HOME WARS

(Older community association members who fall behind on fees face increasingly harsh treatment)

Leah Lally, a 51-year-old homeowner in Tampa, FL learned the hard way that dealing with a HOA (Homeowner Association) can escalate into a costly and years-long legal battle.

In 2015, Lally got nearly $700 behind on the $135-a-month association fees on her five-bedroom home.  She explained to the association’s management that she faced financial hardship while caring for her sick parents, and asked to work out a payment plan.

The management company that contracts with her homeowners association told her it would take the issue to the association board.  But two months later, as Lally waited for a response, she got a letter from a law firm saying that a lien had been filed on her home.  

Lally decided to fight.  More than three years later, Lally’s HOA claims she owes nearly $15,000—about $10,000 of that from attorney fees, interest and other charges.

“I refuse to bend because it’s not right,” says Lally, whose court case is ongoing.  “It’s cruel that they are aiming to put me out of my home.”

There are more than 345,000 community associations in America today, compared with just 10,000 in 1970.  Almost 1 in every 4 Americans belong to a CA, according to the Community Associations Institute.

The volunteer-governed organizations, which regulate everything from holiday decorations to grass height, enforce rules and protect residents’ property values.  

While members have long bridled at CA restrictions and fees, an industry survey shows that as many as 85 percent of residents are neutral or positive about their association.  But homeowners who wind up in conflict with their CA say the organizations have a dark side.

In a trend that has grown recently, when homeowners are late paying assessments or fines, their accounts are turned over to law firms.  In these cases, legal fees can quickly outpace the size of the original debt. In the worst cases, homes are lost to foreclosure, sometimes sold at auction for little more than the outstanding debt.

Michael Greenwald, a Boca Raton FL attorney, says law firms typically charge HOAs no money, but pass on legal fees to the homeowner.  That’s an incentive for the firm to escalate charges. A single missed payment can add up to thousands of dollars in a few months, Greenwald says.

Lawyers are expensive and stakes are high.  Many homeowners just pay up, even if they think the charges are unfair, he says.

Attorneys who represent homeowners say in many cases the law firms for community associations are more aggressive than the Cas themselves.  In 2014, for example, Kay and John Wynne lost their home in Lexington SC to foreclosure over a $3,800 homeowners association debt. Brian Boger, an attorney in Columbia SC defended their right to keep their home.  The judge vacated the sale. But Boger says homes are often lost for good. “It’s insanity is what it is,” Boger says.

Sawn Bauman, a senior vice president at the Community Associations Institute, says she thinks this type of problem is rare.  But Bauman says associations have an obligation to collect because assessments fund maintenance and other costs of day-to-day operations.  As for turning cases over to attorneys or collections agencies, “That typically would happen when a resident is just not responding or just will not pay,” Bauman says.

Attorneys who represent homeowners disagree.  They say bills are being passed on to law offices  more quickly than ever.

In Philadelphia, Jeffrey Greenspan, 64, filed for bankruptcy after running up more than $55,000 in assessments and legal fees in a battle against his condo association.

In Houston, the foreclosure prevention project at Lone Star Legal Aid has filed lawsuits on behalf of 27 older homeowners who faced foreclosure from unpaid fees since 2010.

In Phoenix, attorney Jonathan Dessaules has seen a sharp rise in foreclosures.  Senior are hit hardest. “Many of them are on a fixed income,” Dessaules says. “They can’t afford the attorney fees that keep going up and up.”

(written by Joe Eaton for AARP Bulletin, January/February 2019)

Wow, April 2019

Wow, April 2019…. I think about how one third of the year is gone already…..how does this happen?   (I know how, but whey does it seem to go faster all the time?)

I came across an interesting questionnaire that made me ponder the following questions….which, when I read them, made me reflect back on my life so far…. Thought I would share some of the most interesting questions with you….. maybe you could provide some feedback.

  1. What is your biggest regret?
  2. Have you read an inspirational blog post?  Why did it inspire you?
  3. Do you meal plan?  Share what you are cooking this week.
  4. Share some little-known facts about you.
  5. What are your favorite movies?  Why?
  6. If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be?  Why?
  7. What is your favorite restaurant?
  8. What is your fitness routine?
  9. What things can’t you live without?
  10. Do you have a music playlist you can share?
  11. What books are on your shelf?
  12. Did you have role models growing up?  If so, who were they and why?

Active Retirement Communities

Active retirement communities are a bit larger. These communities are designed for those couples or individuals who want to be around other people their age who are also active and engaging. Most often, these locations will offer some key benefits. For example, you’ll live in a single family home, condo, townhome, or even an apartment. The key here is that everyone in that space with you is looking for things to do to remain active.

Active retirement communities are designed to give you plenty to do if you want to do so. You can tour various cities on bus tours together. You can engage in a wide range of programs at the location as well. Because they are active communities, they offer a location for people to come together and to enjoy a higher quality of life. Many offer clubhouses or spaces for people to meet and talk to each other. This type of environment is ideal for anyone who may be retired but still wants to enjoy a high quality of life.

55+ Senior Communities

Within a 55+ community, the goal is to live around people who are over the age of 55. These communities restrict individuals from living in your home who are younger than this. The benefit is that there are likely to be like-minded people living around you. Many times, these communities are single-family homes where you will own the home outright. However, other options exist as well. You may choose to live in a community that is made up of condos or townhomes.

When it comes to choosing this type of environment, individuals should take into consideration what their goals are. Each community offers different features and activities for seniors. Most provide a wide range of ways for seniors to communicate, participate in programs, and to enjoy social activities.

Seniors by the Numbers

In a 2010 report by The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics called “Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being,” we found the following statistics that may interest you:

  • People who reach age 65 will live another 18.5 years verses just 4 years longer in 1960.
  • From 2006 to 2008, 74.5% of those 65 and older reported being in good to excellent health.
  • About 22% of seniors reported regular physical activity.
  • Seniors 65 to 74 report doing 7 hours of daily leisure activities; watching TV account for 4 hours.
  • The housing burden cost for seniors increased from 30% to 37% between 1985 and 2007.
  • Forty percent of seniors in 2007 had one or more of the following housing issues: “housing cost burden, physically inadequate housing, and/or crowded housing.”

What’s Right for Me?

This is a big question for many seniors and worth careful consideration. The answer may take weeks, months and even years of thought. To start, take an inventory of your life now that you’re retired. Here are some basic questions to ask:

  1. Are you happy in your home and neighborhood?
  2. Do you dread doing yard work in the summer heat?
  3. Are the four bedrooms too much to clean?
  4. Do you live close enough to family?
  5. Do your friends still live near you?
  6. Would you rather live close to the water, mountains, in the country or in a city?
  7. Financially, are you secure in your present home?
  8. Do you need to downsize?
  9. Are property taxes too much? Would you rather live with other active seniors?
  10. Do you enjoy living in a mixed-age neighborhood?

Physical Activities

You’re healthy and don’t want to sit around and watch TV. Now what? For starters, in order to stay healthy, you should make regular exercise part of your day. You’ll have more energy; your mood will improve; and daily activities will become easier. Plus, exercise benefits people with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Consult a doctor before starting any new activity. Here are some options:

  • Walking, jogging
  • Swimming, aqua aerobics
  • Cycling
  • Yoga or Pilates
  • Strength training
  • Stretching
  • Cross country skiing
  • Tai Chi
  • Line dancing, square dancing, ballroom dancing
  • Golfing

Other Activities

To help balance your physical activities, here are some leisure activity suggestions:

  • Become a volunteer. What are your interests? People? Animals? Art? History? The environment? For every interest there is an organization that needs your help.
  • Join a book reader’s group. This is a great way to meet new people, socialize, and keep your mind engaged.
  • Put that wisdom to good use: Mentor a child. These programs are often run through libraries, churches and organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
  • Work in a community (co-op) garden. You’ll get your hands into the soil. Meet new people. And get to eat the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.
  • Get involved in civic activities like voter registration, campaigning, etc.

MEDICINE CABINET CHECKLIST

While the end of the year brings many people’s attention to reflecting on the year that was as well as the holidays, it also provides an opportunity to take inventory of your prescription medications. Are there drugs in your medicine cabinet you aren’t using anymore? What about ones that are expired? Are you storing them properly? Here are 5 things to do about your medicines by the end of the year.

Get rid of leftovers

You shouldn’t have prescription medicine that you don’t need any more hanging around. Some drugs, like antibiotics, are prescribed for a short period of time and the instructions are to keep taking them until the bottle is empty, even if you feel better. When you’ve recovered from your ailment, get rid of any excess pills safely and properly. Many drug stores will take unwanted medications off your hands. Many drug chains, including Walgreens, have a safe medication disposal kiosk in a number of its stores. You can also get rid of medication in the trash, though you must mix it first with substances that can mask it, such as dirt, coffee grounds or cat litter. Flushing your medicine down the toilet is not advised because it could potentially end up in the water supply.

Can I take an expired pill?

Medication is still effective and safe to use even after the expiration date. An FDA study found that about 90% of more than 100 drugs examined, both prescription and over the counter, were okay to use well after the expiration date (Exceptions include insulin, some antibiotics and nitroglycerin). If you question the safety and effectiveness of any drug, ask your pharmacist. Pharmacists are great resources and can tell you what you need to know about your medications.

What’s this drug for?

Does that bottle look vaguely familiar but you can’t quite remember what it was prescribed for? Call your doctor or take it to your pharmacist and ask. Some medicines are fine to keep on hand and use when needed. But others aren’t. A good example are opioid medications. If you were prescribed them, your pain has gone away and still have pills left, don’t keep them around. This is because of the addictive nature of opioids as well as preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.

Humidity is not your pill’s friend

Most people store their medicine in a bathroom cabinet, but the heat and moisture from your shower, bath or faucet may damage your medicine.  In the bathroom, your medicines can be become less potent or expire before the set date. They can degrade and literally fall apart. Store your medicine in a cool, dry place like a dresser drawer, but away from children.

Keep out of your grandchildren’s reach

If you have young grandchildren that visit, you need to take precautions to keep your medicines out their reach. Too many children go to the emergency room every year because they got their hands of medications that weren’t secured.

To keep children safe, pick a spot in your home to store medicine up high and out of sight. You might also think about purchasing a medication lockbox. Also, make sure the safety cap is always on the bottles and put away your medicine after each use. Treat your meds with respect, they are powerful and need to be safeguarded. 

Suzanne Robotti is founder and president of MedShadow Foundation, the independent non-profit organization that informs the public about the side effects, risks and benefits of drugs.

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

In a re-created 1950s town, men and women with dementia rediscover their comfort zone.

Mary Patterson bounds through the entryway of Glenner Town Square with a giant smile.  Since Mary’s shoulder surgery in 2014, she hasn’t been the same. She forgets anything five minutes after you tell her, says her husband, Ray.  Normally sweet and even-keeled, Mary, 87, is now “like two people”—one the woman he’s loved for most of his life, and the other an angry, sad and lost soul who sometimes fails to recognize her husband.

“It’s hard,” says Ray, 81, who cares for Mary full time.  “Very hard.” But since Glenner Town Square, a state-of-the-art dementia day care facility, opened in August, Patterson says he’s been able to take care of the bills again, read books, breathe.  And when Mary comes home from Glenner, she is in a better mood and easier to be with. “She doesn’t have her memory back,” he says. “But there’s a difference.”

Located in an industrial building along a nondescript boulevard in Chula Vista, Calif., just south of San Diego, Glenner Town Square is a 9,000-square-foot indoor replica of small-town USA, where Eisenhower is still president, Buddy Holly sings over the PA System and old movies like Rear Window play in 15-minute clips in the movie theater.  An American flag with 48 stars flies in side city hall, near the shiny black 1959 Ford Thunderbird and across from Rosie’s Diner, where pictures of Elvis, Audrey Hepburn and James Dean hang from walls the color of cotton candy.

A GROWING FORM OF CARE

The creators of Glenner Town Square hope to revolutionize dementia care through the use of reminiscence therapy, a palliative treatment for patients who have cognitive decline but whose long-term memory remains at least somewhat intact.

Glenner Town Square is designed to capture the years between 1953 and 1961, when the average dementia patient was between ages 10 and 30 — the time of life during which, research indicates, many of our strongest memories are formed.  Senior Helpers, a national organization that provides Glenner’s trained caregivers, is working with George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers to create another Town Square outside Baltimore. The goal is to build 100 more Town Squares nationwide by 2021.

Each of the 14 storefronts within the Town Square represents an iconic place that participants might have visited in their past—the library, the bar, the barbershop, even the opera house.  Guests are guided from one nostalgic scene to another in groups of five, staying in each for about 45 minutes, not unlike a high school schedule. Aides play cards with them, help them paint, tell stories and, in one particularly poignant moment recently, had them copy inspiring messages on Halloween cards for sick children at a nearby hospital, and sign them with “I love you.”

A RESPITE FOR CAREGIVERS

The concept of reminiscence-therapy villages grew outside Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a small “town” that’s actually an assisted living facility called Hogewey.  A report in the Journal of Dementia Care noted that residents of Hogewey settle easily and, as a result, may need less medication than those living in traditional homes.

Glenner is different in that its participants (don’t call them patients) go home at the end of the day. “We’re creating an extra step between being at home and being in assisted living,” says Scott Tarde, CEO of George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, which operates two traditional dementia care centers in the San Diego area in addition to Glenner Town Square.  

And research indicates that reminiscence therapy helps those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive disease feel better in the moment, often calming their agitation, a painful hallmark of the condition.  It can also, according to some research, bolster cognitive ability and reduce depression.

“When I first heard about reminiscence therapy about 10 years ago, I was skeptical,” says Richard Isaacson, MD., director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian in Manhattan.  “But my mind has changed. Being in this kind of comfortable and safe environment where you are offered a structured way to remember the past may boost chemicals in the brain without side effects, and that boost could have a ripple effect.  It means you could sleep better, and if you sleep better, you’re more well-rested, and memories are consolidated during sleep so you might have better cognition. This doesn’t reverse Alzheimer’s, but it does have a symptomatic benefit that extends long beyond the hours a patient spends inside a place like this.”

Caregivers—husbands, wives and children—benefit as much from Glenner Town Square’s setup as the participants.  Take, for instance, Joey Tennison, a 37-year-old San Diego deputy sheriff whose mother, Susie, moved into the home he shares with his wife early last year.  “It strains every aspect of your life, but it’s brought our family closer,” Joey says, recalling the days when he would be at work and his mother would call 20 times in one hour, asking the same questions.

He enrolled Susie, 70, in Glenner when it opened in August, happily paying the $85 a day ($425 a week) for care from 8:45 am to 5:15 pm.  While that’s some 20 percent higher than the average cost of adult day care, Joey—who has visited several nursing homes and assisted living facilities—says it’s well worth it.  Private care averages around $20 an hour nationwide, so he sees Glenner as a savings. Plus, Joey says, “This is not just a bunch of old people sitting around a table,” like he’s seen in many other homes.

Susie had a tough time during her first days at Glenner: She was agitated and uncomfortable and called home constantly, Joey remembers.  And yet, he says, she seemed comforted by the portraits of Eisenhower and Roosevelt on the wall, and the music. “I don’t think she thinks she’s in the 50s,” he says.  “But it all feels familiar to her—and safe.” To ease Susie’s agitation, Glenner caregivers tapped into what they knew about her—she used to be an accountant, so they printed spreadsheets for her to fill out and gave her a desk to work at.

“I’m not saying my mother is getting better,” Joey says. “But she has a purpose now.  She even asked us to buy her new dresses because she wants to look good. She got her dignity back.”

(by Jennifer Wolff for AARP Bulletin, December 2018)

PROTECT YOUR BRAIN WITH LEMON-SALMON CAKES!

                                     (These delights can slash Alzheimer’s risk by 62%)

1 (14 oz) can salmon                                                         1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 egg                                                                                    1 Tspn Lemon Zest

½ cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs                                 2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley

1 Tbsp Oil

  1.  In bowl, combine salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, mustard, lemon zest and parsley.  Season with ½ tsp salt & ½ tsp pepper.  Form into 4 patties.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add patties and cook 4 minutes per side or until golden, turning once.     Serves 2.

ADVANCE PLANNING FOR YOUR ONLINE LIFE

Today’s seniors are more digitally connected than ever, with some estimating that as many as 34 % of Americans (65 and above) use social networking sites. From ordering food online to digitally transferring money, these apps have our personal and financial data stored online. It’s vital to take measures to secure personal data to ensure online safety every day – and beyond.

When my grandpa passed away in February, he didn’t leave a ‘will’ or any information related to his important documents or online investments and accounts. All we had was a book with a personal note to his grandkids. We had to undergo vigorous procedures to retrieve grandpa’s social media accounts and yet terms and conditions were roadblocks in our pursuit to find vital information. As a family, we faced a daunting task to get everything together – and here’s what we learned along the way about handling different digital legacies:

Paypal:

If you are aware of the email and password associated with the deceased:

1) Log in to their account and withdraw all funds by hitting ‘withdraw’ button.

2) Go to “My Settings” and then select “Account Type” -> “Close Account”-> Continue.

If you don’t have the required email and password,

1) If a ‘will’ exists, you need to send Paypal a copy of the ‘will’ along with executor details.

2) If there is no ‘will’, you have to send them a statement that states your relationship with the deceased, a government issued id card and death certificate.

If there are funds in the account, a check will be issued in the account holder’s name.

Credit Cards: You can collect the card and call the helpline number associated with the bank.  The deceased’s name, social security number and the reason for canceling has to be provided. By canceling the credit card, you get to cancel all the online subscription payments associated with the credit card.

Facebook: You can either memorialize the account or request for deletion. Memorialization will keep the account active, but logging into the profile, add request facility and searchability is denied. It has the word “Remembering” next to the username. When it comes to placing a request for deletion, you have to provide death certificate along with your authority proof. You can go to Settings->security>legacy contact and then select account deletion.

Twitter: With Twitter, you need to fill a privacy form to report about the deceased. Death certificate along with your username and proof of relationship with the deceased has to be provided upon which the account gets deleted. The process is different from Facebook.

Instagram: It has the same memorization and deletion process as Facebook. 

Google: You can use the Inactive Account Manager to control the fate of your account on the off chance anything happens to you. You can also request to either close the account of the deceased or obtain data. Google has the ultimate right to either provide you with access or deny you.

Linkedin: LinkedIn will close the account upon submitting the death certificate and showing previous employer details.

Pinterest: You can request for deactivation of the account with necessary proofs.

Similarly you can also close Ebay, Amazon,etc by contacting support and providing the necessary information. 

What about Advance Planning?

Do you want your family to deal with strict and time consuming legal proceedings in order to get access to your accounts – while they are grieving? It was troublesome for us to retrieve all the documents and sort his digital legacy. Even to this day, we keep an eye on his mailbox and bank statements to see if there are any subscribed transactions that have to be canceled.  To prevent similar confusion for your family, it’s smart to include your digital legacy in your advance planning. Here are a few ways to handle this:

-You can assign or hire a digital executor to look after your digital possessions along with instructions and credentials – but keep them updated if/when passwords change.

– Use a password manager that will store your passwords of the relatable digital accounts – and share that account info with your executor.  Again,  make sure to keep it updated! 

-Explore online tools that can store all that information in one place and transfer it responsibly to the appointed nominees. 

Whatever you choose, be smart and save everyone a lot of extra hassle at an already challenging time.

Written by Surya Prakash Singh for SeniorPlanet.org & is the co-founder/co-CEO of  yowill.life, a company dedicated to protect and transfer the digital and personal legacy of loved ones responsibly, inspired by our family incidents. 

SMILE! GOOD NEWS ABOUT DENTISTRY

If you’re one of those Americans who shudder at the thought of even a routine dental visit—never mind root canals or fillings—there’s good news. It’s not your Mom’s dental office anymore.

Dental advances span the spectrum from quicker X-rays to better crowns and fillings and even prettier aesthetics, among other things.

“Two generations ago, people passed away in their 60’s and most did not have all of their own teeth,” says Matthew Messina, DDS, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association and an assistant professor at The Ohio State University. “This generation has a very good likelihood of living into their 80s and 90s and can expect to keep most or all of their own teeth,” he says. That’s if you go to the dentist regularly, of course.

Here, a few things that may have changed since you last said “Ah.”

Higher Tech X-rays

Many dentists have switched to digitized X-rays instead of traditional radiographs.  There are different methods to this, but one involves putting an electronic sensor into your mouth to record images. The digital image is transmitted to a computer for viewing. These digital images can be stored in the computer so your dentist can then keep track of how your mouth is doing. These X-rays can not only find cavities but look at the bone underlying your teeth to see how good your “anchors” are.

Better Restorative Materials

Today’s restorative materials look and feel more like “real” teeth than those used in years past, Messina says.  For instance, if you need a cavity filled, your dentist may use “tooth-colored” porcelain or composite fillings, replacing the old silver amalgams. Bonding, which can be done on chipped teeth, is also more natural looking. There are more shades of this plastic bonding material now, so it’s likely to look more natural since it can more closely match your teeth.

Less Goopy, Faster Crown Preparation

When a crown is needed, some dentists use CAD/CAM technology—computer-assisted design and computer-assisted technology—for crowns.  Instead of making a mold of the tooth (that goopy stuff in the tray), the dentist drills the tooth to prepare it for the crown, then takes a picture with a computer. That image is transmitted to a machine that makes the crown.

“The results don’t vary,” Messina says, between goop and computer methods. Costs may be higher for the computer method, of course. However, the computer-generated impressions are “certainly more pleasant” than the goop, he says. While crowns are often still done in two steps, meaning two visits, some offices can complete it in one long visit, Messina says, with the proper equipment.

Dental Implants

Some 15 or 20 years ago, dental implants were considered somewhat experimental, Messina says. Not anymore. In this now routine procedure, an artificial tooth root is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or a bridge, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Before the implant is placed, you may need to beef up the underlying bone, filling the defect with bone or bone substitute. Implants need to be cared for just as regular teeth do—brushing and flossing.

Cosmetic Advances

“Everything we do is more aesthetic than it was before,” notes Messina. “Seniors value their smiles. A lot are willing to invest in more aesthetics, whether crowns or veneers on the front teeth, or orthodontics.”

Veneers are made with the idea that teeth should be healthy looking, replacing the old “Chicklets” look of the past. The healthy look has replaced the previous goal of having “the biggest, brightest, whitest kind of look,” Messina says.

“When cosmetic dentistry is done well, people don’t say, ‘Nice teeth,’” Messina points out. “Rather, they might tell you look rested, or younger, or more relaxed.”  (so you can simply smile and say thanks.)

What Else to Know

Many over-60 dental patients think they have outgrown cavities and are surprised when their dentist finds one and tells them they need a filling, Messina says. The dentist must tell them there is no age at which you outgrow cavities.  “The bacteria don’t know how old you are,  nor do they care,” Messina says.

After 60, you may need more frequent routine checkups, Messina warns, but that should be decided on a case-by-case basis. “I have some seniors who have meticulous oral care, and once every 6 months is perfect .” Others need to check in every three months, especially if their teeth accumulate plaque quickly or if they have gum problems.  That’s where having a relationship with your own dentist makes such a difference,” he says. 

Doing Your Part

Messina states and the research confirms that a healthy mouth and a healthy body are linked. “With every passing week, we know more and more about how oral health is an integral part of overall body health,” he observes.  Uncontrolled gum disease, for instance, has been linked with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

“If you have your dental health in good shape, with no periodontal disease and no decay, that lack of inflammation and bacteria in the mouth makes everything else healthier,” Messina concludes. 

The Benefits of Book Clubs and How to Start One

Reading is important at every age, including during retirement years. Here are some of the benefits of making reading part of your everyday life as you age:

  • Protects cognitive health: Reading is exercise for your brain. It gives the brain the workout it needs to protect memory, as well as maintain reasoning and analytical skills.
  • Promotes better sleep: Unwinding before bedtime is necessary for promoting better sleep. That means turning off the television and electronics. Enjoying a good book can help you relax and drift off to sleep.
  • Could help prevent or delay Alzheimer’s: Many Alzheimer’s researchers believe reading can help prevent or delay the development of the disease. They say reading and other mentally challenging activities build connections between brain cells. If an older adult does develop Alzheimer’s, these connections help the brain compensate for damage.

You can maximize the health benefits of reading by starting or joining a book club. Socializing with fellow book lovers can also help older adults avoid the health risks associated with isolation, such as high blood pressure and depression.

To help you start reading more, we are sharing a few tips on launching a book club.

Senior Readers: How to Start a Book Club during Retirement

  1. Think about who you would like to invite to be part of your club. Maybe you would like your book club to have a theme, such as biographies or travel books. Knowing this will help you figure out who might be a good fit for your club.
  2. Consider locations for your group to meet. Some libraries and senior centers allow groups to reserve rooms and hold meetings for free. Or, you might want to have members take turns hosting meetings at their home or at the Bailey Park Clubhouse. If you decide to meet in private homes, you’ll likely want to limit your group to six or eight members.
  3. Decide how often and when you would like to meet. Poll group members to see if they prefer daytime or evening gatherings. Some book clubs take the summer months off when people tend to be busier.
  4. Determine a book club reading list. Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com can probably help you come up with some options for your group to vote on. It might help to plan three to six months ahead so members have time to locate and read the books.
  5. Set up some club rules, including who will be the moderator. Will the moderator be the same person, or will club members alternate? It also helps to have some guidelines that encourage everyone to speak and keep some people from dominating the conversation.
  6. Encourage the moderator to plan ahead. Some book publishers have talking points on their websites to make it easier for book clubs to keep the discussion going. The moderator can visit the site ahead of time and create a list of conversation starters.

(as published on sunriseseniorliving.com, December 4, 2018)

Are our children better prepared than we boomers are?

This sure got our attention here at BoomerCafé: based on a study focused on baby boomers, our generation is less prepared for retirement than our millennial children are. It comes from the consumer newsletter Bottom Line Inc., an arm of a publishing company in Stamford, Connecticut. Maybe if you read it and see yourself in the mirror, you can prepare a little better.

You might think that most millennials, those young adults who are now in their 20s and 30s, have not gotten very far in figuring out financial goals for retirement. And you might think that the baby boomer generation, many of whose members, if not already retired, are right on the brink of retirement, could teach millennials a thing or two about retirement planning.

You’d be wrong … and wrong.

According to a study of group retirement plans by research firm J.D. Power, 51% of millennials have set specific retirement goals, compared with a mere 44% of baby boomers (and 44% of members of Generation X, the group in-between millennials and boomers).

This means that for many baby boomers, their know-it-all kids might just know a lot more than their parents do when it comes to retirement planning and finances.

The results of this study might help spur you to step up your own retirement planning. If you’re a boomer, they might even convince you to— gasp!— ask your kids for advice.

https://www.boomercafe.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/boomer_couple_meeting-620x412.jpg

A Tally of Two Generations

The study found that 61% of millennials— nearly two out of three— have $25,000 or more banked for retirement and more than one in four— 27%— have more than $100,000 saved for life beyond their earning years. Even better news for them is the fact that they still have an average of 30 to 35 years left to save before they retire.

Their parents on the other hand (which would be you) are more likely to have fallen behind. While 75% of baby boomers surveyed have saved more than $100,000, they average just three years left until retirement. On average, boomers will hit age 65 with savings that equal just 3.4 years of their current income— a far cry from the 10 years that some experts recommend.

Of course, baby boomers came of age at a time when discussions about wealth (or the lack thereof) were much rarer than they are today and even taboo in many families and workplaces. They also started their working lives in an era when companies tended to fully fund lifetime pensions for longtime workers, and that made it easy to develop a belief that “things will be taken care of.” In many cases, of course, those pensions turned out to be far less than anticipated or even, for younger boomers, they evaporated as companies closed down their pension plans.

Millenials, on the other hand, grew up in an era of nearly nonstop talk about saving for retirement and about how no one — not the government and not employers — is going to provide retirement rescue. So they may have a darker view of what’s coming down the pike for them … and realize that retirement money will have to come from them.

What does this mean for you? That depends on how old you are and how much you’ve saved. It’s either an atta boy and a keep it up… or a reminder that you need to get real so you don’t outlive your savings.

(from the Boomer Café, June 2018, no author listed)