I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Nelson Mandela over the past several days. Since he died last Friday (December 6, 2013), I’ve considered especially the moral courage he demonstrated during his 95 years as well as his ability to work with and lead others even as he aged into his elder (and elder, elder) years — times when most people think about quitting work.
Two interesting quotes from Bill Keller’s extensive New York Times Nelson Mandela obituary remind me that just like any other elder, he took steps to ensure his stamina and condition, attending to physical challenges of aging — while at the exact time he assumed extraordinary leadership responsibilities. Continue reading →
The other day when I picked up a copy ofFindings, the alumni magazine of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, I discovered that the entire fall 2013 issue focuses on how to age well and improve old age. My husband is a Michigan alumnus, but the magazine is freely available as an easily downloadable and easy-to-read PDF file. The magazine is filled with information about retirement, aging, changes to expect, and ideas to make retirement fulfilling — useful for adult children and their aging parents.
This issue’s theme, A Better Old Age, addresses a range of topics including 15 Ideas for a Better Old Age, an article that examines future changes in the world of aging, and a special Guide to Thriving filled with interesting tips. In another article author Nicholas Delbanco shares thoughts on Lastingness: The Art of Old Age — his 2011 book that examines artists who live long and productive lives into advanced elderhood. And 95-year-old retired but still active Michigan professor Robert Kahn discusses his principles of aging well, taken from his 1998 book Successful Aging. In another feature, To Retire or Not, Michigan School of Public Health professors who have retired share some of their thoughts about their new lives. Continue reading →
When we offer any kind of support to aging parents, we learn quite a bit about Social Security along the way. One thing we discover is information about the various retirement ages that qualify for benefit payments. If other adult children are anything like me, they begin to think about their retirement years ahead and just how Social Security fits into the picture.
Visit the Social Security website to learn more about benefits.
The New York Times Your Money column published an article that addresses just these issues. In The Payoff in Waiting to Collect Social Security, columnist Tara Siegel Bernard explains how Social Security payments work and how they increase from year to year if a person is able to put off collecting retirement benefits from the program for even a few years. The November 15, 2013, column describes a typical couple considering when to apply for Social Security benefits and how they might benefit from delaying payments if they can afford to do so, quoting experts from the Boston College (BC) Center for Retirement Research, which happens also to publish The Social Security Claiming Guide, a booklet that walks readers detail-by-detail through the steps that retirees need to consider when the start thinking about when to apply for payments.
I’ve been thinking about starting a small business, and apparently I’m not alone!
The article, by reporters Franco Ordonez and Casey Conley of McClatchy Newspapers, points out that, “… the 78 million boomers – born from 1946 to 1964 – have always broken the mold in terms of setting trends, and some investors and business and community leaders see their retirement as no different.”
While plenty of leaders and policy makers are moaning and groaning about the potential strain on the economy as boomers begin to use government benefits, few or these leaders seem to take into consideration the fact that boomers are working longer and in general reinventing themselves as well as the important parts of their lives — while the generation moves along. The article also points out that many venture capitalists are now asking new start-ups if they have developed an “over-fifty” plan for their businesses. Many seniors, as they retire, are even developing small businesses.
“It’s only in Washington that 100 million people are viewed as an unaffordable cost and financial burden,” said Jody Holtzman, a senior vice president at AARP. “In the private sector, 100 million people are called a market and an opportunity.”
Money is a big, big issue in retirement. While I am several years from my retirement, I think about my plans carefully, wondering almost daily what else I can to ensure my security.
Managing finances for some of our aging parents is a challenge.
And the older people get the bigger an issue it becomes, especially when individuals lack assets, substantial home equity, savings, etc. and still require around the clock care. If you haven’t read A Bittersweet Season, by Jane Gross, you should get a copy, just to learn about all the issues she encountered and attempted to solve during the last year of her mother’s life.
Another thoughtful post appeared over at the Life With Father blog. In his April 25th post, Money, Chuck writes about the challenges of managing his father’s finances — his father is in a nursing home — while money slowly runs out.
Sometimes at my church in late October we sing the hymn, For All the Saints. At that service we remember the many dedicated and committed people who have died over the course of the year. For me, this service is always a time to think about long time members, most of them elders and many the age of my parents, who have accomplished much and made the world and community — not just our church — a better place.
This celebration of All Saints’ Day makes me think about getting older, how much life I have left to live (quite a few years, I hope), and whether, when the time comes and my life ends, I will look back and feel like I have lived my life with service to others.
My church is celebrating its centennial year, and right now it’s mid-May, not October. I just enjoyed another opportunity to listen and ponder the well-lived lives of elders (age-wise, not in the church governing sense), some departed, but a good many still alive and active. So many of these people, contributing time and talent, ensured during the first 75 years, that the church would endure for generations, making is possible for the rest of us to celebrate this 100th year. For three hours people shared stories and special memories about the history and lives lived in ways that affect change without rubbing their religion in the face of others. Though it was a long afternoon, hardly anyone left before the event ended.