Month: December 2010



Ceri Wheeldon ~ Founder of Fab after Fifty, a popular website for today’s fifty something woman, is not only a website offering women a reliable source for information, advice, connections and support, but it is one that is actively participating in the reshaping of society’s perceptions of the women it serves.  The woman over fifty today is not the woman over fifty of our parent’s generation.

Ceri Wheeldon, the founder and driving force behind, saw a need and set out to fill it. At the peak of a long and successful career as a headhunter, Ceri changed courses.

“It all started one day while I was sitting in an airport while waiting for my flight to be called. I was 49 at the time, and would have described myself as someone who was enjoying a full life. As I sat flipping through a magazine I stumbled upon a letter written to an advice columnist that caught my attention. The author of the letter, a woman in her fifties, described her life as dull and boring. She was despondent over being relegated to an arm chair, left only to look on and watch as her daughter happily lived the life that she herself once lived. The columnist’s response to this woman shocked me.  She should expect to slow down, was the advice. In essence, she was advised to start knitting and buy a rocking chair! It was also suggested that she visit ‘seniors’ websites where she might meet other people her age.

I could not imagine any of the vibrant midlife women that I knew being happy with such a response! In fact, I was so astounded that I went home and visited the ‘senior sites’ to see what they might have to offer this poor woman. Sadly, each one was as outdated as the next in their portrayal of women over fifty.   At that moment I knew I wanted to offer an alternative, to create a place where the women over fifty that I knew would look forward to visiting and where they could find real support, advice and inspiration.”

With the support of leading ‘experts’ in the fields of health, fitness, finance, career, style, anti-ageing, hair and make-up, Ceri has successfully put together a website that offers practical tips and information that address the interests and needs of the real fifty something woman. In addition, provides a platform for women to share their thoughts and ideas as they cobble together a new image of aging. She has created a community that invites the active, engaged members of the sandwich generation to learn, laugh, share, network, make new friends, inspire and be inspired.

Fab After Fifty has taken an active role in redefining our perceptions of what it means to be a woman over fifty in today’s world.  More active, healthier, fitter and vibrant than ever before, this generation of fifty something women is breaking new ground as they start new careers, delay retirement, travel, connect and make a difference in the world.

Women over fifty are far from considering themselves invisible or past their ‘view by’ date! Ceri Wheeldon is living proof of this. She is not sitting in a rocking chair, knitting and watching the world go by, she is actively making a difference in women’s lives everywhere.  Perceptions take time to change, but Fab After Fifty has already had an impact. “One of the nicest things that has happened to me since setting up FabafterFifty,” Ceri tells me, “was when a woman in her early forties told me that after visiting my website that she was no longer afraid of reaching fifty.” Naturally! Ceri makes being fifty look like a dream come true! Perhaps, partly because, for many fifty something women, it is.

A Gift for Mom

A Gift for Mom

Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

My mother lived to be ninety-seven years old. Born in 1911 she saw the world undergo enormous changes. She lived a life that was not without its problems, but always seemed to find a way to give to those in need. When she and my father sold the family home and moved into a retirement community it was an enormous change for her. She didn’t know what to make of apartment living after tending to her own home and gardens most of her life. She struggled to make it “home” and for the most part, she succeeded. When my Dad died a few years later, she was adrift. Disabled from a stroke in his mid-sixties, she had hovered over him and cared for him for twenty years. She was a caregiver by nature and I learned, first hand, most of the tricks of the trade.

For the next eight years, my mother struggled to make sense of her life, to understand what it was she was supposed to do with her time while she waited to die. At first she rallied the necessary support from her children to fulfill her bucket list. Then she turned her attentions toward her neighbors in need. She baked cookies, washed laundry, fetched mail and looked in on sick and dying friends. There came a day, however, when she could do this no longer. One by one she gave up her caretaking activities. It was her turn to be cared for, but it was a completely unfamiliar role and she fought it every step of the way. This made it difficult for her children.

As we age we are asked to change our idea of ourselves and our purpose, sometimes multiple times before we die. As our physical and mental capacities diminish placing limits on our accustomed activities, we must find new ways of understanding who and what we are. For many it is difficult to live without a purpose, or for those like my mother who played more or less the same role her entire life, impossible. Trying to comfort my mother by distracting her was the only thing we knew to do. It may have been the only thing we could do. After all, each of us must make peace with our own lives, no one else can do it for us. This is the job of the elderly. This is the purpose of the last years in life.

It is hard for the living to understand the dying process. It is almost impossible to plan in advance how we will respond. Watching from a loving distance, as our parents pass through this difficult life process is their last real and valuable gift to us. We have much to learn from them even or especially when they are dying. What we witness will inform how we will handle our own last days. It may inform how we live from that day forward. Walking with them, loving them, and allowing them to do whatever thrashing about they need to do as they wrestle with their living and their dying is our last gift to them.

Every Accomplishment Begins with the Decision to Try*

Every Accomplishment Begins with the Decision to Try*

Winter Scene by Peder Monsted

Too often fear stops us dead in our tracks. Too often we give in to negative thinking that takes our dreams and turns them into a hundred and one reasons why we really don’t want to do the thing we think about doing. I’m the queen of negative thinking and fear, so I know what I’m talking about.

Fear and lack of confidence come from a variety of childhood experiences that carry forward year after year, morphing and compounding so that even with the help of therapy it is easy to remain stuck. As our birthdays pile up and we see our days on this earth coming to an end we either feel the pressure of our dreams yet to be accomplished or give into despair. There really is no more time, or need, for therapy, thinking and trying to get the confidence to proceed.

Fortunately, living our dreams is still within our reach and easier than we think, because all we have to do is make the decision to try. Take the leap of faith. Just do it, one step at a time. There are no mistakes in life. There are only experiences from which we learn and move on. And every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.

* The title of this blog is taken from a quote from Neil Wood’s Optimist Island Daily Quotes on Facebook by an unknown source

SUE INGEBRETSON ~ Author of FibroWHYalgia

SUE INGEBRETSON ~ Author of FibroWHYalgia

Sue Ingebretson has been studying health issues, and fibromyalgia in particular, for fourteen years. Committed to helping others afflicted with chronic illness, she serves as the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at California State University, Fullerton. She has collaborated in an assortment of community education projects with local support groups and the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) to promote education and understanding of chronic illness.

She has written articles for the NFA’s online and print magazine, Fibromyalgia AWARE, which offers advice, research news, treatment options, and lifestyle tips for fibromyalgia patients. She lives in Anaheim, California, with her husband and her 9 ½ pound Sheltie, Foxy. Sue is available for speaking engagements.
Susan Ingebretson is a writer, speaker and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at California State University, Fullerton. Her book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from illness to wellness. Ingebretson’s writing has appeared in the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) online and print magazine, FibromyalgiaAware. Susan is also featured in the NFA’s Public Service Announcement, The Science Behind Fibromyalgia.

Connect with Sue

On Facebook

On Pinterest

On G+

On LinkedIn

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

Holly offers group coaching and one on one coaching/mentoring for families and caregivers living with dementia.

Her coaching programs are for those caregivers who are willing to make changes in their life because they believe that they can live a life with less effort. They want someone to listen to their needs and come up with a plan specific to their situation. They know in their heart they deserve to be happy and are committed to finding a way. It takes time and are willing to take the steps necessary to feel more joy and happiness in their life.

Who would benefit most from your programs in coaching and teaching?

Baby boomer caregivers – especially women, who still have children at home or who just left the nest. They are feeling isolated and overwhelmed with juggling work, house, finances, family, and themselves. They want more free time, more energy, and…balance in their life. They are tired of the emotional roller coaster and want to know how to manage their anger, resentment and sadness over the unexpected changes in their lives.

What is unique about your skills as a Dementia Caregiver’s Coach?

I am living a balanced life in the ‘trenches’ as a caregiver for my husband, Dave-diagnosed with dementia almost 4 years ago. Being a younger caregiver (baby boomer) I understand the added challenges of having children at home, and working full-time. I also understand what it feels like to have resentment over not having the life you expected in your ‘prime’ years; and to lay awake worrying about finances, wondering how you are going to pay for future care.

I have 56 years of life experiences as a daughter, sister, mother, friend, businesswoman, and health professional. For the past 2 decades I have been studying and integrating personal growth material- books, courses, CDs, life coach exercises–into my life. This work has helped me through the lowest point in my life 2 years ago. I have found the gifts of living with dementia, without denying the reality. I have reached a peaceful place as a caregiver where I am living with fewer struggles and more joy. I am actually having fun creating win-win situations.

Professionally, I have worked in the medical profession for 32 years. In 1981 I graduated with combined degrees in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. My passion is coaching, inspiring and empowering patients to find simple, practical solutions for their wellbeing: physically, emotionally and mentally.

In addition, I have a Bachelor of Physical Education degree and a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy. This has allowed me to travel around the world with the Canadian National athletes. Working with elite athletes, and being a competitive athlete myself, I know how important it is to have commitment, responsibility, patience and belief in self.

Finally, I walk the talk. I only teach the systems and tools that are working well for our family. My daughter Amy thinks our family was tight before, but even tighter now.



EILEEN BARISH ~ Travel Writer

EILEEN BARISH ~ Travel Writer

Eileen Barish is a multiple award-winning author and nationally known niche-travel expert. Eileen’s books have been reviewed by over 1500 publications. She is a contributing columnist to national magazines including GUEST INFORMANT, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER and NEWSWEEK and is a frequent guest on CNN and other networks. Eileen’s sage advice in her articles and books on unusual travel experiences has enriched the lives of hundred’s of thousands of her readers. Her current books are available at all major bookstores or by calling 1.800.638.3637 and include:

Lodging In Italy’s Monasteries

Lodging In France’s Monasteries

Lodging In Britain’s Monasteries

Lodging In Spain’s Monasteries

Best Spas USA

Vacationing With Your Pet

Doin’ California With Your Pooch

Doin’ Arizona With Your Pooch

Doin’ The Northwest With Your Pooch

Doin’ Texas With Your Pooch

Doin’ New York With Your Pooch.

Website: Eileen Barish’s Monastery Lodging Blog

Twitter: @eileeneeo