Tag: retirement

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

GOING GYPSY or How to Escape Old Age & Survive

I have followied Veronica and David James of Gypsynester fame since they first flew the empty nest and ventured into the world of life ongypsynester the road. I admired there chutzpah and their sense of humor, not to mention their upbeat outlook on life. It was a breath of fresh air. Life seem more than hard from where I sat and I was curious to see how tossing all one’s cares away would all play out. A very big part of me was wishing I was doing the same thing! I so wanted to escape old age!

Back then, when boomers everywhere were trying to figure out the next phase of life, the internet created an opportunity for us to be privy to some really awesome adventures, and courageous folks telling their stories in vivid detail. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to read David and Veronica’s blogs along the way, you’ll love their new book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. Humor always prevails in their world and they both have the gift of the story teller. It’s a delightful, page turning adventure complete with pictures.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. Then scurry on over to their website and sign on for further adventures. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All

by David and Veronica James

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

FOLLOW David and Veronica on Twitter and Facebook. 

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DO YOU HAVE THE TRAVEL BUG?

You’ll enjoy learning about Carefree RV Resorts

 

Carefree RV Resorts – An Affordable Vacation

Carefree RV Resorts – An Affordable Vacation

Thank you Carefree Resorts for sponsoring today’s post and giving me the opportunity to talk about your new lifestyle program in CA, TX, and FL! 

I was more than excited to discover Carefree RV Resorts and their new Carefree lifestyle program when they contacted me to participate in this campaign. I don’t accept every offer I receive. In fact, I accept very few, but this one hit a nerve. My husband and I have talked endlessly about traveling one day. We don’t have high expectations or long for expensive overseas adventures, we just want to spend some serious time exploring our own beautiful country at ground level. Taking to the road with a small RV trailing behind seems like nirvana. Carefree RV Resorts are both affordable and appealing.

Carefree Resorts

Carefree RV Resorts are not your cookie cutter RV Parks. They’re customer focused and each resort has a unique flavor tied to the local community and nearby attractions.  Enjoy creek fishing at Florida’s Homosassa River RV Resort and Shell Creek RV Resort or live it up in at the luxurious 5-star Horseshoe Cove RV Resort with its private island park and lighted fishing pier. For us, a vacation on the ocean at one of Carefree’s seaside parks sounds like a slice of heaven, such as Pelican in the Florida Keys or Campers Haven on the Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts.

No matter which park you choose, the Carefree lifestyle program provides plenty of activities, amenities and opportunities for learning, social involvement and an active lifestyle.  Opportunities to learn something new are available at each resort, like how to use your new iPad, or learn to play the guitar. If you love meeting new people, community opportunities are abundant.

Carefree RV Resort Daytoa Beach Walking The Dog-78ff8a30

Carefree Resorts just launched the Carefree Lifestyle Program designed especially for active seniors, which is why they came to me to spread the word. It sounds amazing. A complete new line up of activities, classes, events and clubs, there’s something for everyone. Back in the day when we were hard at work all we wanted to do on vacation was sleep and read a book. Now, we’re looking for a little more action and involvement. We’re eager to learn new things, meet new people while still enjoying some downtown away from our routine at home.

Carefree Lifestyle

Carefree Communities has over 21,000 sites at 79 properties across North America, and they’re still growing. While the majority of the communities are located in Florida, Carefree also has properties in Ontario, Canada, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Arizona. In addition to their RV parks, they have manufactured homes to rent or purchase. If you vacation with your children or grandchildren you will enjoy their locations that are family centered.

Experience Carefree Resorts yourself by taking advantage of their “Start Your Journey with a Passport to Savings” offer, stay 3 nights and get one free! We plan to, and I’ll let you know all about our experience after we do.

Carefree Communities

Carefree offers fun and engaging events, such as Carefree’s Got Talent in Lakeland Florida, that is held every March. Each park in Florida has the opportunity to participate and the winner of the talent show wins $250 and a ticket to the finale show for the chance to win $5,000. A free event, it includes lunch and drinks. Leading up to the event they raise money for Disabled American Veterans, collecting over 15K this year and hoping to reach 25K in donations!

 

Improving Home Safety and Ease of Mobility – Aging In Place

Improving Home Safety and Ease of Mobility – Aging In Place

Tips For The Accessible Home

By Patricia Moore 

aging in place
A ramp improves mobility and safety.

Accessibility to a home–both indoors and out — is important to help people of all ages maintain independence while ensuring safety and security.  Simple changes and upgrades to a home can help loved ones stay in their homes and familiar environments longer.

The best indoor flooring options for more secure mobility

  • Flooring can help mobility. Wood and ceramic tile floors are much easier to walk on than thickly padded carpet.
  • Safe flooring features, including low or no thresholds (use a beveled strip for heights of 1/4 inch or more), nonslip and non-glare surfaces such as cork flooring, and low-pile carpets or rugs should be considered.
  • The first floor needs an accessible bedroom, bath, kitchen, living area, and laundry room with 42-inch-wide hallways and a minimum of 32-inch-wide doorways. Swing-clear hinges can be installed to widen openings.

How to “illuminate” the interior of the home to provide maximum-layered lighting with minimal effort

  • Task lighting is important for brightening workspaces. Exterior walkways, porches, halls, and stairs also should be well lighted.
  • Lighting features should include dimmers located 18 to 48 inches from the floor.
  • Lamps, recessed ceiling lights and wall sconces can also direct more light.

Increasing the safety features in bathrooms, one of the leading areas of the home for falls or accidents.

  • Thoughtful changes go a long way toward making bathrooms safer and accessible.
  • Many bath products today are functional and stylish. For example, grab bars now have multiple uses – they may double as a towel rack and provide the security of a grab bar.
  • A zero-threshold shower with a built-in transfer seat aids those with mobility concerns.
  • Add non-slip bathmats to help avoid falls and scald-control faucets to protect against burns.
  • A handheld, adjustable showerhead with a side bar makes the configuration more flexible.
  • An ADA-compliant toilet (chair height) with side transfer space is easily used by those with mobility concerns.
  • Wall-mount sink that works with a chair or wheelchair
  • A vanity with open cabinetry underneath can be used by anyone.
  • Textured floor tile with a 5 PEI rating is more durable and slip resistant.

Innovative, do-it-yourself access ramps that make home access “more accessible”

  • The most important aspect of home accessibility is being able to safely enter and exit your home.
  • The designers at Lowe’s created a truly innovative, do-it-yourself ramp system that is simple AND attractive, which can be tailored to fit the exact needs and style of your family and home – right down to the type of lumber used, the railings and accessories. You can even create your ramp to fit a right-hand turn if you need it. Go to www.lowes.com/ramps for more info.

Ideas for landscaping and gardening, one of the most enjoyable and therapeutic activities for all ages

  • Once your ramp is in place and accessibility needs are secured, add personality and customization to the space by tackling a few home gardening projects.
  • Landscaping around the ramp will not only make the ramp a stylish accessory to your home’s exterior, but is also an enjoyable hobby for everyone.
  • Know your body’s weak points and focus on getting the best tools to save that body part first.  Gardening tools sold as “ergonomic” are only good if they fit YOU.
  • Tools such as hoes and rakes should have long enough handles so you can stand upright to use them.
  • Tools should be well-balanced and as lightweight as possible.
  • They should be easy to use, have wide handles, and a padded or thick grip.
  • Keep tools sharp and in good shape. Sharp spades and trowels reduce the amount of effort needed to dig.  Use a metal file or whetstone to sharpen the.

More info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCTGv9dtuvs

 

Gerontologist and Designer Patricia Moore

 

Patricia Moore, world renowned Gerontologist and Designer, is well known and respected for her work traveling throughout the United States disguised as an elderly woman. Pattie’s mission and experiment was to determine how elders were, and are, viewed in society and provide them with solutions to help them manage common obstacles many of us don’t understand. She was named by ID Magazine as one of The 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world.

 

MONEY – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CLOSET

MONEY – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CLOSET

money issues
Elephant In The Room Painting by Leah Saulnier

Women, particularly women over fifty, have an uneasy relationship with money. We experience guilt or shame whether we have more than enough or not enough. To make matters worse, we don’t like to talk about these feelings.

I am a perfect example of this dynamic. For as long as I can remember I have said “I don’t care about money. It’s not important. Higher values took precedence. I’ve since learned that this is a fine philosophy if you have enough to meet your needs, and if you understand what enough is.

My relationship with money has been volatile at best over the years.  My husband and I started life together with meager but sufficient means. We both worked good jobs and managed to purchase a starter home. We began our family in a place of self-sufficiency.

Like most newlyweds, we watched our pennies. We worked hard and we believed we would be successful. The America Dream would happen for our family. As a product of the 60’s, I deeply questioned this dream. Its subtle influences, however, were programmed into my thinking. As a result, I lived in a different sort of conflict.

OUR FIRST FINANCIAL CRISIS

Our first serious financial stress began when I decided I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom. I did not doubt for a minute that this was what I was to do, for the sake of my children. Willing to sacrifice my career and monetary gain to spend these precious years with my children, I would give them something money can never buy. I remember being embarrassed to say I was a stay at home Mom. Even as I was committed to the process, I felt out-of-place and out of step with the world at large. I was what you might call a conflicted idealist, but my actions followed my heart.

My husband made the appropriate decisions to advance his career and he accepted a job that plunked our family of four into a military region of the country at the time of Desert Storm. Before we had even seeded the front yard of our newly built home, he lost his job. When the troops left, so did the need for employees. There was no work in the area, for either of us except low paying jobs. I worked three retail jobs and he took over the care of the children while he searched for employment. We hung on in this way as long as we could. A week away from foreclosure, we put our house on the market and sold it at a loss. We walked away empty-handed and brokenhearted. Somehow things had gone terribly wrong.

SHAME AND HOPELESSNESS SETTLE IN

I know what it’s like to go from having a sense of financial control over one’s life to overwhelming debt. I know the feelings of shame and hopelessness that flourishes in a person who has to stand in line for food stamps and then hand them over to the clerk at the checkout counter. It was mortifying. We were educated, capable people, but the wound to our self-esteem made it harder and harder to see ourselves as redeemable.

As individuals, our struggles with our “fiscal identity” is unique and multi-faceted.  Exploring this issue, in order to remedy it, requires that we go deeper than we like to go. It’s not comfortable, but it’s worth it. Taking the risk to talk about our relationship with money, whether it be with a friend, mentor, or therapist, is the first step in coming out from the shadows of shame.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown

OWNING OUR STORY ABOUT MONEY

As we begin to tell our story, letting out the hurt, the shame, the fear, we will begin to recognize our hidden beliefs, the ones that keep us locked in our suffering. We will see more clearly how we sabotage our efforts to reach a place of financial comfort internally and externally. Separating what’s true for us from what’s true for our culture will enable us to align our actions with our deepest beliefs and do so without fear of judgement.

The economic pressures that have become more common in recent years is no lightweight matter. It may just be the pressure we need to begin a thorough self-examination of our attitudes and underlying beliefs. My experience described above did that for me.

I have deep compassion for those experiencing financial misfortune for the first time. It took me years to come to terms with the humiliation I felt during those years and long after. My husband and I did not talk about our plight. We did not ask for help. At that time, financial misfortune was tied to irresponsibility, laziness, and stupidity.  Only the lowest of the low declared bankruptcy.  Culturally, it’s more acceptable now, but personally it is often still a nightmare.

LESSONS LEARNED

I learned many valuable lessons during that time in my life. For instance, I learned that using cloth napkins, emptying and reusing vacuum bags, shopping yard sales for everything from clothes to household necessities made it possible for us to pay the bills and put food on the table for $300 a week. I learned about the pain of not being able to give my children even the simplest gift on their Christmas List and how to make it exciting and happy for them anyway. We all learned, our children included, to make do with the barest necessities. I learned to live without waste and to enjoy the simplest things in life. It took me much longer to learn to live without want in a world of abundance.

Many women now entering their fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties are facing a financial future without retirement, without health insurance, without savings, without a sense of confidence in Social Security or our financial and political institutions, and without confidence in their ability to improve the monetary status. From the very beginning, I have used this website and my social media connections to support small businesses owned by women. Authors, artists, crafters, coaches, and all who make the world a better place deserve our support.

Many women sell products and services online to help make ends meet. All are artists, of one sort or another, committed to their craft and committed to following their purpose in life whether it be to paint a canvas or teach about doing taxes when you are self-employed. The world needs what we have to offer. Let’s open our arms, our minds and our pocket books to one another and support each other financially as well as emotionally. Let’s not assume that everyone else has more than we do. They do not. Let’s also accept that there is enough for everyone and everyone deserves enough. Above all else, let’s open our hearts to one another, and most especially ourselves, without judgement.

Perfectionism and Aging

Perfectionism and Aging

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you insane your whole life.”   ~ Anne Lamott

Figuring out who we are and what we are supposed to be doing is a lifelong process…an ever-changing progression of near hits and misses.  I have lived much of my life under the illusion that one day I would “arrive” and find myself comfortable and at peace with the person I have become. I believed that if I worked diligently to uncover the truth about life, about my gifts, about who I really am and who I was born to be, then I would know what to do in order to live in peace and die without regret.

Suffice it to say I am a bit of an idealist, and like all things, this propensity has it’s good points and it’s bad. The up side is that my idealism propels me to keep searching and working to reach the goal of authenticity. I can’t seem to give up trying no matter how many times life knocks me down or another ugly truth rears its head. The down side is also that I keep trying, keeping reaching, keep striving for something more, something better, something “more me”…like the ideal in my head. Not going to happen.

Sadly, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one on this endless and often exhausting journey.  Everywhere I look, women who are facing the aging process are either trying to do the impossible…live forever…or putting their head in the sand. They pick up the pace with their exercise, diet, weight loss, supplements, medications and face lifts in a frantic effort to stop the clock.  Others run away from their mortality by throwing caution to the wind. They throw out their clothes, their husbands, their jobs, their homes and head for the mountains, the seas, and the Far East. If they go far enough away from what they were maybe they’ll be someone else entirely, someone who can live forever. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with either approach and sometimes it’s exactly what needs to happen, but often it’s just a postponement of the inevitability of facing oneself and staring down the demons that keep us from inner peace.

We each have to choose our own way of dealing with the aging process. There is no right or wrong answer. There are a couple of things, however, that might be worth considering.  First, it is helpful to remember that our ideals are only a guide, our beacon in the night sky, not our must-achieve-destination. If we allow ourselves to become caught up in obtaining our ideal we may begin to believe that we actually can and we will be  destined to fail. In the process, we will miss all the good-enough along the way.

Secondly, if are only looking outside of ourselves for direction, we will again miss the mark. All  of the answers to life’s mysteries can be found inside ourselves, our body, mind and souls. They will never be found in the world, in another person, in our job, our home, our family, our career, our religious beliefs, our education, our achievements and accolades. The externals do have value in that they are fodder for our soul, mirrors that reflect our inner truth if and when we care to look.  If we use them as such, they will serve us well.

Aging authentically is not easier or more difficult than striving for authenticity at any other time of life. What is different is that we are gradually growing into an acute awareness that time is running out. We also, however, have a whole lot more information about ourselves and the world than we had at any other time in our lives. We also always have truth and beauty within our reach. Though life will sometimes cast doubt on our ideals, we must continue to hold them up as what they are…a beacon of light in the dark.