Month: June 2020

Comfort Zone at 60: Confidence and Joy

Comfort Zone at 60

Our outlook on life and our beliefs can change as we age. Agendas get altered and things that were once so important may now seem silly or trivial. In fact, you may sink into a hole of not caring much about anything and find you are not taking care of yourself like you should.

Life brings about so much change – with our significant others, children, careers, and so on – that we get worn down. We lose our self-worth and neglect our health and dreams.

If you have found yourself in this position, I offer the following ideas to help you change your direction and get back into the game of becoming your most confident self.

Appearance: Be Your Own Person

Often, we are too critical of our looks and can even give up on trying to look our best. As a result, we start feeling invisible to the world around us. Being at ease in our own skin and feeling our best gets us in our comfort zone.

I would encourage you to consider your needs and wants and stop fidgeting about what others may think of you. Design the person you want to be. You have all kinds of options!

Begin by giving yourself a signature look.

Perhaps you want to stand out for wearing a specific color. Organize your closet where it’s easy to match your outfits by having only the colors or styles that give you self-confidence.

If you are a hat or scarf person, don’t just collect these accessories – wear them. Maybe you love jewelry and if so, wear it to please yourself.

Perhaps you have a bohemian spirit that can emerge by doing something a little outrageous. It may be as small as a toe ring or as big as a tattoo. The point is, you are doing something that gives you confidence and pleasure.

Whatever you do, it is for your benefit. No one else’s. Take time to think how you feel about yourself and how get a boost in self-confidence by letting your internal spirit come through.

Social and Alone Time: Enjoy Both

You may feel uncertain about how much time you want to spend alone as you age. Many of you may enjoy solitude that helps you to do fulfilling things such as reading, gardening, cooking, or crafting. But you may also need more in your social life to help you feel more connected.

If so, join groups that explore your interests. For example, if you enjoy reading, join a book club. By spending time with people of the same interest, you will enjoy yourself while learning new and different ways of thinking.

Your alone time can be very beneficial, but prolonged isolation is not helpful or healthy. Find a balance that gives you the right self-nourishment.

Physical Wellbeing: Be Your Best

Self-care can make all the difference in how you feel about yourself. Age leads to loss of muscle mass and many other physiological changes, so choosing a healthy lifestyle is vital.

Work on your flexibility and core. These two areas of physical exercise will help you with posture and give you better stability and balance. Learn and practice exercises to keep you strong and confident: walking, sitting, getting up from a seated position or off the floor.

Learn about nutrition and what is best for you at your age, size and lifestyle. Physical wellbeing is of utmost important and will be your best friend when you need it most. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and move your body.

Why Bother? It’s All About You!

Having a quality life gives more joy. Improve and renew your spirit daily. Remember, you are the only one who can give you the gift of self-care.

How are you creating your future comfort zone? What things make you feel comfortable in your skin? Are there any tips you would like to share with the community? Please do so in the comments below.

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Mother Nature Here We Come – Seniors Who Simply Want to Live

living at a senior care center

Do you remember birds singing loudly and persistently at the beginning of the pandemic when traffic disappeared from the streets and skies? At the time, I wondered if I were hearing birdsong that would normally have been background noise, or if the birds were actually singing differently.

Then I heard an ornithologist say that birds are known to respond to human activity. So, the birds actually were celebrating a reprieve from human interference.

But Some Interference Is Good

Here at my CCRC we’re trying mightily to interfere with Mother Nature by keeping old and infirm people going long after they would normally have expired. That’s a good thing, from my point of view. But the birds might not think so.

I am one of the youngest residents – I will soon be 75 – and in fine shape. When people meet me for the first time without my husband present, they look me up and down and ask, “Why are you here?” I tell them it’s because my husband has Parkinson’s, and they nod their heads in instant understanding.

Almost everyone has come here in response to a natural process gone askew. Couples come because one of them has a chronic illness. After a number of years, a widow or widower is left behind, and she or he no longer has the stamina to move away.

Frail people come to live closer to adult children without burdening them. Others come because they have no adult children on whom to rely for life-extending services.

It Takes a Village

This place is a village in which paid staff substitute for clansmen who, in earlier eras, would have cared for their elders.

Staff members give my husband physical therapy without his needing to travel for it. They organize ways for him to enjoy society, at dinner or after exercise classes, that he could not otherwise access, either physically or cognitively.

Staff members help me with caregiving, a relentless drain of energy and good humor. (60 percent of caregivers die before the loved one for whom they are caring.)

Because someone is always around, I can go about my business – and even spend a night out of town – without worrying about Tom taking his meds on time or slipping in the shower. I am granted a precious, extra degree of freedom.

It’s Not About Illness

The odd thing is that neither staff nor residents focus on the infirmities that make us congregate. When you meet people in a walkway, you proceed to discuss campus activities, your family, the news, whatever, but never your aches and pains or serious medical or psychological challenges. It’s assumed that everybody has his or her share of them, and they’re boring.

I confess I’m curious about how some of my fellow residents manage to cope with the problems inherent in long life. But I can’t pry. Unless new friends volunteer to share their stories, I’ll just have to stick around long enough to find out for myself, assuming I can. 

Then There’s Covid-19

That brings me to the current threat looming over our community of vulnerable individuals. So far, among the 400 souls on this campus, only one staff member has come down with Covid-19.

We‘re told the person had little direct contact with residents – someone from buildings and grounds, perhaps? – and is resting at home.

Why have we been spared? The director jumped into protective mode, closing the campus to visitors and ending communal dining as soon as public health officials recommended doing so.

Some residents grumbled about being cut off from family, but when asked last week whether the dining room should re-open in July, most said no.

Mother Nature issued a challenge, and this CCRC responded with science. We may not talk about illness here, but we know when we’re beating the odds.

How have you and yours fared in the pandemic? Have you been able to visit a loved one in a retirement community? What were the restrictions? Let’s have a conversation.

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An Experiment with Prayer – Out Loud and with a Partner (Video)

praying as a couple

I’d say a silent prayer with my morning coffee, in church, sometimes before a meal. But the idea of asking for guidance with struggles and worries out loud? With my spouse listening? This concept may work for other people, but I doubted it was for us.

Couples Who Pray, written by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt, is a quick and easy read highlighting married couples, including several high profile celebrities, who pray daily – with one another. Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Scott and Tracie Hamilton, Kathie Lee and her late husband, Frank Gifford.

Prepare for Your Marriage to Improve

The book’s message – and promise – grabbed my attention. It claims praying together opens up a husband and wife to one another and creates a closer bond. In turn, this increases intimacy and communicationin the relationship.

I wrapped the book with a pretty ribbon, presented it to my husband, and braced myself for his reaction. This new thing I discovered and proposed was not exactly our style.

What do you think? Shall we give this a try? 

I suppose the intimacy angle intrigued my typically quiet husband, because I am certain he didn’t crave more conversation. We agreed to give the concept a shot. What was there to lose?

The Authors Recommend a 40-Day Trial 

I admit, my expectations were low.

Like any Type A prayer partners, we outlined a strategy and established ground rules. We’d pray in bed, after we closed our books and before we went to sleep. Interruptions, comments, side remarks, were off limits. Feedback and follow-up discussion must wait until the next day.

I felt safer with the lights out. With the room dark, mumbling our concerns and hopes aloud wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. We didn’t hold hands and look into each other’s eyes and use eloquent language. We took turns talking, then said amen and goodnight. Short and sweet. 

It Gets Easier and More Comfortable

Similar to cooking a new recipe or sewing a buttonhole, this new routine was easier the second night and the third. After two weeks, we were in a rhythm we loved, and we knew we wouldn’t stop. When one of us was away, we prayed together over the phone. We were hooked. 

After three decades of marriage, our prayers helped us uncover new things about each other. With no distractions and nothing to do except listen, I realized my rock of a husband – who rarely asks for help – was worried about his lonely dad and the employee he had to fire. He heard I was restless and longed to explore and grow at this stage in my life. 

Of course, we both pray for health and safe travels and our kids and jobs and elderly parents and sick friends. We ask for forgiveness and freedom from the past. We ask for guidance and direction and answers and decisions.

But we do a lot of thanking too. And gratitude has led to a greater appreciation for each other. 

Our recognition and empathy, through prayer, has steered us toward greater emotional intimacy and opened up new discussions. Physical intimacy? Hmmm – the jury is still out!

I often wonder how prayer would have affected our lives and family if we’d started this habit years ago. I’ll never know. But it’s another beautiful lesson – and reminder – for me. It’s never too late to try something new. 

Have you ever prayed out loud? Do you do it on your own or with your partner? Might you give this a try? When was the last time you tried something really uncomfortable? With our uncertain world, how do you obtain guidance and strength? Please share your tips and recommendations with our community!

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Mark Your Calendars: 3 Medicare Enrollment Periods You Shouldn’t Miss

3 medicare open periods

As you embark on the journey beyond 60, or if you’ve already crossed that threshold into your golden years, one of the things you have to begin thinking about in regard to your health and finances is Medicare.

This can be an often overwhelming and daunting task to take on as there are so many options and variables to weigh. One of the first steps of enrolling in Medicare is knowing when you’re eligible (when you turn 65) and when you’re able to enroll or change any plans you may have previously been enrolled in.

There are three different Medicare Enrollment Periods that you should be aware of, each of which have their own specific rules when it comes to applying.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with these rules and be sure not to miss an Enrollment Period as you could face steep penalties, including a delay in health coverage.

To get the best prices, better prepare for any decisions/changes, and avoid any hinderances to your coverage, it’s critical to know the dates and rules of each Enrollment Period and ensure that you sign up on time.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

The first enrollment period we’ll go over is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Anyone who’s now eligible or a current beneficiary can enroll from October 15th – December 7th.

During this time, current beneficiaries can re-enroll in their plan or choose a new policy, and newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries can select their health plan. All policy benefits will take effect on January 1st of the following year.

You can also change your Advantage and prescription drug policies during this time.

What Kind of Changes Can I Make to my Plan?

You can make several changes to your current plan if you already have some form of Medicare coverage. Some of these changes can include:

  • Switching from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage policy – and vice versa
  • Enrolling or withdrawing from a prescription drug plan
  • Changing insurance carriers
  • Switching to a new insurance policy through your current insurance carrier

Am I Required to Switch My Plans?

You may be wondering if you’re required to switch plans, even if you’re happy with your current policy. The good news is, there’s no need to change plans if you love yours!

Most times, your current plan will renew automatically on January 1st. You should worry about making changes if you’re unhappy with your current policy or want to switch to another option that can save you money.

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

The second period that needs discussion is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. Many people choose to boost their Medicare coverage with a Medicare Supplement policy, also known as Medigap.

Medigap helps to bridge the gap between Medicare and your out-of-pocket costs. Premiums, copayments, and deductibles can swallow your income if you’re not careful.

The best time to get a Supplement policy is in the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, which is a six-month timeframe that begins on the first day of your 65th-birthday month. An important caveat is that you must sign up for Part B to qualify for a supplement policy.

You can sign up for your Medigap policy without having to answer any health questions, which means if you enroll during Open Enrollment, you won’t have to deal with denials in coverage.

Outside of the Open Enrollment Period, insurers will use underwriting to determine eligibility. At that point, you’re buying insurance with your health. And unfortunately, if you’re not healthy, you might pay more or be denied a policy.

What Kind of Changes Can I Make to My Medicare Supplement Policy?

You can make several different changes to your current Medigap policy during the Open Enrollment Period. A couple of these changes may include:

  • Switching from your Medigap plan to an Advantage policy. You can’t have both a Medicap and Advantage plan at the same time.
  • You can also switch from your Advantage plan to a Supplement policy at this point.
  • You can change over to a Medigap plan if you move outside of your Advantage plan’s network area.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

The final enrollment period we’ll cover is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which allows you to make a one-time change to your policy at this time if you find yourself not having a full understanding of how your Advantage plan works or the doctors you want to use are outside of your plan’s network.

Any of these changes must occur between January 1st – March 31st every year. You can switch to a different Advantage policy or go to original Medicare. If you miss this period, you’ll have to wait for the Annual Enrollment Period to make any changes.

What Kind of Changes Can I Make to my Medicare Advantage Plan?

If you have an Advantage Plan, you can make the following alterations:

  • Switch to another Advantage policy with drug coverage
  • Switch to a different Advantage plan that doesn’t offer prescription coverage
  • Switch to Medicare and add a standalone drug plan
  • Switch to Medicare and forego a Part D policy

Make sure to talk with your insurance agent before you decide on an Advantage plan to confirm that you’re enrolling in a health policy whose network will align with your providers and the associated cost fits into your monthly budget.

Your new health coverage will begin on the first day of the next month following the alterations. For example, if you decide to switch your Advantage plan on February 15th, your new policy will take effect on March 1st.

Staying on Top of Enrollment Dates

Each enrollment period has different implications for every beneficiary. It’s important to be fully aware of which enrollment periods apply to you and carefully plan out ahead of time any changes you want to make.

Medicare is always changing and sometimes enrollment periods vary. You can stay on top of these important dates by setting a reminder in your phone or email calendar, or even a written notice on the kitchen calendar, and save yourself a lot of money and frustration!

How do you keep track of the enrollment periods and Medicare options available to you? Have you missed a deadline? What were the repercussions? Do you have any tips, tricks, or resources to share with our sisters? Please use the comments below.

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Kim Kardashian Goes Red and Swears It’s Not a Wig

Keeping up with the Kardashian-Jenners’ ever-changing hairstyles is basically a full-time job. More often than not, a major transformation from Kim, Khloe and Kylie is thanks to a really great wig. But apparently, Kim Kardashian’s new red hair is not faux, according to her hairstylist. “Red head 🍒 it’s NOT a wig before you start with that shit,” wrote Chris Appleton on Instagram. Well, okay. He shared two videos of his client showing off her fiery red hair. Like all her hairstyles, it looks pretty real but it’s also hard to tell with a really intense Instagram filter.

The truth is, Kim and Kylie’s hair is often a mix of real color and extensions. So, it’s basically both true and not true. But there’s nothing wrong with playing around with wigs and weaves, especially when it saves your strands from bleach and hot tools. Appleton didn’t share why or how he created this look on Kim but fans are loving it. Usually, Kim goes lighter and more bronze so this hue is a big departure.

Instagram PhotoSource: Instagram

Kim isn’t the only one who switched up her hair over the weekend. Kylie took her ’90s bronze hair that everyone is loving and added a platinum wig.

Instagram PhotoSource: Instagram

Then, she changed it again to pastel pink. After months of quarantine, the ever-changing looks are back.

Instagram PhotoSource: Instagram

Khloe even got in on the transformation action and went brunette—a big change for the bottle blonde. She said on Instagram how much she’s loving the hue and we totally agree that it looks bomb.

Instagram PhotoSource: Instagram

Though because we’re still in thick of this thing, we hope they’re all (and their glam teams!) are at least still wearing a mask.

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