Month: June 2016
As boomers retire from their jobs at unprecedented rates in the U.S., you’d think they’d be spending their free time with friends, lingering over the morning newspaper and coffee or taking January vacations in a warm place. But many seniors are finding themselves in a predicament that few anticipate in retirement: parenting for a second time. Census reports indicate that 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. Their added duties may be fulfilling, but they may be stressful, too.
In fact, many things can trigger stress among retired adults — paying bills on a fixed income, failing health, caring for ill parents or spouses, or even grandparenting. Excessive stress can lead to serious health problems.
“When stressed, the body releases substances such as cortisol and adrenaline that affect every organ and can cause muscle tension, insulin secretion and increased heart rate,” said Arthur Hayward, M.D., a geriatrician and the clinical lead physician for elder care with Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute.
“You can’t avoid stress, but managing it can help preserve your health and well-being,” Dr. Hayward added. He recommends identifying and understanding the cause of your stress and finding ways to relieve it, such as these eight tips:
Pace yourself. Don’t take on too much. Be aware of your limitations.
Set realistic goals and expectations, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Plan time for yourself. Recharge your batteries.
Exercise and eat a balanced diet. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
Get enough sleep. If you have problems sleeping, talk to your doctor. Drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol can affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
Talk with a loved one or write in a journal.
Stay positive. Positive thoughts can make a difference, such as “I am hopeful” or “Things will be better.”
For more information, go tokp.org/healthyaging. For questions or advice about a specific condition, talk to your physician.
We all know they’re coming . . . the dog days of summer. As parents or grandparents, we love having the kiddos home and the absence of the daily grind of the bus, lunch-making and homework, but with every upside, there is a downside. And for kids in the summer, it’s boredom!
For this reason, parents spend a good amount of time searching and registering their kids for activities to keep them engaged and out of trouble. With so many options available, where do you start? Where do you find activities that are of interest to your kids, while also being kind to your wallet?
A good place to start is online. There are some great parent resources available that provide parents the opportunity to search different activities — all relevant to your child.
For instance, ACTIVEkids.com is an easy-to-use website for parents to discover and register kids for activities, classes and camps. ACTIVEkids enables parents to find a broad spectrum of activities from art seminars to dance classes to local summer camps — search by gender, age and interests to find activities that are the most relevant to parent and child. It has a database of more than 120,000 activities nationwide and serves kids ages four to 18.
Another option is the local YMCA. If you’re not familiar with the YMCA in your area, we suggest you check it out. It’s a great family organization for kids and adults of all ages. Their programs focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Many local locations offer health and fitness programs that help children (and adults) to increase energy, decrease stress, prevent illness, maintain a healthy lifestyle and just enjoy quality time with family and friends.
The Y offers a number of different summer programs that promote positive self-esteem, good decision making and self-help and care. There are likely to be one or two great options for your child.
The recreation department in your town is another great place to look for activities — and they are usually very affordable. Most towns offer programs from tennis and swim lessons to painting and music classes. The programs are usually run by local experts and are located right in town. Plus, if you coordinate with some friends, you might be able to catch a morning break that can be enjoyed and filled with some “you” time.
Wherever you go to find fun, engaging activities for your kids, just make sure you remember to carve out some simple, relaxing family time, too. The summers fly by much faster than the school year.
Ben Franklin once declared, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Yet, equally enlightening are his thoughts on expenses: “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
And there are plenty of “leaks” that can scuttle an already-tight budget. For instance, a spouse idled by the sour economy, a fender bender with the family car, or an unexpected hospitalization. That’s why financial advisors recommend that you have a rainy-day fund—enough liquid assets to cover three to six months’ worth of emergency living expenses. In case of financial emergency, access to additional money will save you from relying on credit cards or loans that simply compound the problem.
When starting an emergency fund, here are a few tips to abide by:
- Determine what amount is best for you. Most experts agree that you should keep between three and six months worth of your living expenses set aside in your emergency fund. Your specific situation – whether you have children, carry substantial debt and types of insurance coverage you have – will determine what amount is best for you. Examine your situation — your income and your needs — to decide how much you should save.
- Start small. Starting an emergency fund can be as simple as depositing $100 into your high-interest savings account. But before you begin, be sure that you’re meeting your basic living expenses. And as you build your emergency fund, be sure you’re also reducing your spending and avoiding debt.
- Stick to a schedule. Get into the habit of making regular deposits. Whether it is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, create a schedule and stick to it. Once you make saving automatic, you won’t even have to think about it.
- Consider an online savings account. In many cases, an “online” savings account may make more sense than an account at a traditional, bricks-and-mortar bank. That’s because many traditional banks are not currently offering a savings option with interest rates high enough to meaningfully beat inflation. In addition, an online savings account is a reliable way to manage your money.