Category Archives: Wellness

21 Unvarnished Truths About Retirement

Jonathan Look being “attacked” by baby elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand [Photo credit: Jonathan Look | lifepart2.com]

By Jonathan Look for Next Avenue

Six years ago, at 50, I took early retirement, sold almost everything I owned and began traveling the world. I had been living a good life but longed for something more. My passions have always been travel, photography and writing, so I decided to take a calculated risk and create a new life on “the road less traveled.”

Hunter S. Thompson said it better than I ever could: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” I am fortunate to have done many extraordinary things since I retired, but none of them would have happened had I not dared to take a few tentative first steps and begin to live differently. read more

What We Can Still Learn From Mister Rogers as Adults

6 gems from the late, great PBS star [Photo credit: PBS PressRoom]

By Shayla Stern for Next Avenue

Hi neighbor.

You cannot say those words, even many years since Fred Rogers last created new TV shows, without knowing that they’re from Fred Rogers. That gentle voice with the slight drawl soothed even the most restless spirits.

I remember coming home from preschool and having my babysitter turn on Channel 12 – my local PBS channel – to calm me before “rest time.” But it doesn’t matter if you were a child in the decades that Mister Rogers was on TV. Rogers, who died in 2003, created nearly 900 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood — and in the process, cultivated life lessons to last the rest of our lives. And so much of his wisdom applies to us in our many stages of adulthood. read more

5 lessons from the oldest old

Photo cedit: Adobe Stock

By Robert DiGiacomo

New York Times reporter John Leland thought he knew how to write about the “oldest old” — people 85 and up. For a proposed year-long series, he figured he would chronicle a laundry list of their issues: things like the dangers of falling, financial pressures and family conflict.

As Leland delved deeper, however, he realized the people in this age group were more than the sum of their problems. And he saw how much he didn’t know about the realities of aging. The resulting “85 & Up” series took a more holistic view of their lives. “I thought aging was about decline and loss,” he told Next Avenue. “I found the problems, but none of the people defined themselves by that.” read more

Tell Your Doctor What’s on Your Bucket List

It’ll help direct your health where you want it to go. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Grace Birnstengel for Next Avenue

Your doctor can’t read your mind. A doctor assumes everyone wants to live and continue to live the best, healthiest, happiest life possible — but that means something different for everyone. If your doctor knows about your long-term goals and “bucket list” items, however, that can be used to direct your health plan and goals.

Dr. VJ Periyakoil, an internist, geriatrician and palliative care professional at Stanford Health Care wrote a piece for the New York Times about how she regularly asks her patients about their bucket lists. read more

One Surprising Way Older Adults Can Get Healthier

You know about the obvious things. Now try this. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Dr. Ann Hwang for Next Avenue

Whether or not we actually do the right things to improve our health, many of us probably assume we know what they are. Walk more. Quit smoking. Eat healthier.

It’s a familiar list, and a good one. As a primary care doctor, I spend plenty of time counseling people to do exactly these things. But here’s another, less familiar thing I think you should consider: get engaged in your community.

The Benefits of Connection

Civic engagement may not be on the top of everyone’s to-do list, but it probably should be. There is intriguing evidence to suggest that people who are engaged in their communities — through activities like participating in local organizations or volunteering — could also have better health. read more

7 Reasons Why You Should Travel

Reap the benefits of health, happiness and gratitude on your next journey. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Wendy Sue Knecht for Next Avenue

Some people are just lucky — they’re born with it. I’m not talking about good looks or money. I’m talking about wanderlust …. that something inside of you that just makes you want to go places, explore and of course, wander.

My own wanderlust was cultivated at a young age. Although my family never took anything but road trips growing up, my father used to regale me with bedtime stories of Gee Gee Go-Go, a fictional character who traveled all over the world on his tricycle. It’s no surprise I became a Pan Am flight attendant! read more

The Power of Sharing Our Stories

Playing a game at an assisted living facility opened up connections [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Reyna Marder Gentin for Next Avenue

My friend runs an assisted living residence not far from where I live. When she called to say she had a mitzvah (a good deed) for me that was “right up my alley,” I was wary, to put it mildly. She explained that she was running an event where the residents would play a game encouraging them to share, open mic style, stories from their lives. My friend knows I write — essays, memoir pieces, a novel. I tell stories.

“Will you come?” she asked.

I wanted to say no. As my children will tell you, with the rare exception of a Shabbat round of Scrabble or Bananagrams, I don’t play games. Maybe I’m uptight, or just no fun, but games are not my thing. The idea of helping to facilitate an octogenarian quiz show was not high on my list. read more

When Your Best Friend Dies

How to grieve and minimize the feeling of loss (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Gary M. Stern for Next Avenue

Josh Koplovitz, an attorney based in Woodstock, N.Y., communicated with his best friend Lester Fensterheim nearly every day. They first met in 1999 and connected over their love of tennis. The two played tennis together and occasionally poker, socialized with their spouses and developed a strong bond. On Aug. 1, 2017, 74-year-old Fensterheim felt a pain in his face, suffered a minor stroke and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died three months later on Nov. 4.

Koplovitz misses Fensterheim terribly and feels a void over his death and the loss of their friendship. “I was drawn to Lester, and he was drawn to me and the friendship developed,” Koplovitz said. Fensterheim was a “magnetic personality,” said Koplovitz., adding: “When you came into his presence, you felt an unmistakable connectivity, as if he was saying to you, ‘You are a special person.’ He taught me to be more accepting of people than I otherwise would have been. He had a basic love of humanity.” read more

How to Bounce Back From a Health Crisis

It’s not the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them. (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

After a major injury or illness, your own participation and perspective can make the difference between moving past a health crisis and letting it define the rest of your life.

Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo cites two reasons why. First, the right attitude corresponds with a stronger commitment to physical therapy or rehabilitation. Plus, happiness is healing. “When we experience chronic stress, when we’re upset or depressed, that actually impedes our immune system,” says Lombardo. “Our body does not heal as well.” read more

Take the Time to Better Care for Yourself

Senior woman smiles while holding pencil and adjusting her reading glasses

7 steps to the self-care you need (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Ken Druck for Next Avenue

Becoming a smarter, stronger, more self-caring version of yourself is both freeing and empowering.

I recently discussed the concept of self-care and the ways to set yourself up for — and avoid sabotaging — the way you take emotional and physical care of yourself. After you agree that you are worthy of self-care and will overcome the factors you let stand in your way before, you’re ready to move forward with these seven steps to self-care:

Step  No. 1. Make the Decision to Change the Way You Take Care of Yourself read more