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Friday, February 28, 2014

A Retirement Readiness Questionaire

A Retirement Readiness Questionnaire[1]

Take some time to think about the following questions and what your  answers tell you about your thoughts on retirement.  The less the number of thoughts, the less you may be prepared.
1.   Why are you thinking about retirement now ?  (You get one point if you think that some one who knows you well considers your answer good and clear.

2.   Do you want to retire? (One point if yes)

3. Have you attended a retirement preparation program or seminar focused on financial planning? (One point if yes}

4. Have you attended a retirement preparation program or seminar focused on social planning? (E.G community activities and interpersonal endeavors   (One point if yes)

5.   How would your finances be if you retired now? (One point if good or better)

6. Have your developed any outside interests , hobbies, volunteer activities or areas of new learning? (One point if yea)

7.   Have you planned new activities where you would interact with people on a regular basis? (One point if yes)

8.   What do your family and friends say about your retiring? (One point if they think you are doing the right thing)

9.  Have you considered whether you want a complete or partial retirement ?  In other words, have you considered  part-time or temporary work, or even a less than fulli-time  business venture?  Emphases here are on consideration. (One point if yes even if you choose not to go this route,}

10. During retirement, will the process of making at least a moderate contribution helping out in volunteer or other activities be sufficient for you, or do you feel you need to make and immediate major difference in what you do?  (One point if yes to the first part of the question or to the second part if you feel you have lined up an activity where you can make an immediate major contribution.

11.  What is important and fulfilling to you? How do your retirement plans relate to your thinking here? ( One point if someone who is  reliable and knows you feels you give a straight answer and considers your answer good and clear)

12. What is it that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life?  How do your retirement plans relate to your thinking here? (One point if someone who is reliable and knows you, feels you give a straight answer and considers your answer Good and Clear)

Scoring--What is your Retirement Readiness Quotient?

Ø    12    points:  You’re in position for great retirement

Ø    10-11 points: You’re retirement will likely be highly satisfying.  

Ø    8-9 points:  You’re retirement could have some problems that                                     are likely fixable.

Ø    6-7 points:  You could be challenged by ambivalent  feelings                                      about retirement, requiring solid effort  to bring                                          your situation up a notch.

Ø    3-5 points:  You are potentially in a trouble zone with your                                            retirement now working well short of the major                                           effort to get it back on track.

Ø    0-2 points: You are in jeopardy of having an unfulfilling                                                retirement, requiring an all out effort to have                                              things  work out to your liking

[1] This questionnaire was developed and is part of my Retirement workshop

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Types of Ageism From Palmore

Types of Ageism [1]

Negative Stereotypes:

  1. Illness:  A lot of people, almost half, believe that poor health is a bad problem for people older that 65.  In fact  “ Most elders, about 78% of those 65+) are healthy enough to engage k  in healthy activities.
  2. Impotency: Stereotypes hold that most seniors “no longer have any sexual activity. However research shows that most elders say that “…sex after 60 was as satisfying or more satisfying than when younger.”
  3. Ugliness: “Beauty is usually associated with youth, and many people, especially women, fear loss of their beauty as they age. The fact is “While our culture tends to associate old age with ugliness, and youth with beauty other cultures admire the characteristics of old age. For example in Japan silver hair and wrinkles are often admired as signs of wisdom, maturity and long years of service.”
  4. Mental Decline: “Another common stereotype is that mental abilities begin to decline from middle age onward especially abilities to learn and remember. For example “ You can’t teach and old dog new tricks”  In fact most of the differences between younger and older persons can be explained by factors other than age (illness, motivation, learning style, lack of practice, amount of education.
  5. Mental Illness:  Some people believe that the majority of people over 65 have some mental illness severe enough to impair their abilities.  In fact “…only about 2 percent of persons 65 or older Uare hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of psychiatric illness
  6. Uselessness: “Because of these beliefs that the majority of old people are disabled by physical or mental illness many people conclude that the elderly are unable to continue working and those who do continue are unproductive.

There are three more points in this section. I suggest you get Palmore’s book for a lot more information and a total of 15 chapters.

[1] Erdman Palmore Ageism: Positive and Negative: Volume 25 in the series on Adulthood and Aging

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Senior's Problem

Responding to Seniors’ Needs

Let’s say you know an older person and they come to you for advice.  The following three statements are examples of their needs. How would you respond to their feelings?

Statement 1
“I’m all by myself. My partner died and left me alone. I don’t like to go out. I watch TV but it’s boring.”

Statement 2
“I used to enjoy woodworking so much, but my hands are too shaky now and my eyes are getting worse.

Statement 3
"I hate doing all those things I have done for years. I am sick of it all.”   It isn’t what it used to be.”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Looking Forward Each Day to Retirement Activities

1.   Did I look forward each day to retirement activities?
  Not really.  When I was first considering retirement, Mandatory Retirement was still in place and I became part of a struggle against it.   Most of my adult life I have been a university professor and I had a great deal of freedom in what I did and how I did it.  For the last several years I have been exploring creativity in both painting and poetry and, of course, I am continuing to do research,    

2.   Have I  been able to accomplish the retirement goals I  established for myself?
Going to my blogspot Art with Wrinkles will show you much of my creativity, which I have always valued.

3.   Have I been able to take initiative in planning activity with my              friends?
 This is a question that is more concerning.  Most of my contacts with friends, and family, are on the internet.  That has become more frequent because I have a lot more time on my hands and spend more time at home.
4.   Have I broadened my understanding capabilities and experience?
 My teaching and research always were in the area of psychology. I think that one of the most important things I have developed much further is the importance of staying in the “here and now.”  Life travels on; one day at a time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Your Mind Needs a Good Run Too

Your Mind Needs a Good Run Too[1]

“ Rigorous physical exercise will help keep your body in great shape.  Equally important is mental exercise to keep your mind in great shape. Your mind as much as your body, regularly needs a good run too, If you want it to serve you well in your retirement years.  Of course, in addition to keeping your brain in shape for the future, it will keep you from getting bored in the future.”

The history of my life during late teens and early twenties is one of physical sports activities; wrestling and playing football; first in secondary high school and then in university.

Now I am 73 years old and have several things that I do that hopefully will keep me in gear.  In regards to shear physicality, around 10 AM, in my neighborhood every morning, I walk fast, or jog, for about 45 minutes. I also have hour-long fast walks when I visit my sons in Vancouver.

 In addition, while walking, when I’m alone, I practice staying in the “here and now” by chanting meditation and deep breathing.  I do watch TV but it’s not a substitute for a journey in the neighborhood. 

.  I do practice mental activity by playing Big Fish “Time Management Games” on my laptop computer.  Computer playing certainly keeps me going and making decisions relevant to those on my long career ( I was a University Professor). THANKS Big Fish!!!

[1]  Material gathered from Ernie J. Zeilnski  How to retire Happy, Wild and Free 
ISBN 0-9694194-5-7

Monday, February 17, 2014

Five Key Risks to Retirement Income Planning

Five key risks to retirement income planning

1. Longevity:  The risk of outliving your savings

We are leading longer and healthier lives, which means twe need to plan for a retirement lasting 20 or 30 years or even longer.  Retirees need investment portfolios capable of keeping up with inflation. 
Even if the modest 2% inflation average of the past 20 years continues, it could erode the purchasing power of retirement income by 40% over a 25-year retirement.
2. Asset allocation: The potential for rising consumer prices to erode purchasing power. 
The 2008–2009 crisis heightened anxiety about the stock market. But historically equities have provided long-term growth that is critical to a retirement plan. A diversified portfolio that includes stocks, bonds and cash helps provide growth and protection against market volatility. This needs to be personalized. There is not one route that works for everyone.

3. Withdrawal rate:  The risk of withdrawing too much from savings and running out of money.

4. Annual inflation-adjusted withdrawals of more than 4–5% of the original value of their portfolio at retirement run the risk of running out of money.

5. Health care: The very real chance that a future illness or disability may impact your savings.

We want to live longer and we want to remain healthy. We also realize that health issues and aging increase the likelihood that at some point we may have an acute or chronic health problem.
There is a need to understand what health care costs are and are not covered by government health care programs, and what their own needs could be, and plan accordingly.
Increase in Aging Demographics and Decreases in Registered Pensions means the individual is more responsible to plan for retirement above the government pensions available.
A written retirement income plan can ease the distress by being mindful of strategies to deal 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Retirement Workshop

If anybody's interested let me Know
Retirement Workshop Opening Presentation
1)  Emotional and Psychological adjustment    
      a. Lifestyle planning        
      b. Emotional and Logical challenges        
2) Why lifestyle planning is important
      a.  Increasing life expectancy (current figures)
              i.         Males               84 years +
             ii.          Females           86 years +
      b. Three questions:  After Retirement:
               I.     What will I look like?
              ii.      What will I be?
             iii.      What will I feel like?
      c. If negative, what would you need to change to                                           it to positive?
3)  Stereotypes about retirement:   
 a)  Positive: Make a note if you agree
     ___ Most people over 65 are ‘Very friendly and warm.”
     ___ Greater years of experience bring greater wisdom
      ___ Elder people are more dependable.
    ___ The aged are well off financially
     ___ The political power of seniors makes them a                 political force
     ___ Most elders are free to do what they want, when they    want, any way they want.

 b)   Negative: make a note if you agree
      ____ Most seniors no longer have sexual acivity or sexual desire.
      ____ Most old people are ugly.
      ____ You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
      ____ Most older persons are “senile”. Mental illness is         common.
      ____Older people are incapable of working effectively and          those who continue are unproductive.
     _____Most elders are poor
     _____Most older people are “grouchy”, “touchy,” “cranky”         and  “feel sorry for themselves”

4)  Realities
      a) Most retired persons are as busy as they were before          retirement
       b) Life satisfaction continues to increase if you have modest             finances, reasonable health and contacts with others.
       c) A positive view of aging can create a positive self-fulfilling     prophecy.

5) Leisure Time Factors:
       a) Is there a conflict with your work ethic?
       b) Learning new interests and finding old ways of    pursuing old favorites is an important way of keeping an    active mind and imagination.
       c) Planning for future leisure
       d) Practical limitations health, age, transportation, finances
       e) Needs for beauty solitude, companionship, helping others,              recognition, physical exercise, leadership & learning.

Leisure Inventory: How are These Needs being met?
6) Needs we seek to satisfy
      Self esteem____
      Creative expression____
      Mental stimulation____

 7)  Activity
        While still working  _______
        Retirement Activity _______

To Move or Not to Move
   8) New versus known area _____________
        1. Factors to be considered:      
               Spouse’s health ___________
               Social connections __________
               Talking to other retirees in the area  ________

    9) Housing Inventory:
a.What past housing have you liked best  _______
b.What did different houses have in common? _______
         c.Housing factors you prefer____

   10) How well do your preferences match those of your spouse

Relationship with Spouse
    11)  Spending time together _______
    12)  Both Employed?  ______
    13)  If so have you coordinated retirement schedules____

Stress Management
Changing from being outer directed toward family, job, organization and community, to making own plans, an schedules to being inner directed.  Being accepted for yourself rather than a title or place in an organization. Stress may arise by unfamiliarity of the new game.
   14) How do you fight stress:
     Relaxation techniques ______
     Good Nutrition _____

Post Retirement Goals
       A major point is that our sense of well-being depends on how we experience and evaluate our lives as we develop.        
Development works in both positive and negative ways. As we will have both gains (growth) and losses (decline) in areas of how we function.
       One of the key factors for for maintaining health and well being is how much control we have over our lives and the opportunities we have for social engagement, community participation and social support
       As we grow older we can slow down the process of mental decline by engaging in cognitively demanding activities that exercise the mind. Here are some suggestions:

       1. Examine your personal goals for your life and arrange        them goals in order of importance

       2. Be prepared to reorganize your goals to some degree        during retirement.

       3. Being active in a reorganizing your life-style will help you        looked forward to retirement, and increase your satisfaction       

         4. You will also need to establish a new set of community          activities criteria. For example, do you feel that retired          persons have a responsibility to improve our          neighborhood? Much of our success in postretirement          volunteering is connected with how we see ourselves and          what we feel we can contribute:

·      What can you bring to the table after years of work
·      Experience?
·      What kinds of unique experiences can you share with the          wider community?
·      How can we help make things better?
There are many opportunities listed on the Internet for
successful adjustment to Retirement is connected with:

ü   Good health
ü   A successful marriage
ü   Solid social network
ü   Good Coping skills  and yes while it’s not just about the money
ü   Level of income and
ü   Occupational status

In summary, Our ability to successfully age is determined to a great extent by our attitudes toward aging and growing old. These attitudes both negative and positive will be a result of how effectively we are able to adapt to the physical, psychological and social changes that take place throughout adulthood.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Transportation Problem

Carl, an 82-year-old, retired company manager is slowly recovering from a fall that left his hip badly bruised. He finds it difficult to walk without the aid of a “walker”. In addition, he has problems with mid stage prostate cancer.  Recently, while driving, he hit the curb and flattened one of his rear tires. He drove home with a flat tire because he wanted to hide the accident.  Next month he must take a drivers test to see if you can still drive properly.  He is determined to drive as long as he can and feels that it is part of his role as man of the family.

At home he as several times fallen off the couch and not been able to get up without help from his 76-year-old wife Helen.   Helen can’t drive and is dependent on Carl to drive her to do house needs such as shopping.  While she is frightened about Carl’s driving, she can’t see any other options.  She has come to you for advice.  What would you advise?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Inner Me

The Inner Me[1]

First of all, I strongly recommend other seniors to get this book. It is very useful in helping us understand our life in latter years which she says is important,”.. If only partially correct, for it is the image that sustains us through the years of possible indignity and  non-caring. Incidentally Naomi is just over 80 years old. Now what is the chapter all about?

We have two options we either live or die.  “Aging cannot be avoided. You will become, whether you like it or not, pushed to the end of the crowd. Unless we have a lot of money we are not considered very important.  However, “ if you inner image is still running along with you, as your shadow accompanies you on your outer edge, you will float through it all assured that you still have value.”   This post so far is a very small section of the book.

Some of my self-ideas are:  “It is what it is”, “I am who I am.” And the most important time is “The here and Now.  As I have indicated in an earlier post.  One of the key factors that help me stay this way is my continued exploration of meditation.  Also inside me with my tinnitus I can listen to my own heart beat.   “Me is we” is another piece of my inner me.  This helps me accept my various selves without being attached to any particular one.

Some times devilish thoughts arise and I look at them. This leads to my understanding of my personality as expressed by Sigmund Freud. He understood our personality to have three factors the Id Ego and Super Ego.  The Id represents the animal part of our brain that does not give a damn what anybody ought to do. The Super Ego encourages us to do what’s right and the ego is basically what gets us though the day.

Finally, I have people from all over the world who visit my blog. I would be interesting to know what you think.

[1] Naomi Beth Wakend, The Roller-Coaster Ride: Thoughts on Aging  ISBN 978-894987-64-6