Saturday, December 29, 2012

Boomers and Digestion

As we grow older, we often have more digestive issues.  Some stem from stress while others may have as the origin poor eating habits over a long period of time.  Sensitivity to food, burping, gas and distention are all symptomatic of gastrointestinal troubles, which sometimes may be curbed with exercise, healthy foods and positive thinking.

I recently realized that I was sensitive to gluten.  Having gone through years of digestive distress, someone suggested that I might benefit from a gluten-free diet.  I began that same day and the symptoms disappeared within a couple days.  I couldn’t believe it!  I had suffered for several years and neither my doctor nor anyone else ever mentioned that as a possibility.  When I asked my physician, he tested me for Celiac disease; fortunately, I didn’t have the disease.  I have been feeling so much better since I began the gluten-free diet that I will remain on it.

It’s difficult sometimes when I eat out at restaurants or other people’s homes, but I try to avoid foods that I suspect might have gluten.  In addition to breads, cereals, pastas, etc., gluten can be used as a binder, flavor enhancer and thickener.  If you are sensitive to gluten, be careful with foods that you wouldn’t ordinarily suspect as having wheat, or one of the other culprit grains, as an ingredient, such as gravy or processed foods.  I’m not sure how reliable the gluten-free claims are.  I recently purchased gluten-free cookie mix and had a digestive reaction when I ate the cookies. 

I have absolutely no medical knowledge regarding gluten; I’m simply reporting on my experience.  If you think you might have this problem, see your doctor.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Health becomes a major issue as we grow older.  Of course, we all want to be physically fit, and that’s a part of being healthy, but losing a few pounds takes a back seat to the more important issue of healthy vital organs.  Keeping the heart healthy, kidneys functioning, lungs clear, intestines working well, and swollen ankles at bay become paramount to our well-being.  Maintain a healthy attitude with positive thinking and positive action.  Although we may have various maladies associated with growing older, that’s no reason to succumb to the notion that we are over-the-hill.  Get up and get out!  You will probably notice that many symptoms disappear when you become engaged in meaningful activities.

Don’t wait for your doctor to tell you to exercise and eat healthily.  Tune in to your body.  Some things are just common sense.  For example, if certain foods cause you discomfort, stop eating them instead of gorging on them and then taking a pill to offset the damage you’ve done.  The increase in obesity in this country is evidence of the old adage, “We dig our graves with our forks.”  Of course, there are medical conditions that no amount of exercise or healthy eating will cure, but many of our concerns can be abated with eating as healthily as we can.  That’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Another good idea is to drink more water than soft drinks.  The controversy over the risks of drinking soft drinks is not over; however, a recent New York Times* article cited an analysis of research results, while not definitive, show a correlation between daily consumption of soft drinks and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.  Why risk it?  Cut back on soft drinks.





Thursday, August 2, 2012

Aches and Pains

            The older I become, the more aches and pains I have on a more frequent basis.  The bone spur in my hip reminds me of my age when I lift more than a few pounds or when I sit for too long on a soft sofa or chair.   When I was much younger, my sister-in-law said, “You can’t run to the doctor for every ache and pain.”  Now I understand what she means.  Whenever I tell my doctor about my aching joints in fingers, ankles, knees and on and on, he tells me it’s arthritis and moves on quickly to the next question I have, and I usually have quite a few.  I make a list before I go so I won’t forget anything. 
            Arthritis pain never goes away completely.  I manage it with exercise, healthy foods, and pain killers.  Various meds may dull the pain, but it’s a constant reminder of age-related maladies.  That’s why I begin each day with a 2-mile walk and always stretch afterwards.  If I’m stiff when I awaken, the exercise gets the blood circulating and I feel much better.  I have also noticed that the joints in my hands and ankles are less painful when I cut back on salt and sugar.  

            Now that it’s summer, I’d like to work in the yard, preparing and planting new flower beds and maintaining the older ones, but I know I’ll pay for it big time.  Keeping the patio plants watered, fed and dead-headed allow me to still feel like I’m gardening.  When I’ve completed those tasks, I sit on the patio with a book and a cold drink and enjoy the fruits of previous labor.  Come to think of it, that’s not so bad.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Many baby boomers are divorced, widowed or never married.  With the advent of online dating sites and social media, single men and women boomers are finding love in all the right places.  When love comes at our age, it comes with a lifetime of baggage from both partners.   Commingling two different personalities is bound to cause clashes at times, but we all want love and companionship as we go into our golden years.  Relationships are often based on emotions, and when those fiery emotions wear off after marriage, conflicts can arise.

Several points help marriages survive, whether you’ve been married for years or whether you’re newly married.  The first one, communication, requires exchange.  You need to listen, as well as talk, in order to truly communicate.  Let your spouse know what you’re feeling.  Don’t bottle up anger and resentment. 

Don’t expect your spouse to complete you.  Replace any selfishness and insecurity left over from previous relationships with gratitude, appreciation and patience.  There’s a degree of sacrifice inherent in anything worthwhile; marriage is no different.

Treat your spouse well and expect to be treated well in return.  The purpose of marriage is for companionship and procreation.  At our age procreation is off the table, so commit to being a loving, intimate companion, facing any obstacles or challenges that arise together, as some surely will.  There may be issues with blended families, physical or mental deterioration, financial crises, the list goes on and on.  Meet your partner’s needs with an attitude of love and a willingness to accept and tolerate minor faults and imperfections.  Each partner is unique and has his own ideas, so it is natural to have different opinions.

Enjoy the golden years!

Saturday, May 19, 2012



According to Census projections, the over 85 age group is expected to more than double by 2035.  By that time those of us who are 65+ will be in that category.  We’ll be the ones in need of social services that our parents have today.  The pressures and challenges associated with elder care are numerous.  What will we do?  How many of us have prepared adequately?  How adequate is adequate?  Will we want to move from our homes into managed care facilities or into our children's homes?  Will we be willing to give up our independence?  Will we even be able to afford to grow old?

Getting older is difficult, and I must admit I fear the unknown.   Regardless of the plans we make and the directives we put in place, in the end, it all comes down to loss of choices.  If we live long enough and have debilitating physical or mental conditions, we lose the ability to control our lives, and that’s a terrible thing to lose.

When I think about elderly people who, at the end, lose their capacity to enjoy life, I cry.  It’s not easy to look into vacant eyes and watch joyless facades going through each day just waiting for it all to be over.  Of course, there are many exceptions to this grim scenario, but I’ve seen enough cases to know this is true.  When our minds or bodies fail us, is there no other place to go except into mindless oblivion?  Can we hold on to joy, peace and love, even in our failed mental and physical states?  Does dementia make us more of who we really are?

Issues surrounding aging are complex and I have a lot of questions, but the alternative to growing older is dying younger.   There are no easy answers, so I live by the belief that a positive attitude goes a long way toward warding off mental and physical disabilities.   My advice to myself, and to others, is to get up,   get out and get busy.  Learn something new; renew acquaintances; turn off the television; find joy in simplicity.  This quote from Henry David Thoreau is appropriate for us all:

“When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do Women Find Retirement More Fulfilling than Men?

I read and hear about people who retire and soon afterwards return to work.  Mostly they seem to be men, which begs the question, “Do men find retirement less fulfilling than women?” 

The Bank of Montreal conducted a survey in January 2012 in which they found that women may adapt better to retirement because they are more able to cope with the transition from work to retirement.  According to the article, women have nurtured families and friendships through the years and have that as a replacement for the work place, whereas men are usually more closely tied to their jobs and don’t have the same support system. (1)  The unique challenges that women face, such as longer life spans, intermittent work histories resulting in smaller pensions and reduction of income due to widowhood or divorce, may give us a different perspective on how we appreciate retirement.   

Personally, I love retirement.  I get up when I choose, plan my day the way I want and feel more relaxed than ever before.  It’s been seven years and I still pinch myself.  All of my friends are retired, so we plan activities together during the time other people are at work.  When we first retired, we continued to plan activities on the weekend until we realized we didn’t have to wait.  Every day was the weekend!!!!  What a revelation that was.

We plan excursions mid-week when rates are lower and route our outings to coincide with desirable traffic patterns.  I have time for reading, writing, and gardening.  Whenever I can get my extended family together at one time, I plan family dinners and spend time with my grandchildren.  I’ve met new people in book club, scrabble group and dance and exercises classes.  This is a most wonderful time of my life, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself.

1.      BMO Retirement Institute Report Survey; Harris Decima; January 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Making Retirement Years Count

Welcome to my blog.  As women over the age of 50, we have concerns and anxieties that we didn’t have in our 30s.  There are lots of books and articles about baby boomers, both on- and off- line, and they probably all have interesting information that’s useful, but there’s never too much of a good thing.  Right?

We have embarked upon the second half of our lives.  It’s up to us to chart our course through this transformation mine field.  How we handle the myriad issues that affect us – health, finance, spouses, children, parents, retirement – will help determine the passion and joy we experience during this phase of our lives. 
Those of us who have retired look for ways to be fulfilled and valued.  We want to make the next chapter count.  Retirement allows us to reflect on our plans for the rest of our lives.  I like to think the best is yet to come.  To get the juices flowing, you might want to try a few of these.

Things to Do

Spend time with family
Treat yourself to a massage
Write a novel
Join a discussion group Go to the beach
Visit friends
Drive in the country
Find or create a relaxing place to read
Go camping
Research ancestors
Work on family tree
Lunch with friends
Visit different libraries
Attend a Zumba class
Sign up for a line-dance class
Become active in church
Read “classics”
Start scrabble, chess, card, etc. club
Throw a dinner party
Attend a Bible study group
Take a bus tour
Go on a picnic
Plan a picnic in your backyard
Visit local tourist sites
Scour flea markets
Ride public transportation for fun
Work puzzles (Sudoku, Kenken, crossword, etc.)
Attend live theatre (check out matinees)
Visit museums
Join a new club or group
Learn a foreign language
Write fairytales for grandchildren
Read historical books
Visit towns within 50 mile radius
Go downtown
Visit historic downtowns
Play/learn games you don’t know
Attend speaker’s symposium
Research places on your cruise route