special vans that are equipped with wheelchair lifts and ramps. Some families are able to afford their own vehicles, but sometimes a professional service will be necessary.
How Do You Choose a Caregiver?
Choosing a caregiver can seem complicated, but if you talk to a physician and a home health care agency, then you can learn more about the process of hiring one. Make sure to think both about your needs as a caregiver and either your or your loved ones needs as a patient. Caregivers will be able to help you or a loved one have the assistance and support needed.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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August 1, 2019
By Lizzie Weakley,
Home maintenance gets more difficult as you get older; but with intelligent upgrades and smart planning, you can greatly reduce your burden. Try these tips to keep your home in excellent shape throughout the years.
Upgrade Your Floors
High pile carpet isn’t just difficult to take care of; it’s also easy to trip on. Make your house safer and easier to maintain by switching to non-slip flooring. Look for vinyl laminate or another material that you can easily keep clean. If you decide to include decorative rugs, remember to choose thin, flat mats that won’t cause you to trip.
Make a Maintenance Schedule
It’s easy to forget important maintenance tasks as the years go by. Create weekly, monthly, and semi-yearly maintenance schedules that list all of your necessary jobs. Include things like cleaning out gutters, checking on the condition of your plumbing, and changing air filters. Once you have a list, it will be easy to identify the tasks you can complete and the tasks that you need help with.
Modernize Your Electrical Mains
The modern world requires a surprising amount of electricity. Modern appliances and entertainment devices all use a higher voltage than older models. If you’re still using an old power source, an electrical mains upgrade may be in order. This is a low-hassle job that can usually be handled in a single visit. Once the upgrade is complete, you’ll be able to use all modern appliances without risking a short circuit or an overload.
Hire Lawn Care Professionals
You deserve to have a beautiful yard without spending time mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. Talk to a lawn care professional about regular seasonal maintenance. Contractors can help you cut tree branches, prune bushes, reseed your lawn, and turn over the soil in your garden. Even if you like taking care of your lawn, save your health by hiring a contractor for the more difficult tasks.
Install Window Tint
When direct sunlight enters your home, it fades your possessions, peels your flooring, and increases your heating bill. A layer of tinted window film is a quick and easy fix that will keep your house significantly cooler in the summer. Window film can be cleaned directly, and it peels off without damaging the glass underneath.
Home maintenance is an endless task that follows us as we age. Work with local contractors to keep your home in excellent condition and greatly improve your quality of life.
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July 19, 2019
By Anica Oaks
You may have heard the saying, “Grow old gracefully,” but there are many changes that occur as you move beyond middle age and into your golden years. Your 60s, 70s and beyond will be filled with various psychological and physical changes and challenges. Asking for help can make you feel weak, but you aren’t. It’s a sign of strength and self-awareness to recognize when you can no longer do something on your own.
Understand How Age Changes Things
You were probably taught from an early age that it’s important to be independent. Asking for help can make us feel like we’ve failed somehow, and you may worry that you’ll look weak and be a burden to your loved ones.
Getting older comes with some inevitable changes, and it’s important to accept these facts rather than try to go against them. Your health may decline, or you might have to live with a health condition like arthritis. You may also be dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation now that your children are grown. If you are widowed, then facing the rest of your life by yourself can trigger deep feelings of sadness that may turn into depression.
Recognize What You Need
Are you physically struggling to get around like you used to? Maybe going up the stairs is too painful or strenuous now. Perhaps you have emotional needs that aren’t being met, but you don’t want to bother people by calling them up just to talk.
Maybe you notice some health symptoms that weren’t there before; do you have frequent chest pains, feel dizzy or have become more forgetful than you used to be? It’s natural to want to ignore these things and write them off, but getting help early can make you happier and protect your well-being.
Finding the Right Resources
The last thing you may want to do is move into a care home, but they are not all like hospitals or filled with sick seniors. Instead, there are many retirement villages and facilities that offer round-the-clock assistance while still giving you plenty of space and independence.
For those who do not have any close family or friends they can reach out to, exploring elderly home care options can make you feel empowered and give you the help you need. Make sure that you are vocal about everything that’s bothering you; it’s possible for loneliness, sadness and even fear of the future to make us come off as cold and distant.
Don’t allow yourself to become closed off from the world. As you progress through the next stage of your life, be open to asking for help, receiving love and being in the presence of others as much as you can.
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July 2, 2019
Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley
If you are now retired and no longer get your income from working a full-time job, there are several clever ways to make some extra cash when money is tight. Many of the best ways to earn a passive income don’t require a lot of strenuous mental or physical labor. Here are a few ideas for making some extra money as a retiree.
Attend Focus Groups
Taking part in focus groups merely involves giving your opinions on certain products, services or social issues. You might get the chance to try a new food product, give your opinions on the latest electronics, or even take part in a mock jury for an upcoming trial. Many of these focus groups will pay handsomely for just a small amount of your time (possibly as little as one hour). Payment often comes in the form of cash, a check or a gift card.
Work as a Sitter
Whether you want to babysit, housesit or pet sit, you can make money by acting as someone’s eyes and ears when they’re away to ensure that nothing bad happens. You’ll want to have references so that people who want to hire you can verify them to guarantee that you’re trustworthy. You can be a sitter as part of a one-time gig or sit more regularly on your own schedule. To find sitter jobs, there are websites for specific types of sitters that you can browse and join.
Sell Your Life Insurance Policy
You might be asking yourself, “Can I really sell my life insurance policy for cash?” the answer is yes if you meet certain eligibility criteria. Through a process known as life settlement, you can usually sell your policy if you are 70 years of age or older and your policy totals $100,000 or greater. A person who is under the age of 70 might be able to sell their policy if they’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The policy types that can be sold include term life, whole life and universal life.
Sell Arts and Crafts Online
If you have a knack for creativity, you may be able to turn your skill into a money-making opportunity. You can sell any unique pieces of artwork or crafts that you make to customers online and watch the money come into your bank account. Selling items with holiday themes can be especially lucrative around holidays. There are several arts and crafts websites that you can join to start selling your goods.
Supplementing your income as a senior doesn’t have to involve a lot of backbreaking labor. By tapping into the right resources and putting your already-existing skills to work, you can make the money that you need in almost no time.
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June 10, 2019
As a caregiver of an elderly parent, getting away is a must. But it can also be very difficult. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have a backup plan to help when you are away.
If you’ve decided to book a vacation that includes your elderly or cognitively impaired parent, make the most of it. You want to make great memories with your parent, but also want your vacation to be relaxing and memorable for yourself and your family. The answer is to plan very carefully and look at a few options.
You will need to plan and pack meticulously.
- Make sure that you have medical clearance
- Pack medication and any necessary paperwork
- Make driving comfortable
- Plan frequent breaks during travel and while vacationing
- Relax and enjoy time together
For additional relaxation and downtime, you may want to consider hiring a caregiver to travel with you – which could be very costly. Another option would be to find a destination that provides secure vacation and temporary accommodations for your elderly or cognitively impaired parent.
Market Street at East Lake is in beautiful Tarpon Springs, Florida which is a vacation destination! Market Street at East Lake offers limited vacation stays in a resort-style setting with chef prepared meals, private label wine and fully furnished suites in an assisted living and memory care facility for your loved one.
While your loved one is in a safe and secure environment, you can enjoy the aspects of your vacation that you, as a caregiver, need in order to recharge and energize. If you choose a destination with a facility as accommodating as Market Street at East Lake in Tarpon Springs, you have the option to drop by and pick up your loved one for a pool day or dinner. It could be the perfect solution that you have been looking for.
Come and see what Market Street of East Lake has to offer your loved one.
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June 3, 2019
Courtesy of Chloe Bennet, a career blogger at Assignment help Australia and Sociology help Australia, websites that provide resume and business writing help. Also, she teaches public speaking and online course creation at Paper Fellows portal.
If you’re a senior looking for an online part-time job, you are not alone. Many seniors are looking for ways to make some extra money or even just to stay busy in retirement. The internet has created many opportunities for freelance work. Here are nine ways for seniors to make money online part-time.
Use your skills
One easy way for seniors to make money is by simply using the skills they employed while in the workforce. Only this time you get to be your own boss and work online on your own terms. Use the lessons you learned while you were an employee to build a successful online business. You can also use those same skills as a freelancer on sites such as Freelancer, Guru, and Snag Jobs.
If you have experience teaching or tutoring experience, then why not make some money tutoring online? Even if you don’t have that kind of experience, if you have an area of expertise then it’s worth giving it a try. Tutoring online is a great way to be social and meet some nice new people while you’re earning money. You can find work doing online tutoring at sites such as Essay Helper and Chemistry Writing.
Sales and marketing manager
There are tons of freelance opportunities for seniors who have experience selling products and managing clients. If you have communications experience and can adapt to the new digital and social media aspects of marketing, then this could be a great job for you. The best way for you to find this kind of work is through your own professional networks. Sell yourself, your experience, and how you can benefit your potential clients and you will find plenty of jobs.
Do you have an academic background? You can use your knowledge and experience to make money online as an academic writer. Make some good money and keep your mind extra sharp by writing paper and essays. You can look for academic writing jobs at places such as College Paper Writing Service and History Help.
Passive income has a bit of a tarnished reputation and many people are skeptical about the idea. But there are many legitimate ways of creating passive income and you can start before you retire. There are companies where you can earn this money without needing to join anything or aggressively market to people. Be smart and find someone with a promising marketing tree and then try and position yourself at the top of it. As long as the company exists, your tree will grow and so will your passive income.
If you were in accounting or tax consulting before retirement, that is something you can continue with on a freelance online basis. Keep your eyes open for people looking for tax help during the busy season. One segment to pay attention to is small business owners looking for someone to help them balance their books. These interactions can lead to further opportunities such as consulting for them on all kinds of financial subjects.
Blogging is a fun and creative way for seniors to make extra cash online. You can blog about anything you want. Some of the best blogs are about niche topics like homebrewing or model trains. But you can successfully blog about anything if you have an interesting personality and a writing style to match. Look for blogging jobs at sites like Academized.
Information technology is a large part of the economy, so there are many seniors with experience in jobs such as web development. But how many of them have considered web developing as freelancer in retirement? Some of the tools and technology have changed, but if you’re willing to learn there is work for you as a developer. Besides, updating your skills and learning is a great way to keep your mind sharp and focused. You can find work on tasks such as technical support for businesses that are too small to maintain a full-time IT person. Oh, and did we mention you can do it from the comfort of your own home?
Publish your own ebook
If you enjoy writing, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about writing a book. Very few people actually follow through on this dream, but retirement gives you the time to do it and earn some money while you’re at it. Maybe you’ve been blogging about something for years and consider yourself a bit of an expert. Why not compile all those posts, polish them a bit, and turn them into an ebook that you can earn some passive income from?
The internet offers many opportunities for seniors to earn money working freelance and part-time. Many seniors can make money online using the same skills and knowledge they used in their career.
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March 13, 2019
Courtesy of Elise Morgan
Moving your parents into an assisted living home is almost never going to be an easy process, and although there are many benefits to the transition, it’s inevitable that some aspects of the change will in one way or another upset them. Oftentimes, when being moved into a senior living home, parents may feel abandoned and believe that they are losing part of their identity.
Instead of having your parents feel as though they are ending the life they have always known, ensure them that they are moving into a new chapter of their lives and make the transition as smooth as possible with the following tips.
- Encourage Your Parents to Participate in Community Activities
Make the transition smooth and mitigate second-guesses from your parents by introducing them to the community and encourage them to participate in the home’s activities. This should be done both before the big move and after – helping your parents make friends and get to know their way around the community.
Assisted living communities have plenty of activities for your parents to participate in, and while not all may appeal to them, some may really grab your loved ones’ attention. When residents feel as if they have a place among the community, it is bound to help their outlook on the transition and even has the possibility of making the move a little bit easier.
- Make it Feel Like Home
This is where they will be living from now on, so make it feel like home. Not all assisted living homes have the idea of coziness in mind when designing the rooms, so be sure to bring over any items that can help with this. Some starter ideas to vamp up their new room for comfort is to sprinkle in family pictures and to add color to the walls with new paint or to the floor with a lovely rug. To maximize their bedroom for ultimate comfort, consider bringing in their old bed that they trust, or a new one that they will love instead of the typical assisted living mattress that is not typically designed for comfort. When you prioritize their home living space, your parents will start to recognize this as their new home in no time.
- Show Your Parents That They Did Not Lose Their Independence
It’s hard to not feel protective over your parents as they switch to a new home, but don’t feel that you need to be with them at all times during the move. In fact, this can actually hurt their progress, as excessive ‘handholding’ could inhibit your parent from successfully adjusting to their new home. Let your parents feel as if they still have control over their own life, and let them choose their own schedule, their own friends, and other decisions that are most important to them.
- Prepare Yourself for Bad Days
This transition is usually not going to be a walk in the park, so prepare yourself for your parents not taking to their new home immediately. You may experience some negative comments here and there, but remember that this is an important time in their lives and that this change is only to benefit them – not hurt them. Instead of taking these negative comments or feelings personally, document them and see them as an opportunity for places of improvement to their lifestyle down the road.
Just like any transition, it will take time to integrate your parents into their new home, but stay positive and know that this way they will lead a healthier and safer lifestyle.
- Remember – It Will Get Easier
Even though moving your parents into their assisted living home is difficult right now, know that it will not always be this way. Soon enough, your parents will start to get used to their new lifestyle, and the more that they are involved in the community and activities, the more likely it is that they actually begin to really love it. At the end of the day, remember that you made the right choice for this situation and that you did your best during this difficult time in everyone’s lives.
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February 5, 2019
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Courtesy of Lizzie Weakley
Every year marks a fundamental life change for tens of thousands of people in the United States: the transition from work to retirement. Many people look forward to the moment when they can step away from their job, but some also experience strong feelings of uncertainty about their newfound lack of direction. Whether you are about to retire or already have been for years, there are a few simple ways that help you get the most out of the experience.
Try New Things
It’s easy for adults to fall back on the familiar and stick to old habits, especially immediately following retirement. However, forcing yourself to explore new things can open up opportunities and make the golden years a lot more colorful. Taking art lessons, learning to cook new foods, and meeting new people are just a few ways to bring a breath of fresh air into daily life.
Mobile Living and Travel Lifestyle
Mobile and RV lifestyle isn’t a good fit for everyone, but modern vehicles often sport a number of amenities and conveniences that rival any home. Motor and mobile homes can make travel much more affordable and provides greater control over schedule, pacing, and itinerary. Many state and national parks have dedicated space for people using living vehicles, so there are plenty of interesting sites that accommodate this lifestyle.
Consider Moving to a New House
Many people working towards retirement look forward to spending more time with their family members. Checking out homes for sale near close friends and family can create an opportunity to downsize to a more efficient house and cut down on travel time. Other retirees take advantage of their freedom to find a home in an area that has a better climate, more active community, or other desirable features. Moving shouldn’t be a snap decision, but there can be lot of long-term benefits for those willing to consider a big life change.
Stay Active and Involved
Many older adults find themselves lacking stimulation or excitement in their daily life, which can eventually lead to depression or social withdrawal. There are dozens of different ways for retirees to stay active and involved with people in their community. Retirees with specialized skills can also consider getting a part-time job or consulting on as-needed basis to maintain their professional skills.
People have varying opinions and perspectives about the prospect of retirement, ranging from excitement to dread. However, these years can be among the richest and most rewarding of your entire life if you are willing to take a step into the unknown.
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