Retirement Life

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5 retirement life lessons you didn’t know you needed

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are or five retirement lessons to think about before going into retirement. </span></p> <p><strong>1. Remember maintaining your lifestyle is not a walk in the park</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Frugality coupled with the understanding that your income is not streaming in like it once was is key to maintaining some semblance of the life you used to have. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Transitioning into retirement is not easy</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It may be hard for you to let go of your professional life – after all, you have been working hard and up towards this moment for the better part of your whole life. </span></p> <p><strong>3. You can decide whether you want to be bored or busy</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Often the answer to the question, “what do you want to do with your life during retirement” usually comes easy to many. Perhaps playing golf, relaxing by the beach or spending long summers overseas seems ideal, but unfortunately it is not enough to fill your golden years. </span></p> <p><strong>4. You may lose friends</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your true friends will remain after you retire, but unfortunately the people who may have respected you, listened to you and went out of their way to be friendly with you may stop having time for you after retirement. Unfortunately, it is how life goes, and it will go on.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Being able to save is still essential in retirement</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may or may not have considered this already, but the fact still remains – retirement is not a free for all when it comes to spending. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, bills and expenses still require to be paid even in retirement. Don’t jeopardise your financial future by overspending or going into debt.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are some of your retirement lessons others may not know about? Let us know in the comments below. </span></p>

Retirement Life

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What Barbie would look like as a 60-year-old

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A dating site for single over 50-year-olds looking to get back in the game has honoured Mattel’s beloved iconic Barbie on her 60</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> birthday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charly  Lester from Lumen told </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/dating/barbie-reimagined-as-her-actual-age-on-her-60th-birthday/news-story/ca897d3c91b20dce543cc8761373c214"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the idea was created in an effort to celebrate and show the appeal of older women. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our Head of Brand Liesa had the idea of showing ageing icons as their real ages, and Barbie was one of the first ones she mentioned,” Lester explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After reconfiguring what the iconic “forever young” doll would look like into her older age, the dating site team said Barbie’s 60</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> birthday was the perfect way to challenge the way mature aged people are shown in the media. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Lumen’s mission is very much pro-age and anti-ageism and we are repeatedly challenging the way over 50s are shown in the media,” Lester said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">embed</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We felt Barbie’s 60th birthday was a great opportunity to showcase this in a lighthearted way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our homage to Barbie shows her un-airbrushed, and represented by a real woman at her real age. She is still beautiful and aspirational, but in a very realistic way.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the years, Barbie has had over 200 jobs, from being an astronaut to a firefighter, a game developer to even the president of the united States – there isn’t much the most recognisable toys in the world can’t do. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The issue, says Lester, is that Barbie has “never been her real age.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Telling </span><a href="https://www.metro.news/barbie-brought-to-life-to-help-over-50s-win-dating-game/1464916/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Metro</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> they said: “Many women say that in their 50s and 60s they’ve never felt more empowered in their own skin and this should be reflected by influential icons like Barbie.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We encourage the toy industry to consider making their products more pro age… who says that everyone should be in their 20s to be a success?”</span></p>

Retirement Life

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A day in the life of your knee

<p>It’s cosy beneath these blankets, but I want out. I am achy and inflamed, brittle from a motionless night. I wait for The Body to register my familiar morning stiffness. C’mon, get up already so we can work out these kinks.</p> <p>He flings his feet over the side of the bed and plants them on the floor. I’m not gonna lie: straightening out under all 95kg of him takes some serious grit. I brace myself for the load. My upstairs neighbour, the thigh muscle, contracts and yanks the quadriceps tendon, which pulls on my kneecap to make the leg extend. I’m a hinge, with pulleys that bend and straighten me.</p> <p>The other knee snickers. He’s not in as bad a shape as I am. The quads and hamstrings like to joke that I’m their little marionette. Yeah, real knee-slapper, guys.</p> <p>As he gets dressed, The Body flips on the TV to catch replays from last night’s football game. Oh, dear. What’s this? His team’s running back suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear? Side-tackled while all his weight was on one foot. Body, cover your eyes, for goodness’ sake! Why does he make me watch this? He’s wincing, too, because I suffered that same injury about 20 years ago. It still haunts us.</p> <p><strong>The story of my demise</strong></p> <p>The Body had been out of college for ten years and had let all of us (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) go to pot. Not that I blame him. You know the drill: sit all day at a desk, meet friends for happy hour. Who has time for exercise? Then, one weekend, he joined a pickup basketball game. Just ran right out there like the college athlete he no longer was – no warming up, no taking it easy – and snap! Tore my ACL. It’s the string that runs through my centre, connecting the thighbone to the shinbone, and it keeps me from wobbling all over the place. Worst day of my life. I heard a pop and felt a wave of excruciating pain wash over me as The Body fell to the ground.</p> <p>That’s the reason I’m so craggy before my time (I’m only 49). Surgery and physical therapy did get me working perfectly again. But ligament tears leave us knees with a 50-50 chance of getting arthritis within ten to 20 years. My cartilage, the protective tissue on the ends of bones that keeps them from grinding against each other, may not ever fully recover.</p> <p>Finally, The Body decides to switch the TV to the weather report. The meteorologist is calling for fair skies. Yeah, right – I know better. I get extra achy just before it rains, and I’m throbbing. The Body’s doctor says he hears that complaint all the time but isn’t quite sure why the pain worsens. His best guess: when air pressure drops, my already inflamed joint swells even more, irritating the nerves. Before he limps out the door, The Body grabs his umbrella to be safe. Good call, my man.</p> <p><strong>The scale makes me sad</strong></p> <p>The Body pulls into a drive-through on the way to work to get coffee. Thank goodness he’s nixed those sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches. With all this additional weight he’s put on, I’m like a toothpick supporting an anvil. Not only is The Body’s belly crippling me, it’s also putting my better half, the “good knee”, at serious risk for arthritis. My partner is almost three times more likely to get it, due to The Body’s extra-large size.</p> <p>Happily, the scale has been on a downward trend lately. This past month, The Body has lost 2kg, which has taken 9kg of stress off me.</p> <p>He shuffles into the office. Man, is it cramped under this desk. The Body feels my discomfort and swallows a couple of ibuprofen. They’ll help quell the pain for a few hours, but alas, they are not a permanent solution. Lately, the doc has been saying that eventually The Body will need to – gulp – replace me.</p> <p>Actually, it sounds worse than it is. I’ll say goodbye to my worn-out cartilage. My bones will be resurfaced and plated with metal. True, I’ll barely recognise myself, but what’s The Body’s alternative? Hobble around for the rest of his life? That’s not much fun for me either.</p> <p><strong>Can we get some exercise?</strong></p> <p>Ooh, it’s his wife on the phone. We’re going to the gym after work – hurrah!</p> <p>As we head inside, The Body sees his wife sprinting toward him in heels. Ouch. Glad I’m not one of her knees. She didn’t grab an umbrella and doesn’t want to get drenched. Hey, lady, worry about your joints, not a few raindrops. High heels are a torture device, and women are more prone to knee issues than men are to begin with. But she’s young and fit, which will protect her … for now.</p> <p>Not that I’m in love with The Body’s “comfy” sneakers. “Stability athletic shoes” sound good, but the more rigid the shoes are, the more stress they put on me. I wish he’d swap them for flat, flexible shoes with soles that let your feet bend.</p> <p>There are still plenty of activities he can do – swimming, biking, Tai Chi … old-people exercise, he calls it. But I love it all because it keeps me from getting worn and rusty. It used to be that if I got injured, they’d put me in a cast. Boy, was that dumb. In order to regenerate, cartilage needs to move and endure weight-bearing activity. The Body takes a spin on the elliptical. Woo-wee ! I feel better than I have in days. I can’t wait for the weight machines. Strong muscles help support and stabilise my joint.</p> <p><strong>My favourite meal</strong></p> <p>Back at home, The Body’s wife whips up a dinner of salmon, sweet potatoes and broccoli. I am pumped. The Body doesn’t think much about how his diet affects me, but it’s important. I’ve got low-grade inflammation, and fatty fish like salmon may slow down my disease. See, inflammation is the body’s defence against injury. It causes swelling and pain. That’s great when there’s an actual enemy. But with chronic inflammation, the body keeps fighting even when there’s no threat. And that can contribute to my arthritis.</p> <p>The Body yawns, and I’m relieved. He loves to burn the midnight oil and doesn’t realise that sleep can ease my pain. I think tonight’s gym session tuckered him out. The Body is being sweet to me tonight – sleeping on his side with a pillow wedged between me and the other knee. If I’m happy, The Body can get a good night’s rest. Now, that’s what I call a real joint effort.</p> <p><em>Written by Jill Provost. This article first appeared in<a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/tips/A-Day-in-the-Life-of-Your-Knee"> Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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Teach yourself to meditate and beat stress

<p>The whole world cheered when 12 boys stuck in a cave in northern Thailand with their football coach were finally freed on 10 July after spending more than two weeks in the darkness.</p> <p>According to several news sources the 25-year-old coach and former monk Ekapol Chantawong (above) had taught the boys how to meditate to pass the time, keep calm and conserve energy</p> <p>The practice has been credited with helping the boys stay mentally strong throughout their ordeal.</p> <p>So, what is meditation all about and can it really help?</p> <p><strong>What is meditation?</strong></p> <p>There are many types of meditation used by different philosophies, but at the core, meditation requires you to be mindful of the moment.</p> <p>During mindfulness meditation, one tries to redirect distracting thoughts and instead focus on the present.</p> <p>Although simple in theory, as anyone who has tried it can attest, it can be hard to switch off your thoughts even for a few seconds without thinking about work or wanting to check your phone.</p> <p><strong>What are the benefits of meditation?</strong></p> <p>Meditation has been credited with improving not just mental, but physical health as well. Studies have shown that it can increase immune function and reduce chronic pain. Meditation has also been proven to be effective in decreasing instances of depression, anxiety and stress.</p> <p>It can also sharpen your mind, help your focus and attention, and improve your memory, which is why some schools have started teaching students mindfulness techniques.</p> <p>At Westwood Primary School in Singapore, students do a five-minute mindful breathing exercise at recess every day, while students at international school UWCSEA were introduced to mindfulness techniques four years ago.</p> <p><strong>How do I start?</strong></p> <p>As with any new habit, you need to commit to it, much like you would a new exercise routine.</p> <p>Start small with just a few minutes a day. Set aside both time and space as rushing through it would defeat the purpose.</p> <p>Dress comfortably and choose a quiet spot, which means you shouldn’t have the TV on in the background and you’re away from a pet that may wander into your space.</p> <p>Sit cross-legged on the floor or upright on a chair. Don’t lie down as you may fall asleep. When you’re ready, sit quietly, breathe deeply and start observing your feelings at that moment.</p> <p>The key is to acknowledge and accept your thoughts and emotions without attaching any judgement to them.</p> <p>It will be challenging to quiet the noise in your head at first, but it’s important to keep at it until it becomes comfortable.</p> <p><em>Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/teach-yourself-meditate-and-beat-stress?items_per_page=All">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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How to make the most out of retirement

<p><span class="CmCaReT" style="display: none;">�</span></p> <p>Today, people want to retire earlier and earlier – it is the ultimate goal in life.</p> <p>However, is retirement all it is cracked up to be?</p> <p>Here is how you can make retirement the best years of your life.</p> <p><strong>1. Start with a vision </strong></p> <p>Retirement planning may seem stressful, but it is only because you don’t know what you want from your golden years beyond the “dream” which is travelling and relaxing.</p> <p>What are you going to do with your time? What activities would you like to do? Who do you want to see now that your hours are freed up?</p> <p><strong>2. Plan your money! </strong></p> <p>It may seem obvious that you need money in retirement, however people sometimes miss the mark when figuring out just how much is needed to achieve all the dreams you have for yourself.</p> <p>The most logical question to ask yourself is just how much is enough to see your goals, visions and plans in motion?</p> <p><strong>3. Attitude is everything</strong></p> <p>Remember retirement is not a rule book. Not every moment has to be fulfilled by one of your “dying wishes.”</p> <p>Attitude is recognised as an essential ingredient in becoming a winner in any field imaginable. Retirement is no different when having a positive, can-do attitude.</p> <p>Your golden years is a new era of your life and however you want to spend those years - whether on a beach side, continuing part-time work, visiting family or all of these – requires an open mind, constructive thinking and a willingness to change from your old ways.</p> <p>The reality of retirement is, it will definitely not be what you might have wanted it to be.</p> <p>For some it is better, for others it might not be, however, it is important to have a vision of your golden years, set goals and get your finances sorted in order to completely make retirement the best years of your life.</p> <p>What are some of your tips to make retirement some of the best of your life? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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21 hints and tips for eating well with diabetes

<p>It’s one thing to aim for consistently healthy eating.</p> <p>Putting it into practice takee more than just discipline – it takes clever thinking and specific actions.</p> <p>With that in mind, here is a collection of hints and tips to help you on your road to eating well with diabetes.</p> <p>1. Have regular meals, preferably of a similar size each day.</p> <p>2. Keep to the amounts as recommended by your dietitian or diabetes health-care professionals.</p> <p>3. Missing meals will affect your blood glucose and undereating can make you suddenly feel hungry and reach for a snack of less healthy foods.</p> <p>4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables each day. The health benefits are important, and if you are watching your weight these foods can help to fill you up at a low-joule cost.</p> <p>5. Include carbohydrate-containing foods in each meal.</p> <p>6. Make sure the portion size of these meals is not too large and does not vary too much throughout the day.</p> <p>7. Plan meals ahead when possible, have healthy foods to hand, and less healthy foods out of sight.</p> <p>8. Limit the fat you eat, particularly saturated (animal) fats, as this type of fat is linked to heart disease.</p> <p>9. Choose mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and canola oil.</p> <p>10. Eating less fat and fatty foods will also help you to lose weight.</p> <p>11. Use less butter, margarine, cheese and fatty meats.</p> <p>12. Choose low-fat dairy foods, such as low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt.</p> <p>13. Use low-fat cooking methods: bake, grill, roast without fat, microwave, steam, poach, chargrill, stir-fry and grill.</p> <p>14. Limit sugar and sugary foods. This does not mean that your diet has to be sugar-free. Sugar can be used as an ingredient in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet. But keep to sugar-free or diet drinks.</p> <p>15. Eat more fish and try to choose oily fish (such as herring, salmon and mackerel) twice a week.</p> <p>16. Opt for foods high in fibre. For bulk and fibre, choose starchy foods such as potatoes in their skins, pasta and basmati rice, and wholegrain bread and cereals.</p> <p>17. Try to get to a healthy weight and stay there.</p> <p>18. If you have a food craving, it can help to know that it will pass. The longer you can resist the craving, the weaker it will become. Think how you might deal with a similar situation differently next time. For instance, have at hand some healthy nibbles such as carrots, melon and strawberries. Sugar-free jelly, a glass of tomato juice, a chilled sugar-free drink or a mug of low-kilojoule soup can also be helpful.</p> <p>19. Enhance the natural flavours in your cooking with herbs, spices, garlic, chilli, lemon or lime juice, flavoured vinegars, tomato purée (passata), a splash of wine, Tabasco, capers, a few olives or mustard. These will add flavour so you can reduce the need for added salt.</p> <p>20. Drink alcohol in moderation only – the guidelines are four or fewer standard units of alcohol a day for men and two or fewer standard drinks a day for women. For example, a 100 ml glass of wine or a 300 ml glass of normal-strength beer is one standard drink.</p> <p>21. Never drink on an empty stomach, as alcohol can make hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) more likely to occur.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/think-your-sex-life-over-after-40-hardly"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here's</em><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"> out best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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It's never too late: How I ran away with the circus

<p>As a kid in the bush, John Smyth didn’t have much chance to see the circus in person, but he had a treasured picture book about life under the Big Top. More than 60 years later, Smyth got to become part of the Stardust Circus world, not as a tumbler or lion tamer – but as a teacher.</p> <p>Back in 1999, the career high-school teacher decided it was time to retire and, together with his wife Helen, embark on an epic journey around Australia. They covered 33,000km in six months. When they returned, Smyth found he missed the classroom, so came out of retirement to spend ­another eight years doing casual teaching – but, eventually, his wanderlust returned and he and Helen headed back on the road.</p> <p>Today, the 75-year-old physics and mathematics teacher slots in time with his grandkids around a packed diary as a volunteer teacher to school students who live in remote locations, under a scheme known as Volunteers for Isolated Students’ Education (VISE).</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7825484/rd.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0460e53155b2483aab144be28e5bdb45" /></p> <p>VISE pairs up energetic people with educational experience – usually retired teachers, such as John – with children whose schooling is largely done remotely, because they live too far away from towns and cities to attend regular school. With their classes conducted via satellite hook-ups, Skype or whatever other methods are available, the children have virtual contact with a paid teacher for several hours a day. The rest of the time they are given assignments to complete. VISE volunteers go and stay with these remote families for six weeks at a time to provide encouragement and practical help to the students.</p> <p>John grew up in the country and was immediately intrigued when he heard about the scheme. Helen was just as keen. “We love the bush,” he says. While the teacher’s partner isn’t required to contribute, they often help around the home, in the garden or around the property. Since volunteers typically stay for the full six weeks, it’s important for couples to agree on the locations they apply for.</p> <p>“We’d decided we wouldn’t take a placement where we lived in the house with the family,” John says. “We opted for ones where we could take our own caravan or we’d have a ‘donga’ hut or a cottage, so that we had somewhere we could get away.”</p> <p>After eight VISE postings, and encountering some challenging families and students, John is still keen to do more. “Occasionally I have had to take a stand and say, ‘If you want my help, here I am, otherwise I’ll pack up and go home – I’m too busy to be sitting around here if we’re not going to work.’ But it’s always turned out really well.” He remains in fond contact with a number of his former students.</p> <p>He’s racked up stints in some of Australia’s most remote locations, including a 38,000-ha sheep property where they had to meet the mail plane to get school materials, and an 80,000-ha National Park that was 500km from the nearest supermarket. Then John nabbed one of the most sought-after placements in the scheme: a travelling post with Stardust Circus. “It was just wonderful,” he says of the weeks he and Helen spent on the road last year, working with the children in a specially equipped mobile schoolroom.</p> <p>The lesson timetable was built around the kids’ performance schedules. “The eight-year-old I tutored was a fabulous gymnast who was part of the teeterboard act,” he explains. “A big bloke would jump on the other side, he would swing up in the air, do a couple of twirls and land on his uncle’s shoulders ... and his uncle was standing on the boy’s father’s shoulders!”</p> <p>The circus still includes some animal acts, including lions, monkeys, horses, goats and pigs. John and Helen found it extraordinary enough to drift off to sleep to the sound of lions roaring, but then one day the lion-tamer, Matt, accorded them a very special privilege, inviting them in to meet four 13-month-old cubs in person.</p> <p>While it was understandably a little scary at first going into their enclosure, John says it was “an absolutely fantastic, never to be forgotten experience” which just goes to show it really is never too late: “In my 75th year I finally got to realise my boyhood dream of running away with the circus!”</p> <p><strong>IF YOU'RE TEMPTED</strong></p> <p>National Seniors Australia chief executive Michael O’Neill says John’s approach is increasingly common. “We’re seeing more and more people moving from full-time work into other areas of activity that are not traditionally associated with retirement or the later years of life.”</p> <p>In fact, he says, ‘retirement’ is “almost a dirty word now. People want to enter into new experiences, using previous life knowledge, rather than sitting back and ‘retiring’ as we came to know it in previous generations.”</p> <p>As in John’s case, many are keen to continue giving back to society, but O’Neill says the way we do this has also changed.</p> <p>“Many will now say, ‘I’m happy to volunteer and give my time for this particular cause, but let me be clear: I want to contribute my knowledge and skills to your organisation. Don’t think I’m going to be down the back making cups of tea.’?”</p> <p><em>Written by Hazel Flynn. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/inspirational/never-too-late-to-run-away-with-the-circus">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine,</em><em> <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer. </a></em></p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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7 surprising ways to get more sleep

<p>An insomniac friend unwittingly hijacked my sleep recently.</p> <p>I’d never had trouble staying asleep before, but my friend started texting at 2am to pass the time.</p> <p>I keep my mobile phone on my bedside table, so his texts disturbed me, even with the phone on vibrate - the buzz, accompanied by a lit screen, jolted me awake.</p> <p>Eventually I activated a do-not-disturb setting: my phone remained blissfully silent and dark when I received unwanted texts between 11pm and 8am, and my sleep returned to normal.</p> <p>Mobile phone alerts, trips to the bathroom or other things spoil many people’s nightly rest</p> <p>Research by the Sleep Health Foundation has found between 33 and 45 percent of Australians have poor sleep patterns that lead to fatigue and irritability.</p> <p>International guidelines suggest that adults should sleep between seven and nine hours nightly.</p> <p>Chronic sleep deprivation isn’t just making us groggy; it can harm our health.</p> <p>Research shows that adults who don’t sleep enough are more likely to be sedentary and obese, and are at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression and common illnesses such as colds.</p> <p>“Sleep is so important to physical and mental health,” says British sleep researcher Dr Neil Stanley.</p> <p>“Anything that causes poor sleep on an every-night basis can have associations with risk factors for diabetes, obesity, depression and other problems. You have to look at things that you potentially can do to improve the situation.”</p> <p>Fortunately, you don’t have to swear off coffee, rely on sleeping pills or buy a fancy mattress to get a good night’s rest. These practical tips may help improve the quality of your slumber.</p> <p><strong>1. Ditch your smartphone</strong></p> <p>Studies show that up to 60 per cent of adults keep their mobile phones in the bedroom at night.</p> <p>You’re more likely to stay up too late texting, emailing or using social media, and consequently feel drowsy the next day.</p> <p>“We know from research that using one app leads to another, so you are likely to spend more time on your mobile phone than you have intended to,” says Liese Exelmans, a researcher at the School for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leuven, Belgium.</p> <p>“People over 60 who use their mobile phones at night have a shorter sleep duration.”</p> <p>Older people are more likely to be morning persons, with a biological tendency to wake up earlier, or they may need to rise early for work or other activities.</p> <p>Sleep experts recommend against bringing phones into the bedroom, but this is unrealistic for adults who use their phones as alarm clocks and who want to feel connected to friends through their devices.</p> <p>“Many people have a feeling that they are disconnected from the real world if their phone is not in the bedroom,” Exelmans says. “It triggers hypervigilance. You are not completely at rest, because you expect to be contacted sometime during the night. It’s the fear of missing out.”</p> <p>Donny Soh, 38, of Singapore, experienced this phenomenon first-hand. When his company launched a new product in 2016, he’d wake up at all hours to see if anyone had placed online orders.</p> <p>“I would wake up perhaps three to four times per night,” says Soh, who admits that an attitude change helped him reclaim his slumber.</p> <p>“Regardless of how awake I am or how often I check my phone, it doesn’t really affect the sales, and since this realisation, sleep[ing] got much better.”</p> <p>The blue light that smartphones emit can also negatively impact sleep. Blue light mimics daylight, so the body is discouraged from producing sleep-inducing melatonin at bedtime, which promotes drowsiness.</p> <p>“The blue light emitted by mobile phones inhibits melatonin output, telling your body to stay awake,” Exelmans says.</p> <p>Adding an app with a blue-light filter can help. If you’re unwilling to part with your mobile phone overnight, minimise interruptions and encourage sleep by activating night-time blackout periods, so that no calls, emails, texts or notifications get through.</p> <p>“Keep it on flight mode, dim your screen and place it on silent mode,” Exelmans says.</p> <p>“Or remove some apps: Facebook, work email – it discourages you from spending time on it.” Computers and TVs emit the same blue light that smartphones do.</p> <p>Best to keep computers and TVs out of the bedroom, and turn them off one to two hours before bedtime.</p> <p>And if you wake up in the middle of the night, refrain from turning to a screen. Says Exelmans, “Read a book, not a tablet.”</p> <p><strong>2. Put your feet up</strong></p> <p>Is your night-time slumber interrupted by urgent bathroom visits?</p> <p>You may have a little-known condition called nocturia, which awakens people from a sound sleep two or more times per night with the strong urge to urinate.</p> <p>As many as three out of five older adults suffer from nocturia, which negatively impacts sleep.</p> <p>“Even in people who fall asleep easily again,” says Dr Philip E.V. Van Kerrebroeck, professor of urology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, “the interruption of sleep disrupts the normal sleep patterns and can have general health consequences: high blood pressure, diabetes. And it can have an impact on cognitive function.”</p> <p>Nocturia isn’t a disease; rather, it’s a symptom of conditions like sleep apnoea, male prostate problems and lower oestrogen levels in women.</p> <p>Many people assume that it’s a normal part of ageing. “With ageing, there are problems that install themselves, but the night is to sleep and not to pee,” Van Kerrebroeck says.</p> <p>“Sleep is a protective mechanism. An elderly individual has the right to a healthy life.” Lifestyle changes may help: drinking no more than two litres of liquid daily, curtailing in the evenings; avoiding caffeine and alcohol for six hours before bedtime; taking diuretics in the morning or early afternoon, rather than later in the day; and elevating your legs. When you put your feet up before bedtime, it pushes the fluids that have accumulated around your ankles back into the bloodstream, allowing you to urinate out the excess fluid while you’re awake.</p> <p>If you don’t elevate your legs until you slip into bed, the excess fluid becomes urine while you sleep, leading to night-time awakenings. How long you’ll need to sit with your feet up depends upon your personal health.</p> <p>“With varicose veins or oedema, it may take longer for the fluids to return,” Van Kerrebroeck says. “There’s no problem to do it for two hours. For many people, half an hour might be too limited.”</p> <p>Many people can improve nocturia with lifestyle changes, but for those who cannot, research has shown that the drug desmopressin can cut the number of nightly bathroom visits in half for 30-40 per cent of older adults, significantly improving sleep quality.</p> <p><strong>3. Do the downward-facing dog</strong></p> <p>A recent study from the University of Washington found that older women who did yoga for two months reported considerably less insomnia.</p> <p>The gentle motions and poses may help reduce stress levels and improve blood flow, which makes it easier to sleep.</p> <p>“Look for the kind of yoga in which the breath is really involved,” says Versailles-based yoga teacher Laurence Maman, a member of the teachers’ trainers’ college of the Institut Francais de Yoga, affiliated with the European Union of Yoga.</p> <p>“By using exhalations rather than inhalations, you can influence the relaxation effect.”</p> <p>The relaxation response or effect has been shown to lower blood-pressure levels, reduce stress and encourage sleepiness.</p> <p>Maman recommends practicing yoga for 15 or 20 minutes before bedtime, choosing a lying-down position that emphasises relaxed breathing. “It can quickly have an effect on sleep quality.”</p> <p>When Jodi O’Donnell-Ames turned 50 this year, she started waking at 3am nightly, unable to fall back to sleep.</p> <p>The long-time yoga practitioner turned to yoga for help.</p> <p>“I used to practice power yoga more for cardio than for relaxation,” O’Donnell-Ames says.</p> <p>“I added gentle yoga flow to my weekly routine. It took two weeks to see a consistent difference.”</p> <p><strong>4. Grab dinner with friends</strong></p> <p>Having an emotionally fulfilling day may influence the soundness of your sleep.</p> <p>Researchers at the University of Chicago found that many people who are unable to sleep through the night feel isolated from family and friends.</p> <p>These lonely people take longer to fall asleep at bedtime, are more likely to toss and turn in the middle of the night, sleep for fewer hours and experience daytime grogginess more often than emotionally connected people.</p> <p>Older adults are particularly susceptible to emotional loneliness. “Later life contains events such as retirement, children leaving home, and potentially bereavement and widowhood,” says psychologist and researcher Dr Joanna McHugh of Trinity College, Dublin.</p> <p>“All of these events may create loneliness.” Interacting with people meaningfully during the day may help to improve sleep quality, although there are no cookie-cutter guidelines.</p> <p>“The link between loneliness and sleep quality is still relatively new and under-researched, so it is hard to make recommendations,” McHugh says.</p> <p>Seeing friends may make you feel more emotionally connected, but you may not be able to socialise as often as you’d like.</p> <p>Some research suggests that chatting with friends by phone may provide ample emotional support, but texting and social media won’t cut it.</p> <p>Counselling may be necessary for some. “One can feel lonely despite being highly socially connected,” McHugh says. “It cannot be resolved purely by social contact.”</p> <p><strong>5. Try sleeping in another bedroom</strong></p> <p>Falling asleep next to a snoring partner can be frustrating and tiring.</p> <p>Research shows that half of night-time sleep disturbances are caused by disruptive bedmates.</p> <p>This can translate to chronic sleep deprivation, depression, heart disease and relationship problems.</p> <p>“People who have poor sleep actually have a higher rate of divorce,” Stanley says.</p> <p>The next day, you’ll have more arguments, be less likely to make up and have a lack of empathy towards that person. It’s a potential recipe towards marital disharmony.”</p> <p>A simple fix: sleep in separate bedrooms.</p> <p>Researchers have confirmed that people get better-quality rest alone, which can positively impact your health and your relationship.</p> <p>“Sleep is the most selfish thing that you can do,” Stanley says.</p> <p>“If you’re sleeping alone, you’re not going to have somebody snoring, kicking, getting up to go to the bathroom or just turning over.”</p> <p>About one-third of married couples sleep in separate rooms, according to Canadian researchers.</p> <p>This trend has been slowly gaining momentum for a decade.</p> <p>“Talking about sleeping separately is probably one of the biggest taboos,” Stanley says.</p> <p>“Other people say if you’re in a relationship, you must share a bed or you’re calling into question your relationship. That’s complete and utter nonsense.”</p> <p>Want to try separate rooms? Broach the subject in a loving, non-judgmental way when it isn’t bedtime.</p> <p>“It really is about saying that sleeping separately isn’t a withdrawal of the self, that you’ll kiss and cuddle and when you say goodnight, rather than turning to the other side of the bed, you’ll go to the other room,” Stanley says.</p> <p>“People get sent to the back room or the couch as if it’s a punishment. But you say, ‘I want a good night’s sleep, so I’m going to sleep in the back room, but it’s going to be my room. It’s not going to be a punishment.’ If you do it in a loving way and you remain intimate, it works.”</p> <p><strong>6. Watch what you ingest</strong></p> <p>What you eat and drink in the evening can affect sleep quality.</p> <p>A heavy meal right before bedtime can cause stomach acid to rise into your oesophagus, which we know as heartburn, especially if you consume spicy foods, tomato-based products or chocolate.</p> <p>The burning, painful symptoms of heartburn may keep you from falling asleep or may wake you.</p> <p>Chronic heartburn may be a sign of gastro-oesophegeal reflux disease (GORD), which can cause serious problems over time.</p> <p>Lying down after eating may exacerbate GORD, says gastroenterologist Dr Gary Falk, a professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.</p> <p>“With lying down and going to sleep, one loses the defences of gravity, saliva and swallowing.”</p> <p>To minimise reflux, stop eating at least two to three hours before bedtime.</p> <p>To keep gravity working in your favour, elevate the head of your bed, says Dr Joseph Ojile, medical director of the Clayton Sleep Institute.</p> <p>Alcohol can also cause reflux, but there are other reasons to avoid drinking late in the evening.</p> <p>Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you’ll have to pee soon after imbibing.</p> <p>And some drinks are worse than others.</p> <p>“Beer has an effect of stimulating urine production,” Van Kerrebroeck says.</p> <p><strong>7. Chill out</strong></p> <p>People sleep best when the bedroom is about 18°C, according to research.</p> <p>Your temperature naturally drops as bedtime approaches, so keeping your bedroom cool helps your body adjust itself more efficiently.</p> <p>“Warmth is a signal to the brain to stay awake for many people,” says Ojile.</p> <p>“Throughout the night when it’s hot, you have this constant stimulation, which is wake-promoting. And there’s a tactile issue, too – some people have trouble sleeping if there are no sheets or comforters on them.”</p> <p><strong>Try keeping your thermostat at a cool temperature year-round.</strong></p> <p>If your partner likes it warmer than you do, consider products that can keep you cooler than your bedmate, such as a gel pillow cover or a temperature-controlled heating–cooling pad that fits over only your half of the bed.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Susannah Bradley</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/7-surprising-ways-get-more-sleep?items_per_page=All"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/7-surprising-ways-get-more-sleep?items_per_page=All">.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"><em>here's our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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Living with Parkinson’s Disease

<p>Before anything else happened, Beverly Lavender lost her sense of smell. It was a sign of changes in her neurons, though she didn’t know it at the time. It was only four years later, in 2004, that Lavender, then a 44-year-old fashion designer, began to notice a slight tremor in her right hand and headed to her doctor. While the neurologist to whom she was referred ordered blood tests and an MRI to eliminate other possibilities, he quickly zeroed in on Parkinson’s disease. “I felt like I’d been punched in the chest,” recalls Lavender.</p> <p>Six years ago, Steve Van Vlaenderen, now 66, realised that the middle finger on his right hand kept twitching. His GP thought he might have nerve damage or carpal tunnel syndrome, but after the tremors spread to his forearm, Van Vlaenderen asked to see a neurologist. When he received a Parkinson’s diagnosis, he took it calmly at first. “I’d confirmed what I had, which is what I wanted to do,” he says. “But after I left the doctor’s office, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was going to change everything.”</p> <p>Lavender and Van Vlaenderen are just two of the seven to ten million people worldwide who are living with Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s.</p> <p>With Parkinson’s disease, simple things most of us do without thinking – pulling change from a pocket, scribbling a note, going for a walk – can become difficult and eventually impossible. The source of the problem is in the brain. Cells in the substantia nigra region slowly die off, and with them much of the ability to produce the chemical dopamine, which relays messages from the brain to the muscles. Without enough of it, messages don’t get through easily, or at all.</p> <p>The most common and best known of the disease’s possible symptoms – shaking, stiffness, impaired balance and slow movement – affect the motor skills. However, due to the range of ways the damaged neurons influence body and mind, Parkinson’s can also give rise to problems known as its ‘non-motor symptoms’. According to Dr Ron Postuma, an associate professor of neurology at McGill University in Montreal, these run the gamut from sleep disorders and constipation to double vision.</p> <p>The tremors that convinced both Lavender and Van Vlaenderen to seek med­ical advice appear in approximately 70% of people with Parkinson’s – but that phenomenon can be present in other illnesses. To be certain of the diagnosis, a neurologist will typically run a series of motor-skill tests. They might look for signs that a person can tap his thumb against his index finger, tap his heel against the floor, perform various hand and arm movements – all at a rapid pace.</p> <p>Although the symptoms can appear in people as young as their 30s, the average age at diagnosis is around 65, with men at somewhat greater risk than women. In most cases, there is no family history.</p> <p>Van Vlaenderen noticed shifts in his mood at about the same time the shakiness in his hand began. These changes were subtle at first, but over the two-and-a-half years following his diagnosis, they gradually turned into anxiety attacks and a depressive crisis. Parkinson’s disease targets areas of the brain that influence mood, which is partly why one-third of patients experience anxiety and depression. “I was in a black hole and couldn’t seem to find a way out,” he says. Even now that his mood has stabilised, he rarely feels elated. “Compared to that,” he says, “the tremors and motor-skill problems are easier to handle, at least for me.”</p> <p>Lavender has struggled with depression, as well. “I recommend that anyone who experiences this problem seeks assistance,” she says. “Antidepressants helped me, and it’s also good to have a therapist.” For Lavender, perhaps the most valuable step was joining a support group. “We’d often ask each other, ‘Have you noticed this symptom or that one?’ It’s nice to feel like you’re not the only one.”</p> <p>When it comes to medications, the gold standard for treating Parkinson’s is levodopa, a drug that is converted to dopamine in the body. But, says Professor Leslie J. Findley, chairman of the UK’s National Tremor Foundation, “We know that over three to five years, problems with levodopa can arise.” Those issues include dyskinesia – involuntary movements that can be, as Findley says, “quite excessive”. At the same time, people on levodopa might become stiff as the drug wears off before the next scheduled dose.</p> <p>Often, doctors will start people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s on one of two other classes of drugs: so-called dopamine agonists, which mimic the effects of dopamine; and MAO-B (monoamine oxidase) inhibit­ors, which slow the breakdown of dopamine in the brain.</p> <p>Potential side effects can be significant, however. Dopamine agonists, MAO-B inhibitors and, to an extent, levodopa are associated with lessened impulse control, making those taking them more prone to risky behaviours, such as gambling.</p> <p>Treatment isn’t entirely pharmaceutical. One of the best ways to battle Parkinson’s symptoms is with physic­al activity, either self-guided (yoga, swimming, walking) or under a physiotherapist’s supervision.</p> <p>In 2013, side effects such as extreme weight gain and debilitating fatigue convinced Van Vlaenderen to stop taking MAO-B inhibitors. Although he may eventually need medication, for the past two years he’s been relying on robust physical activity to keep his symptoms to a minimum. He remembers the night he decided to take control of the disease. “Any kind of change was better than continuing with my life the way I was,” he says. “The next day, I started going to the gym.”</p> <p>Five times a week, Van Vlaenderen sweats through a two-hour cross-training routine that works a lot of his core muscles – strengthening them helps counteract the effect of Parkinson’s on his balance. Not only has he grown fit enough to bench-press 110 kg, he’s also seen huge psychological improvements. “Lots of things require greater effort with Parkinson’s, so it’s tempting to not do anything,” he says. “But I feel a lot better when I make a deliberate decision to stay act­ive.” Besides working out, he’s been running a storage and records-­management business, dictating emails to his smartphone or typing them with his left hand because his right is no longer up to the task.</p> <p>For her part, Lavender was able to work full-time for 11 years after her diagnosis, thanks partly to positive effects from levodopa, as well as e­xercises such as tai chi and yoga. Only recently has her fatigue progressed to the point where she decided to retire. But she continues with hobbies like painting and knitting, both which slow down the disease’s toll on her hands’ motor abilities.</p> <p>The progression of Parkinson’s varies from person to person. “About ten per cent of patients have a tremor, usually in one hand,” says Findley, noting that this might be their sole symptom for a decade or more. “At the other end of the spectrum are patients who, within five years, have reached the mid-stage.”</p> <p>Early challenges might include stiffness, muscle discomfort or a loss of facial expression. “Sometimes I worry how people perceive me because of my relative lack of body language,” Van Vlaenderen says. “I can appear uninterested when I’m not.” However, he laughs, this can work to his advantage when playing poker.</p> <p>In the mid-stage, people might experience balance problems, “freezing” in place, tiny handwriting and softening of the speaking voice. And in severe, late-stage Parkinson’s disease, drugs no longer help ease the symptoms. The problem isn’t just that the brain cells that produce dopamine die off; those that utilise dopamine also die off – and they can’t be replaced. As a result, says Findley, a person with Parkinson’s might need drugs more frequently and might also have periods of being unable to move.</p> <p>If and when levodopa is no longer effective, another treatment option is a procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which electrodes are implanted in the brain to produce electrical impulses that help regulate abnormal brain signals.</p> <p>DBS isn’t a silver bullet: the degree to which it eases symptoms varies – it doesn’t generally improve those that don’t respond to levodopa. There is a small risk of infection, so candidates need to be selected carefully – they are usually people who are no longer responding in a helpful, predictable way to levodopa or who are experiencing debilitating dyskinesia as a result. Meanwhile, medical researchers worldwide are looking into less invasive ways to deal with levodopa-responsiveness issues, such as delivering the medication continuously via a skin patch.</p> <p>While Parkinson’s disease is a life-altering ailment, it may not significantly shorten life expectancy if well managed, says Findley. He advises his patients: “Try in the early stages to lose any ‘invalid’ reaction and instead push yourself to be active. Staying active and positive appear to be among the secrets to living as well as possible with Parkinson’s.”</p> <p>At all stages, people coping with the disease are encouraged to eat a balanced diet, manage stress and basically do as much as they can for their general wellbeing. Says Lavender, “The healthier you are, the better you can deal with Parkinson’s, physically and emotionally.”</p> <p><em>Written by</em><em> Anita Bartholomew and Samantha Rideout. This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/nervous-system/Living-With-Parkinsons">Reader’s Digest.</a> </em><em>For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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The Maldives: The ultimate retirement holiday

<p>The Maldives. It’s a country the world associates with paradise: the polished white sand, the overwater villas and probably most of all, the shallow, is-it-Photoshopped, turquoise waters.</p> <p>Well I can tell you this first off – it isn’t Photoshopped. Amazingly, the water really is that colour. It looks just like it does in the photographs, but better, because you’re actually there.</p> <p>The first resort in the Maldives opened relatively recently, in 1972.<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.soneva.com/soneva-fushi/" target="_blank"><span>Soneva Fushi</span></a><span> </span>was opened by Sonu Shivdasani and Eva Malmström Shivdasani in 1995, and now the group has<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.soneva.com/soneva-jani/" target="_blank"><span>Soneva Jani</span></a><span> </span>and a two-bedroomed yacht,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.soneva.com/soneva-in-aqua/" target="_blank"><span>Soneva In Aqua</span></a>. Because I’m a glutton, I decided to try out all three. This, ladies and gents, might just be the ultimate retirement holiday.</p> <p>It’s pouring with rain when I land at Soneva Jani (this is the tropics after all), but once I’m in my over-water villa it’s hard to care. My room has its own, private 12-metre pool, outdoor and indoor bathrooms, an upstairs deck for stargazing, and glass flooring areas dotted throughout, so you can watch the fish swim about below.</p> <p>In the morning I climb down a ladder straight into the Indian ocean and swim through crystalline water over reefs teaming with fish. I wander around the barely touched island (Soneva is all about sustainability – they desalinate their water, recycle their glass, are carbon-neutral and they like to leave things looking as natural as possible). At night, movies are shown at their outdoor cinema, with a screen poking out of the azure waters, and big, comfy daybeds to recline on.</p> <p>Picked up by speedboat, I take the bumpy 1.5 hour trip to another perfect tropical island: the group’s oldest property, Soneva Fushi. Again, I can’t help gushing over the room (the Maldives is really all about the room and its immediate surrounds, because that’s where you spend most of your time).</p> <p>It’s huge and thatched in the traditional way, with three living rooms (two outside, one inside), a plunge pool and the ocean accessed through a private pathway just a few metres away. But the best bit is the bathroom, which is the size of my unit in Sydney (seriously) and all outdoors. The shower sees you walking on raised paving suspended over your own miniature lake – again, seriously – to a rain shower set within the palms.</p> <p>You certainly won’t go hungry. I eat my weight in fresh sashimi and local king crab claws grilled in front of my eyes at a Japanese barbecue; and they have complimentary cheese, ice-cream and chocolate rooms at each resort – God help your cholesterol.</p> <p>Because the Maldives is a desert island destination and each resort is an island, there isn’t much to do – or actually, anything to do – outside of your resort. It’s basically a sunbake/eat/drink/swim sort of place. If you need some action though, Fushi and Jani both offer activities like snorkelling with a marine biologist (highly recommended) and stand-up paddle-boarding. Definitely go canoeing in a traditional, wooden, Maldivian canoe – it’s easier than it looks, as long as you stay in the shallows.</p> <p>To complete my trip, I hop on Soneva in Aqua, the resorts’ custom-built yacht, for a night. Captain Aaron takes me out to a secluded island where we spot reef sharks playing with giant stingrays and watch a tropical storm roll in over the empty horizon. I snorkel on a remote sandbank, swimming past turtles, octopi and every single fish from Finding Nemo. I dine on coconut-rich Maldivian tuna curry mopped up with roti on the deck (you can even help catch the fish off the back of the boat if you like) and drink fresh watermelon juice while watching the sunset from my dolphin net, hanging over the side of the boat.</p> <p>Everything I need is taken care of thanks to my own personal butler at each property. It’s so fancy it’s almost a bit insane to be living it – but if not for your retirement, when would you?</p> <p>What travel destination is on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by Freya Herring. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/the-maldives-the-ultimate-retirement-holiday.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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How to set a travel budget during retirement

<p>Travelling in retirement can be an exciting and luring prospect for many. Taking the long exploration trips you’ve always dreamed about, visiting family and friends you may not have had the pleasure of seeing during your working years and trotting the globe are some of the endless options when your golden years are on the horizon.</p> <p>But before you map out your trip schedule, taking a close look at your travel budget is essential and setting an overall cost from beforehand is crucial for your financial plan.</p> <p>Here are three strategies to implement when mapping out a plan for travelling on a budget and making your retirement dollars go as far as they can.</p> <p><strong>1. Think through travel destinations</strong></p> <p>There might be several states and countries you’ve been wanting to visit, and it can be helpful to write down a list and figure out which ones you’d prefer to see first. Research the destinations online and get that travel bug under control so you can think realistically before you set off.</p> <p>Talking to others in the full phase of their golden years to hear what trips they have taken is recommended. While you may want to tour new places, you also most likely want to give a little extra TLC to your children or grandchildren who don’t live in your area. Look at upcoming graduations, weddings, reunions and other special events you don’t want to miss and set it on your calendar if they require travel.</p> <p><strong>2. What is the total cost? </strong></p> <p>You’re starting to get an idea of where you want to go, and now is the time to start checking prices and figuring out the cost of the places you want to see.</p> <p>If you’re planning a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before, try to figure out as many details as possible to get a good understanding of costs. Thinking through everything you want to do each day of your trip is essential so write it down and then figure out the cost of every single thing.</p> <p>Doing so helps you avoid overlooking the expenses you might not have considered, such as a taxi ride from the airport or tickets to a museum.</p> <p>To make your trips a little easier on your pockets, take advantage of your flexibility in retirement and consider looking for destinations in “off seasons.”</p> <p>Scheduling a trip during the off seasons can lead to cheaper airline and hotel fares, as well as cost saving excursions.</p> <p><strong>3. Know that preferences change</strong></p> <p>What may have been an alluring place to travel for a week or two may not be something you are interested in anymore. Not only do travel budgets change over time, but so do your preferences regarding destination spots or certain trips. Some years you may want to travel and others you may want to be close to ageing relatives. Keep in mind that plans can change, and your retirement is flexible. Take your time in considering and re-establishing how you want to spend your golden years.</p> <p>What are some of your travel budgeting tips in retirement? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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104-year-old woman fulfils her wish to get arrested

<p>A 104-year-old woman just had her biggest wish fulfilled – to be arrested by the police.</p> <p>For the International Day of Happiness, English woman Anne Brokenbrow ticked off her bucket list wish of being placed under arrest by the authorities last Friday.</p> <p>The elderly had put in her wish as part of the Bristol Wishing Washing Line initiative. “My wish is... to be arrested,” Brokenbrow’s request read. “I am 104 and I have never been on the wrong side of the law.”</p> <p>With the help of UK charity Alive Activities, the Avon and Somerset police team granted Brokenbrow’s wish.</p> <p>The elderly was handcuffed at her residence, the Stokeleigh Care Home, and charged with “being a good citizen”.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Faliveactivities%2Fposts%2F2019093208169291&amp;width=500" width="500" height="617" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Faliveactivities%2Fvideos%2F2333549470249801%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="464" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Brokenbrow was then taken to a waiting police vehicle. According to the charity, when asked if she wanted the sirens on, Brokenbrow responded, “Yes please!”</p> <p>After the mock arrest, she posed for a picture wearing a police hat.</p> <p>“It’s something that normally never happens, isn’t it?” the centenarian said. “Now we’ve shown ‘em.”</p> <p>According to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/auhome/index.html" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>, Brokenbrow worked as a secretary before she retired.</p> <p>Kelly Lewis, the activities coordinator at Brokenbrow’s residential home said the elder’s wish was surprising at first. “She’s really fun, she’s got a really good sense of humour,” said Lewis.</p> <p>“We were surprised when she said it but thinking about it it’s actually quite in character for Anne.”</p>

Retirement Life

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Will you retire or re-fire?

<p>We are a new generation and are doing 50+ better than ever before. More interesting experiences, more health support, more power and control over our lives and most importantly much more fun. What are your dreams or aspirations?</p> <p>Here’s how to start your journey and make your dreams a reality just like Lynn Ruth Miller, 83, the worlds oldest female stand-up comic who says she started doing comedy when she was 71 (because she didn’t want to peak too soon).</p> <p>“If you love what you are doing then why stop? Until you can’t do it anymore. Until you are not as efficient as you should be. And the trick is recognising that,” says this effervescent fire-cracker. </p> <p>She adds with a cheeky smile, “Attitude is everything, right?! I got my attitude from my mother which is why I’ve been in therapy for 75 years.”</p> <p>Not letting anything get in the way of her dreams, Lynn’s happy philosophy is; “Life is like a card game. You take the hand you get and you play it.”</p> <p>So, what is next for Lynn? “My dream right now is to tour the world and show people that I’m still an item and that they can be too. My bucket list is huge. I want to go throughout the continent. I want to go throughout the world and I want to make people laugh.”</p> <p>She adds with an enigmatic smile, “I’m not here to tell people what to dream. I’m here to open the door so that they can find their own dream.”</p> <p>It really is time to think about ourselves and retirement differently and open the door to your own dreams.</p> <p>Some people automatically think of retirement as being all about what you stop doing rather than what you start doing. Perhaps the word ‘retirement’ itself has become an oxymoron.</p> <p>A thesaurus will tell you that ‘retire’ means to give up, stop, step down, retreat and withdraw. The reality is that more and more Australians are discovering that their 50+ years are all about advancing, joining, arriving, starting and increasing. There has never been more choice. What is the right choice for you? Will you choose to work part-time? Finally start your own small business? Travel the world? Or perfect your golf game?</p> <p><strong>1. Retirement really is being redefined</strong></p> <p>Life 50+ is a celebration of freedom, an opportunity to launch into new ventures and a chance to break the stereotype that you are destined only to spend your days reclined in a rocking chair.</p> <p>Let’s face it; as a society we are living longer than ever. By the time you reach 65, if you are a male you can expect an average 20 years of life still to come and for females it’s over 22 years. Of course, these are averages, not maximums. That’s way too long to simply put your feet up!</p> <p>What’s more, healthcare advancements are now empowering us to enjoy and engage with life, not just survive it. The options for living life after work have never been better either, so now is the time to design your retirement and make the rest of your life the best of your life.</p> <p>Retirement really is the perfect time to do the things you have always wanted to do, but have never had the time. It is the time to follow your dreams big or small.</p> <p><strong>2. Let’s lay the myths to rest</strong></p> <p>Society can sometimes impose stereotypes on what retirement should be – often these are misguided and outdated, so let’s tackle these myths head on.</p> <p>The first key to planning a successful retirement is realising that you won’t magically become a different person. You will still have the same knowledge, values, experiences, relationships and habits. What makes you happy now is the same as what makes you happy in retirement – it’s just that you will have more time to devote to it. Chances are that sitting idly and watching the grass grow will not be a part of this! Retirement can and should be an opportunity to amplify all the things that make life meaningful, enjoyable and fun.</p> <p><strong>3. Retirement is an opportunity to try new things and make the most of your new life chapter</strong></p> <p>Another important myth to dispel is that you don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations. If you have ever looked at a brochure about retirement, for example, you could be forgiven for thinking that all retirees do is travel. It seems to be the default image that marketers feed us about retirement and it can skew our view.</p> <p>While travel can be a very enjoyable activity in retirement, you are likely to spend a lot more time at home doing the things that you like and are familiar with. Once we grasp this fact it brings into focus the need to plan to make the most of every day and avoid taking a passive approach.</p> <p><strong>4. A great retirement starts with great planning</strong></p> <p>Planning is critical to maximising what you enjoy in retirement. It’s never too late to start planning, but the sooner you do it, the more beneficial it will be. Try not to wait until you are retired before you decide what you want to do.</p> <p>The things that make you happy now are likely to the things that make you happy in retirement too. Your family life, your social life, the pastimes you look forward to and the mental stimulation you enjoy; these are the things that should be at the centre of your planning.</p> <p><strong>5. Your finances are central</strong></p> <p>Having the time to do things and planning what you want to do are critical components, but organising your finances properly is essential to relieving you of stress and allowing you to focus on what’s important. Your super is a central this. Building a substantial nest egg before retirement can liberate you to create the ideal retirement lifestyle and structuring your income and capital spending in retirement can ensure your money lasts longer and bests serves the way you want to live.</p> <p>Like any part of retirement planning, you should act as soon as possible to get your financial planning organised for worry free retirement living. If you find this aspect overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help; a financial planner can help you create a plan that will match your retirement activities and needs and take the worry out of the future.</p> <p><strong>6. It’s your time to shine</strong></p> <p>There are no rules and no limits – your retirement is your time to shine and the possibilities and opportunities are endless. Forget the old stereotypes and ignore the nay Sayers; seize the chance to design a retirement that squeezes the very best from life. You deserve it and with the right planning you can achieve it.</p> <p>What’s your secret to a happier life or retirement? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/will-you-retire-or-re-fire.aspx">wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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How fast are you ageing? It depends on where you live

<p>At what age do you feel 65? A new study has revealed that Aussies are among the world’s slowest when it comes to developing age-related health problems.</p> <p>According to the review recently published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(19)30019-2/fulltext#%20" target="_blank"><em>The Lancet</em></a>, elders in New Zealand do not feel 65 – a global average commonly assumed as the beginning of old age – until they are 72.5 years old.</p> <p>Australians fare slightly better, holding off their 65-year health burdens until they are 73.6 years old.</p> <p>Switzerland has the world’s slowest decline rate, with Swiss elders retaining their healthy years until they are 76.1 years old. It is followed by Singapore and South Korea, which hit the 65-year mark for physical, mental, and cognitive impairments at the age of 76 and 75.1 respectively.</p> <p>On the other hand, Papua New Guinea is found to be the fastest ageing country in the world, as its citizens begin developing age-related health issues by the time they reach 46. Other poor performers include Vanuatu and Kiribati, where people begin experiencing the onsets of ageing at 52.2-year-old and 54.2-year-old respectively.</p> <p>The study uses global average 65-year-olds and their experience with 92 age-related diseases to identify the level in which different countries around the world are ageing. It is measured by the sum of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), or the number of lost healthy years.</p> <p>Switzerland as the slowest ageing country only has 104.9 DALYs per 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, New Zealand has 138 DALYs per thousand individuals, making it number 34 in the world.</p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mydr.com.au/healthy-living/how-fast-are-you-ageing" target="_blank">Norman Swan Medical Communications</a>, the pace of biological ageing could be slowed down with lifestyle changes. However, the study emphasised the importance of government intervention in addressing the issue.</p> <p>"Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller workforce, and higher health spending," said Dr Angela Chang, lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Health Trends and Forecasts at the University of Washington.</p> <p>"Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of ageing."</p>

Retirement Life

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The 5 tips to follow for a healthy retirement

<p>Perhaps you’re already knee deep in retirement, or maybe it’s just approaching you. These are the years you have waited long for and worked tirelessly towards, so you may as well enjoy it. However, there are factors we must consider other than the state of your bank account when we think about retirement.</p> <p>Be considerate of your health, and ways to maintain a balanced and active lifestyle mentally as it is extremely important during retirement.</p> <p>Try out these five tips to keep a healthy mindset so you may fully enjoy your golden years.</p> <p><strong>1. Think about your family situation</strong></p> <p>Think about how much time you realistically want to dedicate to your family. Do you have adult children nearby or grandchildren who you would like to spend time with? Looking for ways to reconnect and keep your mind active while in retirement is a far healthier way to spend your golden years.</p> <p><strong>2. Consider the dynamics of your home life</strong></p> <p>How will retirement impact your relationships at home? Are you the only one retiring? Is your partner a homemaker while you’re keen for an adventurous retirement? What expectations are expected to change once the dynamic between you and your partner change?</p> <p><strong>3. Diversify your social circle </strong></p> <p>As you age, the inevitable experience of losing your loved ones occur. As much as we may hate to expand our social circle after losing people who mean so much – it is important to develop friendships with people to maintain a healthy social life and get fresher perspectives.</p> <p><strong>4. Consider community activities and volunteer opportunities</strong></p> <p>If you’re unsure what to do while in retirement and have downtime between visiting family, friends and travelling, then look for things to do in your community. Libraries, religious organisations, community centres and charities are all places you can look to if you’re wanting to get involved and meet new people.</p> <p><strong>5. Is relocation on the books?</strong></p> <p>Life is, as we all know, extremely short. Is moving on from the community you have lived with for years and possibly decades, a decision you’d consider making for a fresher and newer lifestyle? With a little planning (beyond your finances) you can enjoy an active and engaging retirement that will keep you mentally and physically healthy for years to come.</p> <p>What are some of your healthy retirement tips? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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Why you should consider long term cruising

<p>We’ve all gotten to the last day of a trip and found ourselves saying “I wish this holiday would never end”. Well, for some people, it never does. The latest trend among senior travellers? Never-ending cruises. Some retirees spend decades cruising the world full time with no plans to call it quits.</p> <p>For some, being stuck on a cruise ship for the rest of their lives is some kind of nightmare. For others, it’s a dream come true. Think about it; you never have to make your own bed again, all your meals are taken care of, no doing the dishes, no mowing the lawn. Live entertainment, daily shows and onboard libraries ensure there’s never a dull moment.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest drawcard is cost. In many cases, it’s actually cheaper to retire onboard a cruise ship than on land. An investing site called Motley Fool found that budget cruises cost around $100 per day. When compared to the costs of assisted living facilities, they found that long term cruising would still save retirees several thousand dollars a year.</p> <p>Retiring on a cruise ship sounds very glamorous but would only be suitable for fit and healthy individuals. People with ongoing illnesses and ailments would not receive adequate care onboard.</p> <p>Now we’re not suggesting you cram all your belongings into a storage locker and head to your nearest cruise port immediately. But there are definitely perks to long term cruising. Here’s why you should consider it.</p> <p><strong>Exploring at a slower pace</strong></p> <p>More and more retirees are spending their savings on travelling the world – and we say go for it! But not everyone wants to do so by land. Cruising is a convenient, slower paced way for seniors to travel. No long-haul flights or lugging your bags around. On a cruise ship, you unpack once. It’s like visiting all seven continents without having to change hotel rooms.</p> <p><strong>All-inclusive living</strong></p> <p>The biggest perk of cruising is that it’s all-inclusive. No need to carry your wallet around – everything is included in the cost of your ticket. Well, almost everything. You’ll generally have to pay extra for your wine at dinner (unless you purchase a beverage package) and for any special shows that might be on.</p> <p><strong>Hallelujah for housekeeping</strong></p> <p>For those who hate household cleaning chores, long term cruising could be the answer to your prayers. The housekeeping staff will make your bed, cleans your room and fluff your pillow every day. You can even get someone to do your washing for you.</p> <p><strong>Rent out your home to fund your travels</strong></p> <p>If you’re lucky enough to be mortgage-free, you may want to rent out your house to cover the cost of your cruises. Rather than selling it entirely, a steady income from renters could mean you have a nice little nest egg to go home to if you decide the never-ending cruise life isn’t for you.</p> <p><strong>The drawbacks</strong></p> <p>Solo passengers will always pay more. The smallest cabins are twin share so those travelling solo will always have to pay a single supplement or cover the cost of two passengers.</p> <p>Another potential deal-breaker is the cost of insurance. You may need to negotiate a special health insurance policy to cover travelling full time.</p> <p>Speaking of health, special medical attention is minimal onboard. Cruise ships are required to have a medical centre onboard, but in the case of an emergency, you may be too far from a port to receive adequate medical treatment. Even day-to-day, you may require a level of care that isn’t available onboard.</p> <p><em>Written by Bethany Plint. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/why-you-should-consider-long-term-cruising/">MyDiscoveries.com.au.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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The do’s and don’ts for retirement investing in 2019

<p>When thinking of retirement, many people are not completely aware of what they should and should not do. Here are a few of our do’s and don’ts when investing for you retirement.</p> <p><strong>Do think long term</strong></p> <p>If you’re still working and investing for your retirement, then your time may be still 5-10 years away. If you plunge out of the stock market before the December plunge and then jump back in after the nasty period ends, it makes little difference over the long term.</p> <p><strong>Don’t think short term</strong></p> <p>News stories should not always require sudden re-evaluation of your portfolio. Stocks look forward, not backwards.</p> <p><strong>Do diversify</strong></p> <p>Your portfolio should look diverse and not one portfolio should exceed over five per cent of your total portfolio due to a lot of risk.</p> <p><strong>Don’t overemphasise small difference in returns</strong></p> <p>It says nothing how one fund return will do in the years to come so don’t overthink a few percentage differences – these are not the be-all or end-all of your investment portfolio.</p> <p><strong>Do embrace mistakes</strong></p> <p>Your shortcomings or small mistakes (and even big ones) are learning opportunities and ignoring them sets you up for failure.</p> <p><strong>Don’t obsess</strong></p> <p>Don’t think too much about your best or worst performing stocks in a month, quarter or year – they usually cancel each other out. The total – broad middle – is what really matters.</p> <p>What are some of your retirement investing do’s and don’ts for this year? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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The unexpected risks you should prepare for in retirement

<p>When it comes to planning your retirement, it is natural we focus on the risks that we’re most aware of. However, most future retirees or those already in the midst of their golden years are not prepared for the risks they haven’t thought about already.</p> <p>Here are the risks that may not be at the top of your retirement planning but should still be on your radar.</p> <p><strong>Complacency risk </strong></p> <p>Perhaps your savings were depleted when you were younger and you have kept a relatively low budget ever since to make ends meet in your everyday life – or even decided to keep a tight budget when you were younger and haven’t raised it since.</p> <p>Perhaps it seems your retirement account balances appear to be growing nicely so you never made sure if you were actually on the way to building a comfortable nest egg.</p> <p>You have fallen for complacency risk. While you’re on the road to secure retirement, don’t lull yourself into a false sense of security. You may be short of your ideal savings for retirement and it is important to protect against the risk by giving yourself a retirement check up every 6-12 months.</p> <p>Look for a retirement income calculator and write in your information including your income, the current value of your retirement accounts, how much you’re putting into savings each year and the age you plan to retire. This tool helps you calculate the probability of you achieving your goals.</p> <p><strong>Emotional risk </strong></p> <p>Marketing extremes and the impulse to buy are more likely to affect our investing decisions. This could mean we get too excited in the moments when stocks are on the rise or pessimistic when the market is falling short from your expectations. However, either way, letting your emotions take sway as your investing strategy can result in real damage to your finances and your retirement prospects.</p> <p>Perhaps to combat the risk of emotional investing, set up an asset allocation strategy so it will increase your chance of riding out stocks through their ups and downs without having an adverse reaction to them.</p> <p>An asset allocation tool can help you come with an asset mix that suits you best – one that is risk-free.</p> <p><strong>Longevity risk </strong></p> <p>There is a possibility that perhaps you have underestimated how much longer you will live. This can result in an individual overspending during their retirement and being under-prepared when the unexpected comes to fruition.</p> <p>It is impossible to know when you’re going to reach the other side but being realistic with your spending and your retirement plan is crucial to a consistent lifestyle that doesn’t leave you looking for scraps near the end.</p> <p>Seek a professional or use an Actuaries Longevity Illustrator that estimates how much you should be saving while you’re working, and how much you can safely afford to spend during retirement. Although this won’t eliminate the risk of longevity – it will equip you much better, so you know how to deal with it if or when the time comes.</p> <p>How are you planning for retirement? Tell us in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life