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DYE OR DON’T? THE GREAT DEBATE

BEST YEARS FALL/WINTER 2018

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BEST YEARS FALL/WINTER 2018

50

FAMILY-FOCUSED TRAVEL Trips with multiple generations create lasting memories

MOUNTAIN SKY GUEST RANCH

FEATURES

38

44 GOLDEN GIRLS

BONDING OVER BOOKS

Tracey Edmonds’ healthy outlook on life

Over-50 renters hop on home-sharing trend

Women connect through reading groups

BEING WELL

58

3


FALL/WINTER 2018

UP FRONT

82

BEAUTY & STYLE Five new fall scents

8 10 12 15 18 20 25 28 32 34

Pretty and practical reading glasses Age-friendly makeup tips The great gray hair debate

FASHION Fresh styles for the season HEALTH

New treatments for common conditions Natural remedies to treat osteoporosis Companies put consumers first

SELF-CARE Zentangle is a form of art therapy Dear, younger self: Readers share advice

All product prices and availability are subject to change.

DEPARTMENTS

8

FOOD

66 70 72

Plan the perfect potluck

EXERCISE

Put your best look forward with facial yoga

RELATIONSHIPS

74

76 78 80

Finding, forming friendships Enjoying a healthy sex life

CAREERS

ON THE COVER: PRODUCER TRACEY EDMONDS

PHOTO BY: MIKEL HEALEY

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

Avoid age discrimination in the workplace Employers woo would-be retirees

66 RETIREMENT

82 88 92 96

These aren’t your grandparents’ retirement communities Consider retiring aboard a cruise ship Strategies tobolster your nest egg

LAST WORD

Taking a midlife gap year

GEORGE GRUEL; GETTY IMAGES; PRADA; CALVIN KLEIN

Benefits of where you work out


contributors

PREMIUM PUBLICATION EDITORIAL

DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com

JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN is an Atlantabased multimedia journalist, storyteller, producer and author who is always on the hunt for her next adventure. She has written for Conde Nast Traveler, Delta Sky, People, Food Network Magazine and more. For this issue, she writes about multigenerational family vacations (page 50), which has given her plenty of ideas for an upcoming trip with her mother.

CINDY KUZMA writes about health and fitness for Runner’s World, SELF, VICE, The New York Times and other outlets. She lives in Chicago, and runs regularly on the city’s Lakefront Trail, which gave her an insider view on making the most of indoor and outdoor workouts (page 72). “Exercising in nature has so many benefits, but especially during the winter, I’m glad I have access to a gym, too,” she says.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Lisa M. Zilka DESIGNERS Amira Martin Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders INTERN Jordan Pecar CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lisa A. Beach, Mary Helen Berg, Hollie Deese, Stephanie Dickrell, Chrystle Fiedler, Valerie Finholm, Jennifer Bradley Franklin, Patricia Kime, Cindy Kuzma, Janene Mascarella, Nancy Monson, Gina Roberts-Grey, Adam Stone, Suzanne Wright, Stacey Zable

ADVERTISING

PROVIDED BY THE CONTRIBUTORS

VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

GINA ROBERTS-GREY has written about health, parenting and well-being for print and online outlets including Family Circle, Glamour, Essence and Live Happy. After interviewing Tracey Edmonds (page 38), Roberts was especially impressed by her love of yoga and its calming effect on the busy mom’s life. Roberts has dusted off her yoga mat and has been practicing a few of Edmonds’ favorite poses.

FACEBOOK Facebook.com/usatodaymags

SUZANNE WRIGHT covers business, family, health care, technology and travel for such publications as AAA Highroads Arizona, USA TODAY magazines and National Geographic Traveler. “When my world fell apart, I admit I was bitter. But I’ve turned those lemons into limoncello!” she says of her midlife gap year (page 96). Suzanne is currently looking for digs in coastal Alabama or Florida so she can reconnect with her Southern roots.

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ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Madden | (703) 854-5444 jmadden@usatoday.com

FINANCE

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Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved herein, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or reproduced in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written consent of USA TODAY. The editors and publisher are not responsible for any unsolicited materials.

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| BEST YEARS

up Front B E A U T Y & S T Y L E 8 | F A S H I O N 18 | H E A L T H 20 | S E L F - C A R E 32

COOL + CHIC

SHAUNA RAE ART

Shauna Robertson of Salt Lake City started her Chic Over 50 fashion blog (chicover50.com) in 2015 to inspire and encourage women her age to be their best selves. She exudes energy and elegance in this stylish swing coat designed by Caprice Cole (Instagram: @capricecole).

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UP FRONT | BEAUTY & STYLE

Seasonal Scents Five new fragrances to match your mood BY JANENE MASCARELLA

G

one are the days of wearing a singular signature scent. Today, it’s all about building a fragrance wardrobe, and just like the clothes we wear, we can pick perfumes to match our moods and personalities. Scents tell a story, so what is your sensorial association saying about you? Here are five new fall scents to match how you’re feeling:

FLASHY

Sometimes, you’re in the mood for a sweet scent that leaves you on a high note. Prada’s Candy Sugar Pop combines delicate notes of peach and vanilla with the crisp smell of apple and green bergamot to give a sweet first impression and fruity undertone. Packaged in pretty pastels, the scent is more crisp than sweet, but some days, that’s about right.

FREE

FIERY

Channeling a carefree spirit, Vince Camuto’s Divina is playful and radiant — a fragrance for the woman who embraces life’s happiest and most memorable moments. The sunny scent has notes of fresh grapefruit and black currant as well as sunflower petals and mimosa blossoms.

Sì Passione by Giorgio Armani comes in a bold red bottle that is emblematic of the perfume’s attitude. The intense scent combines vanilla with rose, heliotrope and jasmine blooms for a sensual floral aroma, reflecting the delicacy and strength of femininity.

$65, (30 milliliters), Macy’s

$90, (3.4 ounces), macys.com

$78, (1.6 ounces), Macy’s

$86 (1.7 ounces), giorgioarmani beauty-usa.com

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$92, (1.7 ounces), sephora.com

FIERCE

“Women” denotes a group of individuals, each with their own distinct voice. Calvin Klein Women is built around three core ingredients — orange flower petals, eucalyptus and rich Alaskan cedarwood. The artwork on the bottle and packaging was created by artist Anne Collier.

FRESH

Inspired by bright Italian lemons and the salty Mediterranean Sea, Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue Italian Zest reveals a freshness brightened by tangy citrus. The scent is perfect for capturing the joy and spontaneity of summer. Sicilian cedar and Granny Smith apple top notes make it the perfect perfume for a dreary day when you need a snappy pick-me-up.

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


KEEP LIFE SIMPLE

Lotus Yoga available at:


UP FRONT | BEAUTY & STYLE

1

2

The Right Readers

3

Give your vision a boost with specs that fit your style BY NANCY MONSON

1

THE BOND

2

THE BISHOP

4

5

3

THE LORELAI

Fear not the fine print with these lightweight glasses available as screen, sun and regular-style readers. Starting at

These semirimless readers allow you to peek over the top of the lenses and see at a distance when you’re not reading.

These bifocal glasses feature a retro square frame with spring hinges and come in two colorful floral patterns. $18.95,

$68, lookoptic.com

$15.95, readers.com

readers.com

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

4

THE SOPHIE

These small, inexpensive readers come in vibrant colors, including pink, purple, green, blue and yellow. $14.95, readers.com

5

COACH BIFOCAL SUNGLASSES

Lightweight with a thin profile, these designer reading sunglasses are convenient for outdoor activities. $68, lookoptic.com

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

M

any adults have trouble reading small type after the age of 40. Enter reading glasses, which are not only functional, but are now considered fashion accessories. Luckily, most readers are inexpensive enough that you can afford several styles (a necessity if you have trouble finding them when you need them). “Today’s reading glasses are for more than just reading, which allows our customers to do the things they love without making sacrifices,” says Angie Stocklin, chief operating officer at online eyewear company Readers.com. That means there are trendsetting and fashion-forward versions for all occasions, including regular readers for perusing a menu in low light, reading sunglasses and screen readers that block blue light from digital devices. Try one of these styles to help you see better while looking great:


GET MORE OUT OF YOUR GETAWAY. It’s time for a change. And of more than just your scenery. Let AARP member benefits help you discover a whole new way of traveling with discounts on car rentals, airfare, hotels and more.

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AARP Member Advantages is a collection of products, services and insurance programs available to AARP members. Neither AARP nor its affiliate is the insurer. AARP contracts with insurers to make coverage available to AARP members. Insurers and providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for use of the AARP intellectual property. Amounts paid are used for general purposes of AARP and its members.


UP FRONT | BEAUTY & STYLE

Fresh and Flawless Treat your skin to some TLC with makeup tips from the pros

A

s we age, makeup can either enhance our looks or become a beacon to fine lines, uneven texture and irritation. But there are steps you can take to put your best face forward — and it all starts long before any color is applied.

CLEAN AND HYDRATE Kristy Watson, chief marketing officer at luxury skin care company Erno Laszlo, says when it comes to taking on the aging process, if you do nothing else, simply wash your face. Removing dead skin cells, makeup, pollution and debris preps your skin for every product to follow, including makeup. “It gives you a clean canvas — perfect for layering penetrating serums and moisturizers,” Watson says. Next, don’t forget the sunscreen. Crucial at any age, it prevents damage from harmful rays. After that, hydrate your skin with a moisturizer to keep it plump and vibrant, says Bobby Mosser, Trish McEvoy brand national trainer for Woo Cosmetics in Nashville, Tenn.

TARGET CHALLENGES By your 40s, you should be thinking of treatment-based products, Watson says. That means targeting specific

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

concerns that may change as you age, like acne, dryness and wrinkles. “Really pay attention to the changes you see and seek products that will combat and improve the aging process,” Watson says. For instance, you can treat hyperpigmentation, the darkening and discoloration of the skin, with products that have high levels of vitamin C. As we mature, we will need to start using products with more medical-grade ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid, Mosser says. Make sure you consult with your dermatologist to help create a skin care regimen for your skin type and age. To target your skin concerns most effectively, be sure to apply products from the thinnest to thickest, Watson says. “This will allow for the thinner products to penetrate the skin’s layers and promote maximum efficacy across your entire skin care routine.”

FINISH THE LOOK Once you have your skin prepped and plumped, the right makeup will make all the difference, starting with your base. To supermodel Christie Brinkley, foundation looks best when it’s not noticeable. “My favorite way of applying

foundation is with a damp beauty blender. I apply it with a light hand all over, and pat it where I want more coverage,” Brinkley says. Layer on a luminous blush to get a youthful glow. “As you age, try more creams and liquids than powders,” says Sarah Lucero, global executive director of creative artistry for cosmetics giant Stila. “Creams tend to melt right into the skin and give a fresh finish. Powders can sometimes enhance fine lines and pores.” When it comes to lipsticks, you want to look for one that is long-lasting, but with a weightless formula and silky texture so it doesn’t settle into lip lines, Mosser says. Finally, boost thinning lashes with a volumizing mascara. And don’t forget those brows. “Defining my brows is a really important step as I think it really wakes up the face and adds a polished touch,” Brinkley says. The bottom line is to never stop playing with products to find the right one that fits your needs. Pay attention to your skin and adjust accordingly, Watson says. “We definitely think you should update and reassess your skin as you go from your 20s to your 30s and into your 40s,” she adds.

JERALD COUNCIL; PROVIDED BY THE BRANDS

BY HOLLIE DEESE


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Stila’s One-Step Correct skin-tone brightening primer.

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BEAUTY TOOLS Try these expertrecommended skin care and cosmetic products to help keep your face feeling and looking its beautiful best. Erno Laszlo’s HydraTherapy Boost Serum. $98, neimanmarcus.com

Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty Day to Night Nudes eye shadow palette. $278, hsn.com

Erno Laszlo’s Firmarine Moisturizer SPF 30. $100, sephora.com

Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty Strobe Show Natural Glow Stick Highlighter (Champagne Glow). $22, kohls.com

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BEAUTY & STYLE | UP FRONT

Gray or Nay? The great hair color debate is one for the ages BY MARY HELEN BERG

I ROBERTO LIGRESTI

once asked my mother-in-law when a woman should stop coloring her hair. “Never,” she answered. Elaine Lee’s mother-in-law believed the same, and clung to her hair coloring routine until, at age 75, she could no longer stand at the sink to perform the process, says Lee, 55, of Ferguson, Mo. By contrast, Lee, who grayed in her early 20s, has never dyed her hair, which now gleams silver. Though she initially felt too young to go gray >

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UP FRONT | BEAUTY & STYLE

FINDING THE SILVER LINING

Books, hashtags and Facebook pages have popped up to encourage women to embrace their hair’s natural pewter, charcoal, silver or snow color. In Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook, women who recognized the beauty of their true hue share how they transitioned from colored hair to their natural gray. Coauthor Lorraine Massey, longtime stylist and founder of Devachan Salons in New York City, offers tips on how to achieve gray glory.

and female relatives urged her to camouflage her streaks, Lee’s father told her, “This is who you are,” and she listened. “Once I got comfortable with it, it was a more positive thing because I stood out in a crowd,” says Lee, who is AfricanAmerican. “My skin tone is very dark, and my

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hair is very white. I’m a lasting impression.” Whether pressure comes from friends, family or a youthoriented culture, nearly every woman will eventually wrestle with the question: Do I go gray or wash it away? Some women may color their gray to please a partner

or because they don’t want to appear older than their colleagues or peers, but the dilemma isn’t always about simply maintaining a youthful look, says Amelia María de la Luz Montes, a writer and associate professor of ethnic studies, English and creative writing at the University of

JEREMY SALADYGA

Melissa Malebranche shows off her majority-gray tresses in a photo from Silver Hair: Say Goodbye to the Dye and Let Your Natural Light Shine: A Handbook by Lorraine Massey.


“Once I got comfortable with it, it was a more positive thing because I stood out in a crowd.”

EUGENE WALTON; DAVID C. NELSON; GETTY IMAGES

— ELAINE LEE Nebraska-Lincoln. Race and culture can influence the decision to dye, says Montes, who identifies as Chicana. For example, dark hair can be an important part of Latina identity, a type of cultural marker, says Montes, 60. She once wrote about a colleague, also Chicana, who stopped dyeing her hair but quickly returned to coloring it when people mistook her for Caucasian. “I consider coloring my hair as part of my activism,” says Montes, whose nickname is “Roja” or red, a nod to her long, thick auburn hair. “It’s a political act because I wish to be seen as Latina. Not that all Latinas, or Chicanas or Mexican-Americans, have my hair coloring. But my family members in Mexico have my hair color.” African-American women may disguise their gray for an entirely different reason, says Nikki Walton, Lee’s daughter, who is also a psychotherapist, author and founder of the popular “life and hair therapy” blog CurlyNikki. “Women write to me and say ‘I can’t be both natural and gray,’” says Walton, 35, who uses henna to keep gray at bay. “‘I can’t have this kinky texture that the world deems unattractive and this gray, silver color that the world deems unattractive.’ They say ‘What am I supposed to do?’” Be brave and hang in there while your true color and texture emerge, Walton advises. “It’s

Nikki Walton, above, a psychotherapist and blogger, uses henna to cover her gray, but advises women to let their silver hair shine if they choose. Victoria Marie, left, who created a documentary on the topic, last colored her natural hair in 2012.

tough, and it takes time, and you feel naked and ugly for a while ... and then one day it’s the new normal and you feel more comfortable and more powerful than you’ve ever felt before.” Victoria Marie, 57, of Los Angeles, says that nothing in her Greek, British, Scottish and Irish background swayed her to embrace her natural salt-and-pepper strands over bottle brunette. However, she clearly remembers that when she last colored her hair in 2012, it made her feel like she was wearing a mask. Marie’s personal hair journey led her to produce and direct her first documentary, Gray Is the New Blonde, which will explore views and attitudes toward women with gray hair. Through her research, Marie has found that when it comes to coloring hair, women of all backgrounds share one thing in common: “The single biggest reason a woman embraces her gorgeous grays,” says Marie, “is because she is tired of dyeing every two to four weeks. She wants to live her life.” l

The decision to cover gray hair with dye or let the silver show is personal for all women.

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UP FRONT | FASHION

SHAKE YOUR BOOTIES

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SHAKE YOUR BOOTIES

1 2 3

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Jimmy Choo Kassidy suede ankle boots. $1,050, Saks Fifth Avenue Beatricia taupe bootie. $365, bellsandbecks.com

Georgina bootie. $398, toryburch.com

ANIMAL ATTRACTION

4 5 6 7 8

Dolce & Gabbana faux fur leopardprint tote. $1,295, Saks Fifth Avenue Riley Wrap dress in animal print. $158, shopendlesssummer.com

Cleopatra Shiny Tortoise sunglasses. $250, dynamikosbrand.com

Aquazzura Optic leopard calf hair sandals. $875, Saks Fifth Avenue Josie kitten heel. $139.95, vionicshoes.com

COOL COATS

9 10 11 12

Seal coat by CV Saint in sienna. $350, bishopcollective.com

Fabulous in Fall Styles to boost your fashion quotient this season BY JANENE MASCARELLA

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utumn is prime time to revamp your personal style and put your most fashionable foot forward. Flourishing florals, ankle booties, animal prints, cool coats and chic slacks are among the season’s top trends. Check out these picks to look stylish at work, on the weekend and wherever life takes you:

Single-breasted coat. $199, jjill.com

Edinger lightweight jacket in slate blue. $135, kestan.co

FLIRTY FLORALS

Weathered suede bomber jacket. $239.20, orvis.com

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BEST BOTTOMS

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High-waist flare pants. $245, aella.co

Venture pants. $245, pivottestudio.com

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FLIRTY FLORALS

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B Collection by Bobeau Wren wrap dress in black floral.

16 17 18

Floral blazer.

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$120, bobeau.com $24.99, Marshalls

Peony Midnight Garden floral tote. $74, luludharma.com

Adelia dress. $498, toryburch.com

BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

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ANIMAL ATTRACTION

COOL COATS

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BEST BOTTOMS

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PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

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UP FRONT | HEALTH

Common Concerns Find out what new medications might belong in your cabinet

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ilver-tinged hair. Finely lined faces. Some changes that come with the years are visible — while others affect us internally, increasing our chances of developing certain medical issues. “Our bodies age. This is natural and expected,” says Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a board-certified osteopathic

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

family medicine physician and associate professor in the department of Family Medicine at Rowan University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. Conditions more likely to occur in older individuals include cataracts, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis, she notes. While some ailments can be managed with lifestyle changes such as diet and

exercise, other cases require medicinal treatment. And now, there are more options than ever. Over the past two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a total of 63 novel treatments. Many of these prescription drugs target issues common in people 50 and older, including the following conditions:

GETTY IMAGES

BY CINDY KUZMA


OSTEOPOROSIS

One in three women 50 and older will eventually have a fracture due to this bone-weakening disease. A new once-daily injection of Tymlos, an anabolic medication, may help rebuild bone, protecting you from future breaks.

BREAST CANCER HEPATITIS C

Before doctors understood how this virus spread through contaminated blood, many baby boomers were infected — and many still don’t know it. Fortunately, Vosevi, a new combination treatment — containing two previously approved drugs — has been shown to completely cure the condition in as many as 97 percent of the people who take it. Another new drug, Mavyret, works faster than previous courses of treatment and often produces results in people who haven’t responded to other therapies.

Doctors increasingly understand that testing cancer cells predicts how the disease will respond to treatment. Several new medications — including Lynparza, Verzenio and Kisqali — offer options for treating advanced tumors with specific hormonal profiles. And another new drug, Nerlynx, is being prescribed after initial treatment to prevent aggressive cancers from returning.

DIABETES

VISION CHANGES

Glaucoma steals your sight by increasing the pressure within your eye, eventually causing damage to the optic nerve. Two new types of once-daily drops called Vyzulta and Rhopressa might work to reduce the pressure and preserve your vision. And in welcome news for people with cataracts, the FDA approved an implantable artificial lens that can be adjusted after surgery, meaning you might not need glasses or contacts to see properly.

An estimated 26.3 million adults age 45 and older have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two new drugs — Ozempic and Steglatro — stabilize blood glucose over time when used in combination with diet changes and exercise. Meanwhile, Admelog — a short-acting insulin — works quickly to bring sugar levels back into balance around mealtime.

DIGESTIVE ISSUES

Trulance and Symproic are new drugs for chronic constipation. (Symproic is especially for those experiencing constipation as a side effect of pain medication.) 21


Women with osteoporosis at high risk for fracture after menopause:

IT’S TIME TO BE

OSTEO FEROCIOUS For fierce, independent women like you, it’s important to treat your osteoporosis — and face it head on. Once-daily TYMLOS was proven effective at 18 months of treatment.* And unlike some other osteoporosis medications, TYMLOS is designed to boost the body’s natural bone-building process.

In clinical trials, TYMLOS was proven to: Reduce the risk of spinal fractures

Reduce the risk of fractures in other bones

What is TYMLOS?

TYMLOS is a prescription medicine used to: decrease the chance of having a fracture of the spine and other bones in postmenopausal women with thinning and weakening bones (osteoporosis).

Significantly increase bone mineral density

What is the most important information I should know about TYMLOS?

treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who are at high risk for bone fracture. It is not known if TYMLOS is safe and effective for children 18 years and younger.

TYMLOS may cause serious side effects including: Possible bone cancer (osteosarcoma). During animal drug testing, TYMLOS caused some rats to develop a bone cancer called osteosarcoma. It is not known if people who take TYMLOS will have a higher chance of getting osteosarcoma. °

*It is not recommended that people use TYMLOS for more than 2 years during their lifetime. TYMLOS should not be used in children and young adults whose bones are still growing.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have pain in your bones, pain in any areas of your body that does not go away, or any new or unusual lumps or swelling under your skin that is tender to touch.

Before you take TYMLOS, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you: have Paget’s disease of the bone or other bone disease, will have trouble injecting yourself with the TYMLOS pen and do not have someone who can help you

have or have had cancer in your bones, have or have had radiation therapy involving your bones, have or have had too much calcium in your blood, have or have had too much of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase in your blood, have or have had an increase in your parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism) are pregnant or plan to become pregnant because TYMLOS is not for pregnant women, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if TYMLOS passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take TYMLOS or breastfeed. You should not do both. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-thecounter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. What are the possible side effects of TYMLOS? TYMLOS can cause serious side effects including:


Discover TYMLOS, a postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment proven to reduce the risk of spinal fractures by 86%. In a clinical trial, 0.6% of women taking TYMLOS had a fracture vs 4.2% taking placebo.

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TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT TYMLOS

Decrease in blood pressure when you change positions. Some people may feel dizzy, have a faster heartbeat, or feel lightheaded soon after the TYMLOS injection is given. These symptoms generally go away within a few hours. Take your injections of TYMLOS in a place where you can sit or lie down right away if you get these symptoms. If your symptoms get worse or do not go away, stop taking TYMLOS and call your healthcare provider. Increased blood calcium (hypercalcemia). TYMLOS can cause some people to have a higher blood calcium level than normal. Your healthcare provider may check your blood calcium before you start and during your treatment with TYMLOS. Tell your healthcare provider if you have nausea, vomiting, constipation, low energy, or muscle weakness. These may be signs there is too much calcium in your blood. Increased urine calcium (hypercalciuria). TYMLOS can cause some people to have higher levels of calcium in their urine than normal. Increased calcium may also cause you to develop kidney stones (urolithiasis)

in your kidneys, bladder or urinary tract. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any symptoms of kidney stones which may include pain in your lower back or lower stomach area, pain when you urinate, or blood in your urine.

The most common side effects of TYMLOS include: dizziness, nausea, headache, fast heartbeat, feeling very tired (fatigue), upper stomach pain, vertigo These are not all the possible side effects of TYMLOS. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

If you take more TYMLOS than prescribed you may experience symptoms such as muscle weakness, low energy, headache, nausea, dizziness (especially when getting up after sitting for a while) and a faster heartbeat. Stop taking TYMLOS and call your healthcare provider right away.

Visit TYMLOS.com/USA to learn more

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. For more Important Safety Information, please see Brief Summary of Medication Guide, including Boxed Warning, on following page. © 2018 Radius Health, Inc. All rights reserved. 7/18.TYM-US-01738


BRIEF SUMMARY OF MEDICATION GUIDE FOR TYMLOS® (tim lows’) (abaloparatide) injection, for subcutaneous use What is the most important information I should know about TYMLOS? TYMLOS may cause serious side effects including: Possible bone cancer (osteosarcoma). During animal drug testing, TYMLOS caused some rats to develop a bone cancer called osteosarcoma. It is not known if people who take TYMLOS will have a higher chance of getting osteosarcoma. ° Tell your healthcare provider (HCP) right away if you have pain in your bones, pain in any areas of your body that does not go away, or any new or unusual lumps or swelling under your skin that is tender to touch. What is TYMLOS? •

TYMLOS is a prescription medicine used to: decrease the chance of having a fracture of the spine and other bones in postmenopausal women with thinning and weakening bones (osteoporosis). treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who are at high risk for bone fracture. It is not known if TYMLOS is safe and effective for children 18 years and younger.

Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take. Keep a list of these medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. How should I use TYMLOS? •

It is not recommended that people use TYMLOS for more than 2 years during their lifetime. TYMLOS should not be used in children and young adults whose bones are still growing. Before you take TYMLOS, tell your HCP about all of your medical conditions, including if you: •

have Paget’s disease of the bone or other bone disease. have or have had cancer in your bones. have or have had radiation therapy involving your bones. have or have had too much calcium in your blood. have or have had too much of an enzyme called alkaline phosphatase in your blood. have or have had an increase in your parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism). will have trouble injecting yourself with the TYMLOS pen and do not have someone who can help you. are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. TYMLOS is not for pregnant women. are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your HCP should decide if you will take TYMLOS or breastfeed. You should not do both.

Read the detailed Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Use TYMLOS exactly as your HCP tells you to use it. Do not try to inject TYMLOS yourself until you or your caregiver receive training from an HCP on the right way to use the TYMLOS pen. You should receive your first several injections of TYMLOS where you can sit or lie down if necessary, until you know how it affects you. Inject TYMLOS 1 time each day into your lower stomach area (abdomen) just under your skin (subcutaneous). Avoid giving your injection within the 2-inch area around your belly button (navel). Talk to your HCP about how to change (rotate) your injection site for each injection. Do not give TYMLOS in your veins (intravenously) or deep into your muscles (intramuscularly). You can take TYMLOS with or without food or drink. Take TYMLOS at about the same time each day. If you forget or cannot take TYMLOS at your usual time, take it as soon as you can on that day. The TYMLOS pen has enough medicine for 30 days. It is set to give 1 dose of medicine with each injection. Do not take more than 1 injection in the same day. Do not transfer the medicine from the TYMLOS pen to a syringe. This can cause you to use the wrong dose of TYMLOS. Do not share your TYMLOS pen or pen needles with other people, even if the needle has been changed. You may give other people a serious infection, or get a serious infection from them. Your HCP may do blood and urine tests during your treatment with TYMLOS. If you take more TYMLOS than prescribed you may experience symptoms such as muscle weakness, low energy, headache, nausea, dizziness (especially when getting up after sitting for a while) and a faster heartbeat. Stop taking TYMLOS and call your HCP right away.

What are the possible side effects of TYMLOS? TYMLOS can cause serious side effects including: See “What is the most important information I should know about TYMLOS?” Decrease in blood pressure when you change positions. Some people may feel dizzy, have a faster heartbeat, or feel lightheaded soon after the TYMLOS injection is given. These symptoms generally go away within a few hours. Take your injections of TYMLOS in a place where you can sit or lie down right away if you get these symptoms. If your symptoms get worse or do not go away, stop taking TYMLOS and call your HCP. Increased blood calcium (hypercalcemia). TYMLOS can cause some people to have a higher blood calcium level than normal. Your HCP may check your blood calcium before you start and during your treatment with TYMLOS. Tell your HCP if you have nausea, vomiting, constipation, low energy, or muscle weakness. These may be signs there is too much calcium in your blood. Increased urine calcium (hypercalciuria). TYMLOS can cause some people to have higher levels of calcium in their urine than normal. Increased calcium may also cause you to develop kidney stones (urolithiasis) in your kidneys, bladder or urinary tract. Tell your HCP right away if you get any symptoms of kidney stones which may include pain in your lower back or lower stomach area, pain when you urinate, or blood in your urine. The most common side effects of TYMLOS include dizziness, nausea, headache, fast heartbeat, feeling very tired (fatigue), upper stomach pain, and vertigo. •

These are not all the possible side effects of TYMLOS. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. Keep TYMLOS and all medicines out of the reach of children. © 2018 Radius Health, Inc. All rights reserved. 7/18. TYM-US-01738 To learn more, talk about TYMLOS with your healthcare provider or pharmacist, visit our website at www.TYMLOS.com for the FDA-approved product labeling or call Radius Health, Inc., at 1-855-672-3487.


HEALTH | UP FRONT

Better Bones Natural remedies can reduce your risk of osteoporosis BY CHRYSTLE FIEDLER

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steoporosis, or a loss of bone density, is a major cause of bone fractures in the hip and spine. More than 64 million U.S. adults age 50 and older are expected to develop the condition by 2020, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Countless others have osteopenia, a lesser degree of bone density loss that can also lead

to osteoporosis. The statistics can be pretty daunting, but the good news is that with a little help from Mother Nature, and guidance from your physician, you can possibly stave off the effects of this progressive disease. “Natural therapies can slow bone loss and reduce the risk of fracture,” says Tori Hudson, medical director at A Woman’s Time in Portland, Ore. Here’s how:

Healthy Bone Density

Osteoporotic Bone Density

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UP FRONT | HEALTH

BUILD BONES WITH NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS

BEST SOURCES/ PRACTICES:

Green, leafy vegetables

Dairy provides calcium, which is good for bones, but can be problematic if you are lactose intolerant. Plants increase bone density naturally, are generally easy to digest and abundant in nutrients.

Spinach, collard greens, turnip, mustard and beet greens. “It’s easy to make a stir-fry or a green smoothie, just add protein powder,” says Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine in Nashville, Tenn.

Relaxation

Research shows that chronic stress can increase inflammation in the body, which can lead to bone loss.

Mediation, mindfulness, deep breathing, progressive relaxation and yoga can help you unwind. You can also pair relaxation techniques with a hot cup of chamomile tea, which is rich in magnesium.

Fruit

Some fruits, such as grapes, contain flavonoids that “help stabilize bone structure,” says Brigitte Mars, an herbalist and professor of herbal medicine at Naropa University in Boulder, Colo.

Blackberries, blueberries, grape seed, hawthorn berries, raspberries and citrus fruits for vitamin C.

Cultured dairy

Cultured dairy such as kefir contains calcium, magnesium and vitamins K and D to help build strong bones, says Axe. Other choices include yogurt and amasai, a fermented milk beverage.

Choose dairy products that come from sheep, goats or grass-fed cows and are labeled Certified Humane or Food Alliance Certified.

“It contains polyphenols and antioxidants,” says physician Tori Hudson. “Some research shows that it stimulates bonebuilding cells and slows down bone loss.”

Available in multiple brands, including Yogi Organic, Bigelow, Twinings and Tazo.

Green tea

Enough protein

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WHY YOU NEED IT:

A Women’s Health Initiative study that took place over six years and involved 144,000 postmenopausal women showed that higher protein intake was linked to higher overall bone density and a lower risk of forearm fractures.

BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements recommends people ages 50-71 take these supplements daily: u 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium in the form of calcium citrate (for less stomach upset) u 15 micrograms of vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol) u 90-120 micrograms of K-2 (menaquinone-7) u 320-420 micrograms of magnesium Visit an independent product-testing site to ensure that you’re buying quality supplements,: u Consumer Labs, consumerlabs.com u USP Verified

Dietary Supplements, If you eat fish, chicken, meat, eggs or dairy regularly, you’re covered. Protein picks for vegans and vegetarians include lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts and nut butters, tofu and quinoa.

quality-supplements.org/ verified-products u NSF Laboratories, nsf.org/services/ by-industry/nutritional -products u LabDoor, labdoor.com — Chrystle Fiedler

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WHAT YOU NEED:

Calcium and vitamin D-3 are the most commonly recommended supplements for bone health, but did you know that vitamin K-2 and magnesium are important, too? “These nutrients enable proper absorption and optimal bone density,” says Josh Axe, a natural medicine doctor and nutritionist. If you have serious medical concerns, be sure to ask your physician about taking these and other supplements.


UP FRONT | HEALTH

Changing the Face of Health Care Through emerging business models, companies offer easier ways for consumers to manage their health BY SIERRA LEWTER AND JAYNE O’DONNELL

seeking resources to improve both their mental well-being and health, revealing that providers should focus on ways to offer “simple, accessible solutions.” Aetna’s chief medical officer, physician Hal Paz says how and where people receive their health care is undergoing a dramatic overhaul that he calls “a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.” Here’s what some of the biggest developments could mean for you and your community’s health:

CVS-AETNA Even if you’ve never set foot inside one of the drug

store giant’s Minute Clinics, the Aetna acquisition, which could gain government approval later this year, should matter to you. It could make your health care more convenient — and reasonably priced. That’s in large part because CVS has nearly 9,800 locations nationwide, most open seven days a week, so the deal would make it easier for many consumers to get the care they need at nearly any time, says physician Lina Walker, vice president of health security at the AARP Public Policy Institute. “People don’t (only) get sick from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday,” she says. >

Telehealth, which allows patients to connect remotely with doctors via mobile devices, is becoming more widespread.

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

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etter health care options might be literally around the corner. CVS, the ubiquitous neighborhood pharmacy, is looking to expand its services and has entered a deal to buy insurance giant Aetna, while retail behemoths Amazon and Walmart continue to embrace a consumerfocused approach to providing health care. And these moves make a lot of sense. Aetna’s inaugural Health Ambitions Study surveyed 1,000 consumers and 400 doctors and found that people, particularly women, are


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WHEELCHAIR FALLS: A “BOOMING” PROBLEM If you have a loved one who is experiencing falls from their wheelchair because they are unable or forget to use the manual wheel locks; you are not alone.

So how can Safer Automatic Wheelchair Locks help? Simply put; Safer Locks operate automatically and work like this:

• STAND AND THE LOCKS ENGAGE • SIT AND THE LOCKS DISENGAGE Since Safer Locks engage even if the manual wheel locks are not used, there is never a need to worry about falls occurring due to unsecured wheel locks.

Safer Locks is the best prevention available for anyone using a wheelchair, as well as: • • • •

Long Term Care & Assisted Living Facilities Hospitals Government Buildings & Facilities ANY business offering courtesy wheelchairs to customers

To find out more information and where to find our products, visit our website or call to speak with one of our staff. Dealer opportunities are available.

A SMALL TOWN LOUISIANA DOCTOR ON A MISSION TO PREVENT WHEELCHAIR FALLS: After witnessing far too many preventable falls and injuries from unsecured wheels on wheelchairs; Dr. Grady Dugas, the inventor of Safer Automatic Wheelchair Locks, made it his mission to create a safer wheelchair. His vision, along with years of refinement, has become the standard in preventing wheelchair falls today.

1-800-890-5113 601-353-3193 x 215 saferlock@att.net www.saferwheelchairs.com


UP FRONT | HEALTH In June, CVS began offering nationwide home-delivery prescription service, making medications more accessible to consumers. The company also has a drug benefit division, Caremark, so the merger’s synergies could involve lower-priced drugs for Aetna policyholders shopping at CVS. Now that some consumers have to pay a higher share of their health costs, they’re shopping more on price. But Walker warns that saving money shouldn’t mean skimping on quality, so patients will still need to do their homework.

BIG HEALTH RETAIL

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

CVS’ acquisition of health insurance provider Aetna could result in more affordable and accessible health care for consumers. pairings and will likely prompt more in the near future.

TELEHEALTH For even more convenience, employers and consumers are embracing mobile versions of traditional medical care, including apps. Telehealth, which allows patients to connect with doctors over mobile devices or computers, is growing in popularity despite laws that businesses say are hindering its effectiveness. Telehealth is especially attractive for mental health care. “The shortage of mental health providers has caused (companies) to “think outside the box,” says James Gelfand, senior vice president of health policy at the ERISA Industry Committee, which represents most of the nation’s largest employers.

When that therapy comes in the form of apps, however, it will face the same issue telehealth does: State laws require health care providers to be licensed in the same states as the patient.

WORKPLACE WELLNESS It may sound Big Brotherish, but your company wants to know more about your health. Poor health among employees is costing employers more in health insurance. In many cases, companies are offering up to 30 percent in incentives to workers who agree to health screenings or levying financial penalties against those who don’t. Despite potential increases in penalties for not participating in your company’s health programs, the initiatives are one way to save money while also keeping your health on the right track. l

PHARMACY PLANS Companies such as Walmart and Amazon are working to improve pharmacy benefit programs.

MATT ROURKE/ASSOCIATED PRESS; GETTY IMAGES

Walmart, which changed the pharmacy business by offering cut-rate prescriptions even for the uninsured, is considering buying insurer Humana, which also has its own pharmacy benefit business. The acquisition would help Walmart manage its own drug costs as well as help its customers manage their drug — or even overall health — benefits. The company might also add walk-in and appointmentbased clinics, which would offer more flexible hours of operation than traditional medical offices. Meanwhile, Amazon is partnering with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan in a yet-unnamed health care venture that is designed to make services more coordinated and less costly. Having this blockbuster partnership on the horizon has encouraged other business


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Located in Santa Barbara Wine Country is California’s premier Guest Ranch with 73 accommodations, golf, horseback riding, spa, fishing and tennis.

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UP FRONT | SELF-CARE

Zen-tastic! Purposeful drawing technique benefits both budding and veteran artists BY NANCY MONSON

T

he finished product looks like a complicated drawing, with mosaic patterns and intricate prints that an experienced artist took hours to create, but the black-and-white work of art on a 3 1/2-inch square tile could have just as easily been produced by an avid doodler looking to relieve stress. That’s the beauty of the Zentangle Method, an easy-to-learn drawing technique that many describe as a fun outlet that promotes calm and focus. As its mantra goes, “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.” At its core, Zentangle art is all about being in the moment and being mindful — paying attention to your current task and getting into a rhythm and a flow — which pushes away worries and distractions. The drawings unfold in an unplanned, yet structured way, and each person’s work comes out differently — even when multiple people attempt the same patterns (called tangles in the Zentangle lexicon). There is no right or wrong with Zentangle; there are only opportunities, says Rick Roberts, who co-founded Zentangle Inc., with artist and calligrapher Maria Thomas, in 2003. The pair says the free-flowing technique removes common blocks to creative expression such as self-criticism, fear of failure and doubts about what to do next by encouraging users to focus on one stroke at a time instead of having a predefined idea of what the drawing is supposed to look like, Roberts says. “There are no mistakes in Zentangle, no wrong moves,”

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Zentangle beginners are taught to create tiles in black and white, but advanced users can add color to their creations with pens, markers or other tools.


TIME TO ZENTANGLE Want to try doodling with purpose? Here are some resources to help get you started:

SUPPLIES Materials, beginning instruction and list of certified instructors: zentangle.com; youtube. com/user/zentangle

PATTERNS tanglepatterns.com The original Zentangle kit includes everything you need to start creating “tangles” right away. Purchase the kit for $49 at zentangle.com.

MIRANDA PELLICANO; GETTY IMAGES

Zentangle art is all about being in the moment and being mindful — paying attention to your current task and getting into a rhythm and a flow. Thomas adds. “Unlike most art forms, it encourages you to go in your own direction. There is no fear of failure.” Roberts and Thomas, from Whitinsville, Mass., have trained more than 3,000 Certified Zentangle Teachers, or CZTs, in 40 countries to provide face-to-face lessons, which Roberts and Thomas say is the best way to learn the method, but instructional kits can also be purchased on zentangle.com. Making Zentangle art is not only enjoyable, but it can also bring you to a healing, relaxed state of mind,

APP Zentangle Mosaic, available in the Apple store or Google Play says Roberts. That’s borne out by results from a 2016 Drexel University study, which found that 45 minutes of artistic activity a day reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making people feel calmer. Likewise, a 2012 survey of 1,362 people worldwide conducted by researchers at the University of St. Joseph in Hartford, Conn., showed that people make Zentangle drawings to relax and increase focus and enhance creativity. Though the drawings are typically done on the white square tiles using black pencil or pen, they can be expanded into mosaics by linking multiple tiles, and color can be added. “We believe life is an art form and that each of us is an artist,” Roberts concludes. “You are more creative, more imaginative and more expressive than you could ever know. And Zentangle drawing helps you to access that creativity and make beautiful drawings as a bonus.”

BOOKS The Book of Zentangle and Zentangle Primer Volume1 by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas The Great Zentangle Book: Learn to Tangle with 101 Favorite Patterns by Beate Winkler One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun by Beckah Krahula Time to Tangle with Colors: Coloring Ideas and Techniques Inspired by Zentangle by Marie Browning

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UP FRONT | SELF-CARE

In Retrospect

Life’s curveballs will continue, but along the way serendipity and fate conspire, and you will begin to greet those curves with confidence. Greet each day as an opportunity to demonstrate a strong back, soft front and a wild heart.

Women impart words of wisdom to their younger selves

I

f you had the opportunity to have a heartto-heart talk with the 20-year-old version of yourself — now that you’ve experienced life, love, losses and triumphs — what advice would you give her? These women share what they wish they’d known when they were younger. SHERRY LINTON-MASSIAH | 46

Find the balance between spontaneity and organization. Whether it is your spiritual life, diet or relationships, plan intentional time investing in them. Let some moments happen without a calendar or expectations. Afterward, reflect: Is what I’m doing or who I’m doing it with meaningful?

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

Be brave and bold. Be measured and considerate, but don’t hold back, because your opinion matters. Trust your gut instincts; they aren’t really instincts, but rather divine discernment.

JULIE RIDDLE | 48

KAREN MCWILLIAMS | 50

Orlando, Fla.

Oakton, Va.

GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY THE READERS

Bloomfield, Conn.


Always be thoughtful and kind to yourself, as well as others and you’ll be ahead of the game in the future.

I pray you learn that the health and happiness of your family will always make you feel the best at the end of every day. I also hope that you realize that many times when you focus on expectations, you may miss so many blessings. Making your bed every day is one of the best ways to start your day after prayer and meditation. Follow your passions and happiness will come. Sometimes small decisions generate huge rewards of unmeasurable value.

Life is such a wonderful gift if you are open to the journey. Your experiences do not define your identity. Embrace everything life has to offer; there’s a lesson in everything we experience. Listen to that inner voice that you sometimes ignore. That’s God talking to you, so always be aware of what it is saying.

PAMELA ZILKA | 62

KYLE ODOM | 62

Lakeville, Minn.

Kalamazoo, Mich.

Don’t take life too seriously as you move along. Life, itself, is a game, and in a game you win some and you lose some.

PAULA LAMPLEY | 54

LUTONIA LAURENT | 80

Cincinnati

Chicago

Stand strong and hold firmly to your beliefs and ethics. Become informed and follow up by doing your own research. Be cautious but don’t fear failure; it often leads to success. Do not let others define who you are. Become financially aware and make saving a habit. Do not neglect your dental care. Travel to other countries as soon as opportunity permits. Patience really is a virtue. Practice it! Remember, kindness and respect never grow old.

BLANCHE TOOLE | 80

Chicago 35


UP FRONT | SELF-CARE

You are a beautiful and intelligent woman. Don’t be afraid to walk away from those who make you feel like you are less than that. Make time for your family for they are the foundation on which your life will flourish.

You were born on a farm, but you don’t aspire to be a farmer. You want to soar above the clouds behind the wheel of a peoplecarrier machine that weighs 800,000 pounds. That’s right, you want to be a commercial pilot. There is nothing stopping you, but you. I know you can do it. Throw your doubts to the wind. Go to college. Get a degree. Follow your heart and your passion for adventure. Travel the world. Live your dream. Your parents have planted the seeds that you will need to succeed — a solid work ethic, a humble spirit, compassion, love, a spiritual connection with your personal omniscient flight instructor, plus a sense of self-worth. Embrace those gifts. Fly. The farm will be there when you land.

LISA NICHOLLS | 58

Two pieces of advice that were shared with me by wise mentors: First, the sharpest tool you have in your arsenal is the word “no.” Learn how to politely decline and leave space in your life for the people and activities that you most value. Second, trust your gut instincts. Follow your true north and you’ll have few regrets.

36

This world is so much harder when swinging with clenched fists. Allow yourself to embrace the challenges of your journey. Every bruise will not break you. You are stronger than you know. Most of all, allow yourself to accept success and accomplishments. Shine your light within, and never dim it to make others comfortable.

DELOISE FIELDS | 74

JENNIFER BISBEE | 56

MICHELLE BOND | 50

Tyler, Texas

Orlando, Fla.

Bowie, Md.

BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

PROVIDED BY THE READERS

Bayside, N.Y.


You are OK just the way you are. Everyone else is just as uncertain about things as you are. It’s OK not to be perfect. No human is. We are all flawed, and that’s how we learn. Someday someone will see some very special qualities in you that someone else may not possess. That doesn’t make you better than the next person, nor does it make them any less lovable or valuable. You matter. Be kind. Life is tough on everyone. Your smile is your greatest asset; it’s only equal to your mind. Stop being so hard on yourself and things will turn out exactly the way they are meant to.

BONNY MARTIN | 61

Philadelphia

We only walk this way once. Take each step with enthusiasm and don’t miss a step due to fear or practicality. You’ll never regret the big steps you’ll take, only the ones you didn’t. When a parent or child invites you anywhere, go. When someone is in need, act. When a career isn’t fulfilling, change. There’s no certainty in future steps so take each step with integrity, confidence and passion and your walk will be filled with joy.

Take the time to develop a personal relationship with your grandparents. You will learn valuable information about their character and forge a deeper understanding of their behavior and way of thinking. Building this relationship and learning from the previous generation will truly enrich your life. I am blessed to have real friendships with my grandchildren and wish I’d known to seek out that bond with my grandparents.

Don’t look for love as a young woman; let love find you. You’ll understand what kind of love you need once you have traveled, studied and discovered the lessons of life for yourself. Wear the dress. Take the class. Go on the trip. Lose the weight. Change outdated ideas. Boldly and bravely approach life. Be fierce but flexible, and do not worry about the outcome; God usually has a different one than we planned anyway.

DOLORES D’AMBROSIO GRANATO | 59

NANCY CRAIG | 75

ANGELIA CREW-SCOTT | 55

Concord, Mass.

Fredericksburg, Va.

Lorton, Va. 37


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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


B W Producer and TV personality Tracey Edmonds shares her healthful approach to life’s challenges

BY GINA ROBERTS-GREY PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKEL HEALEY

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Nearly every corner of Tracey Edmonds’ Beverly Hills, Calif., home is filled with mementos that make her smile. “I love having tons of photographs of my family around me because those memories make a house feel like a warm home.” Having a comfortable and cozy space to unwind is important to the busy entrepreneur, television and film producer, model and former host of the entertainment news show Extra. Despite her decades-long career in Hollywood, Edmonds admits she prefers a quiet evening at home to a glitzy night on the town. “There’s nothing like kicking off your shoes, grabbing one of the blankets I have in baskets all around the house and chilling on the couch.” But Edmonds’ jam-packed schedule doesn’t always leave her a lot of time for lazy days at home with sons Brandon, 21, and Dylan, 17, (with ex-husband Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds) or her longtime partner, NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. She recently launched the health and wellness website Alrightnow.com to foster mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of women in — or nearing — what Edmonds playfully refers to as the “gulp” years. “I’m, gulp, Edmonds’ health and wellness 51 now and I website aims to arm visitors know that, like with the inner strength to thrive through good times and adversity. me, women in this decade of life are intent on making positive lifestyle choices that will help us feel fabulous for many more decades to come.” For Edmonds, those decisions are centered around ways to positively impact her overall health. “That includes what we put in our body, but also who — and what — we surround ourselves with,” she shares.

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

FIRSTHAND ADVICE Alrightnow.com offers a full menu of self-help tools, including health, wellness, fitness, career, travel and relationship advice from notable doctors, trusted spiritual leaders and top chefs. The site’s content categories — Be Healthy, Be Fit, Look Good, Relate, Succeed and Escape — reflect the brand’s aim to inspire people to make active changes for their better selves. In addition to a bounty of articles and videos centered around healthy living with a bent toward natural medicine, the site’s web series, Radical Dating, is about finding love after age 40 and follows five singles as they work with coaches to discover themselves and what they want in life and relationships. The advice available on her site is all road-tested by Edmonds herself. “Whether we’re talking about antioxidant-rich foods, yoga poses to destress or finding happiness at work, I’m practicing what I preach,” she explains. “I shoot the videos, write the articles and shop for the same foods talked about on the site. It all comes from a place of testimonial.” One recent video features Edmonds touring her kitchen and eliminating processed foods and those with additives. “Even though I’ve been trying to eat healthy for more than half my life, I’m still learning. So I’m sharing strategies that are super easy to implement for all of us to be our best selves as we age.”

HEALTH FROM THE HEART The transition from TV personality to wellness expert was natural for Edmonds, who has had a head for healthy living since 1992, when her father had a heart attack. Then 25, Edmonds says her diet consisted mainly of fast food. “I lived on burgers in college and never thought much about health and wellness, and how what you eat impacts your body, until my father needed >


It seems like the minute a woman turns 50, her metabolism slows down, requiring eating fewer calories and being extra vigilant about the type of foods you eat.� — Tracey Edmonds

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Edmonds demonstrates the upward plank yoga pose called Purvottanasana during a photo shoot for Alrightnow.com. She tests all of the advice she offers on the website as well as guidance provided by other experts and personalities.

EDMONDS’ HEALTHY SECRET TV HOST-TURNED-HEALTH CONSULTANT TRACEY EDMONDS SAYS SHE HASN’T BEEN SICK IN NEARLY 20 YEARS. HER SECRET WEAPON IS HER MORNING ROUTINE. • Edmonds blends herself an immune-boosting smoothie to jump-start her day’s worth of nutrients. It’s made with a multivitamin supplement powder, coconut water, green apples, half a banana, a dash of turmeric, blueberries and a mix of chia and hemp seeds and flax seed oil. • To stay hydrated throughout the day she relies on pitchers of water with sliced fresh lemon. “My kids and I drink that, instead of caffeinated or sugary drinks, all day long.” — Gina Roberts-Grey

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


a quadruple bypass. Until then, I wasn’t thinking of things like cholesterol, but that frightening event changed my life.” A diet filled with soda and fried and processed foods took a toll on Edmonds. “I suffered from so many stomach issues like horrible indigestion and heartburn all the time,” she recalls. “I’d go out to eat with friends and a few hours in, I’d be near doubled-over in pain I didn’t realize was stemming from what I was putting in my body.” As she sat praying for her father to survive surgery and recover from his life-threatening scare, Edmonds says she promised to overhaul her diet and lifestyle. “I vowed that if he made it through, I would adopt healthy choices in my life, too.”

EVER-SHIFTING FOCUS Despite making her health and wellness a priority since her father’s heart attack 26 years ago, Edmonds says as she’s gotten older, she’s had to tweak her focus to keep up with the physical challenges of adding candles to her birthday cake. “When I was younger, I could eat anything, and I wouldn’t gain a pound. Once I hit 50, if I have dessert I swear I get an instant muffin top,” she shares. “It seems like the minute a woman turns 50, her metabolism slows down, requiring eating fewer calories and being extra vigilant about the type of foods you eat.” Edmonds says changing her eating habits has lessened her desire for sugary foods. “Eating fewer desserts has really quieted any sweet tooth I might have. I don’t crave sweets anymore.” In the past four years, meditation and yoga also became part of her routine to promote the calmness and spirituality that helped her through a period of heartache and loss. Following a difficult two-year journey, Edmonds’ mother passed away from mesothelioma cancer and two blood diseases in August 2016. “I was in my last year at Extra and had to balance the challenge of being upbeat

on camera and at red carpet events while watching my mother slowly deteriorate and slip away. In between takes on air, I’d be on the phone with my mother’s (intensive care unit) nurses or a doctor to hear the latest round of bad news about a health test,” she recalls. Yoga helped her cope and maintain her sanity. “I really found peace through my daily practice.” Tragedy struck again in 2017 when Edmonds unexpectedly lost her father to another heart attack. She continued to rely on her yoga and meditation practices, as well as healthy foods, to muster the strength to endure that second devastating loss.

COURAGE FROM CHALLENGES When she joined Mario Lopez and Charissa Thompson as part of the Extra cast in 2014, Edmonds was already an accomplished feature film producer (Soul Food, Josie and the Pussycats, Who’s Your Caddy and Jumping the Broom). Other projects include the 2014 hit series Deion’s Family Playbook, which ran for three seasons on OWN, and the 2015 Lifetime movie With This Ring. In 2017, she served as boardroom adviser to Arnold Schwarzenegger on The New Celebrity Apprentice and later this year, she will produce Games Divas Play, a drama on the BET network based on the popular book by Angela Burt-Murray. Edmonds was much more at ease behind the camera than in front of it on Extra. “My kryptonite was public speaking,” she says of the job she initially turned down. “Every day of my three-year contract I was outside of my comfort zone speaking in front of hundreds of people in the live audience.” About six months into her run on the show, she turned to yoga to help calm her nerves, but wound up gaining unexpected courage. “I found the peace to not only help me face, but ultimately conquer, one of my life’s greatest fears. I’m very proud of that ability to stretch myself and grow at any age,” Edmonds says. “I don’t ever want to stop challenging myself.” l

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golden

GIRLS BY VALERIE FINHOLM


ILLUSTRATIONS: AMIRA MARTIN

Growing number of renters over age 50 sparks homesharing trend After ending a romantic relationship in her 60s, Rika Mead lived alone for several years in a spacious contemporary home in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She enjoyed her privacy, but when she saw an article about a home-share matching service for older women, she decided to give it a try. “I wanted help financially, but I also wanted companionship,” says Mead, who now rents the top floor of her house to a 57-year-old woman she met on Roommates4boomers.com. The women are among a growing number of baby boomers who have You can watch every become roommates in their later Golden Girls years. Dubbed the Golden Girls or episode on the Grace and Frankie generation Hulu, or log because of their similarities to the on to storylines of those TV shows, these Netflix to women are living together mostly have a laugh for economic reasons — but also for with the first connection. four seasons Studies show that most people of Grace want to stay in their homes or > and Frankie.

45


“I wanted help

financially, but I also wanted companionship.” — RIKA MEAD, HOMEOWNER

communities as they age. But an increasing number of those 65 and older still have mortgages to pay. Others, after divorce or the loss of a spouse, can’t afford the upkeep on the large suburban homes where they raised their kids. At the same time, with housing costs in many areas skyrocketing, mature renters are looking for less-expensive alternatives to living alone. During the next two decades, the number of renters 65 and older is expected to increase by 80 percent, to 11.5 million, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “This is a generation that looks at a wide range of living options,”says Rodney Harrell, director of livable communities at the AARP Policy Institute. “They’re not necessarily going to say, ‘This is what I have, that’s it.’ ” Some boomers witnessed economic issues or other circumstances that

ROOM for

RENT

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

Room for rent

forced their aging parents to move out of their homes. “They’re looking for alternatives because they saw what their parents experienced and they want something different,” says Anne Glass, a gerontology professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Glass says another “very real worry” for boomers living alone is basic safety. “They’ve begun to realize the advantages to living with someone who will know if you fall or die,” she says. Dr. Thomas Cudjoe, a postdoctoral fellow in geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, says many older adults suffer from social isolation when their children move out. Homesharing is one way for them to connect with others — and lower the risk of cognitive decline that has been linked to social isolation. “Our relationships and connections with people are what maintains our vitality,” he says. >


3 reasons

to rent in retirement Of course, owning a home in retirement has certain benefits, like the ability to capitalize on tax breaks and tap the equity you may have built up. But before you prepare to live out your later years as a homeowner, here are a few reasons to consider renting instead:

ILLUSTRATIONS: AMIRA MARTIN

1. Your housing costs will

2.

3.

be fixed, for the most part

Owning may not help when it comes to taxes

You’ll get more flexibility and freedom

The problem with homeownership is that even in the absence of a mortgage, you still face countless unknown costs. Your property taxes, for example, could increase significantly if your home is reassessed. Similarly, as your home ages, your regular maintenance costs could easily go from manageable to downright astronomical. Consider this: The typical homeowner spends anywhere from 1 percent to 4 percent of his or her home’s value on annual upkeep. If you’re dealing with a $500,000 property, that’s a pretty huge range, but you can’t discount the possibility of high maintenance costs as you make your way through retirement.

One benefit of being a homeowner is deducting the interest on your mortgage, saving you money on taxes. But if you’re coming into retirement mortgage-free, which is the case for the majority of homeowners 65 and older, then that benefit no longer exists. Furthermore, you previously could deduct your property taxes in full even once your mortgage was paid off. But as part of the recent tax changes, the state and local tax deduction, which property taxes are part of, is now capped at $10,000. If you live in a state with high taxes, you might lose the bulk of that write-off (at least for the next seven years), thus making homeownership a less-appealing prospect.

The beauty of being retired is not being tied to a job or its location. If you want to pick up and move to a state with warmer weather or get closer to your grandchildren, you’re free to do so — provided your home isn’t holding you back. As a renter, you have the option to leave your home once your lease ends, or, in many cases, break your lease prematurely with a reasonable bit of notice. Selling a home, by contrast, could take months, and there are numerous expenses you might encounter along the way. You may, therefore, be better off unloading your home prior to retirement and buying yourself that added leeway. Renting a home in retirement may not always be the right move, but it pays to think about the benefits of renting if you’re no longer bringing home a steady paycheck.

— Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool, a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary

47


Looking to rent? Here are a few resources for all your homesharing needs: • Room mates4boom ers.com This website connects female baby boomers of similar lifestyles, backgrounds and interests searching for a roommate.

right match

The “sharing economy” is fueling an online cottage industry of nonprofit organizations and for-profit websites that match those empty nesters who have rooms to spare with potential housemates. Nonprofits, such as the National Shared Housing resource center, connect boomers to state- or grant-funded home-matching services. For-profit matching sites like Denverbased Silvernest, provide services to homeowners 50 and older for a fee. “Many baby boomers want to stay in their homes, but the harsh truth is many of them can’t afford it,” says Wendi Burkhardt, who co-founded Silvernest three years ago with a friend who was rehabbing houses to accommodate people 80 and older. Her friend noticed

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

that many boomers were living in homes with empty bedrooms while others were looking for affordable housing. He wondered: “Why can’t we match them up?’’ explains Burkhardt. “We’ve been so trained to think about aging as independence or moving into independent living ... but why wouldn’t we do this?” Burkhardt says. “God love Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (of Grace and Frankie), who set the stage for homesharing in later years.” At first, most of Silvernest’s matches were made in the Denver area, but the site is expanding and now makes 3,000 to 4,000 matches a year throughout the country, Burkhardt says. Homeowners pay $49.99 to join the site for 60 days. “We find about seven qualified matches for every homeowner, depend-

• National Shared Housing Resources Center Through this nonprofit, homeowners can get help finding prescreened renters, who pay for housesharing either financially or by helping with household tasks.

SILVERNEST; ILLUSTRATION: AMIRA MARTIN

Making the

• Silvernest Consultants find roommates, do background checks, collect rent payments and more.


ing on geography,” Burkhardt says. The average room rents for $750 a month. Most homeowners who use the site are women age 60 or older, she says. They fill out a questionnaire that covers the basics, such as whether they allow pets or smoking, and personal preferences, such as whether they have a faith preference and how they feel about sharing their kitchen. “You have to find what’s important to you,” Burkhardt tells homeowners, who are also asked whether they’re looking for a night owl or an early morning person. “An open dialogue is the key to success.” The website encourages homeowners to post photos of their home and “consider updating your décor to be appealing to a wide variety of tastes.” Once a match is made, homeowners can pay an extra fee for a full criminal background check and five-year eviction history — a major factor, Burkhardt says. “That’s what most people are concerned about.”

Looking for friend potential

SILVERNEST

“Home-sharing is getting back to something better than being on your cellphone and being isolated,” says Karen Venable, founder of Roommates4Boomers.

relationships

“Our and connections with people are what maintains our vitality.” — DR. THOMAS CUDJOE, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Venable, who lives in San Francisco, started her site in 2014 after moving in with a roommate following her divorce. Most of Venable’s 5,000 subscribers live in California and Florida, but her service is growing nationally. “It’s like Match.com: You meet somebody then you go out and see if it works,” she says. Mead — who has found five housemates over the years through Venable’s site — says she’s learned to carefully vet each potential roommate. “At first I went with my gut but over time I refined (the

process). I want absolutely no misunderstandings.” Mead’s profile specifies that her roommate should be an active woman with a full-time job (no retirees, because she works from home), who likes dogs but doesn’t have one (she has two of her own and can’t take on more) and is tidy (“My house, my rules,” she says). She interviews potential matches over tea in a public place to see whether they’re compatible. “It’s just like dating,” she says, “I ask them about their relationships, family; what kind of food do you like?” She also covers everything from sex (“not in my house,” she says), to politics (no conservatives) and religion (no proselytizing). Finally, Mead looks for a roommate who has the potential to be a friend. “I don’t require them to be my good buddy, but I want friend potential,” Mead says. Mead says her current roommate has become a friend who she invites to happy hour, and sometimes they share meals. “The thing that really bonds us are my two dogs,” Mead says. “She’s gaga for the dogs.”l Many women have formed valuable bonds through mutually beneficial living arrangements using roommate-matching sites.

49


together G E T AWAY

Taking trips with multiple generations can provide lifelong memories

PHOTO CREDIT

BY JENNIFER BRADLEY FRANKLIN

2 MAG NAME XXXXXXXXXX 50 BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


PHOTO CREDIT MIRANDA PELLICANO; MOUNTAIN SKY GUEST RANCH ILLUSTRATION:

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch

No matter your age whether 7 or 77 — spending time with loved ones can create heartwarming memories and traditions. Instead of small snippets of time centered around holidays and reunions, more extended families are choosing to vacation together. Plus, because the average life expectancy in the U.S. is more than 78 years, it’s not uncommon to have three generations on the same trip.

Jennifer Tombaugh, president of Tauck, the world’s first licensed tour operator, travels around the world, often with her mother and children. “Time is the most precious commodity we have and creating meaningful memories is one of the greatest gifts,” she says. While making sure every family member is happy and engaged can present challenges, those who make the effort find it’s worth it. Here are destinations to consider for your own multigenerational adventure:

3


G e t A w a y To g e t h e r

EMIGRANT, MONT.

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch book at the same time each year,” says patriarch Patrick Sherrington. “There are at least 10 families who have gone for 20 years and whose children have grown up alongside ours.” Families stay in rustic cabins available in varying configurations (up to three bedrooms) and gourmet meals are served in the communal dining room. The all-inclusive style and wide variety of nature-centric activities make this eco-friendly ranch a smart choice.

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch offers a wide variety of dining and outdoor excursion options — scenic, natural backdrop included.

ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES; MOUNTAIN SKY GUEST RANCH

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch (mountainsky.com) has something to pique the interest of every family member, and they have the repeat business to prove it. For 21 consecutive years, the Sherrington family has traveled from their home in England to the 17,000-acre mountain retreat in Emigrant, Mont., to spend a week riding horses to beautiful vistas, hiking, swimming in the property’s heated pool and golfing. They’re not alone. “Our friends

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


+

Plenty of activities for kids means boredom is never an issue at St. Regis Punta Mita Resort.

ST. REGIS PUNTA MITA RESORT; ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES

NAYARIT, MEXICO

St. Regis Punta Mita Resort If there needs to be a beach in view for it to feel like a vacation, it’s possible that a getaway to St. Regis Punta Mita Resort (stregispuntamita.com), just north of Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta, is a fit. The glittering Pacific is in full view of all 120 rooms and each of the three pools. Discerning adults may opt to release tension at the award-winning Remède Spa or try to beat their best golf score on either of the two Jack Nicklaus-

designed courses. For guests ages 5 to 12, La Tortuga Children’s Club hosts daily pool, art and game activities, and the property can arrange child-care services as needed. While there are high-end dining options, everyone in the family is sure to be charmed by Mita Mary Boat Bar & Bistro, a seaside riff on a food truck, serving fresh-squeezed juices and cocktails, fresh salsas and tacos prepared on an outdoor grill.

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G e t A w a y To g e t h e r

+

Disney Cruise Line has activities for family members of all ages aboard its ships.

AT SEA

Disney Cruise Line (disneycruise.com) has practically cornered the market on fun at sea for every member of the family. With their signature brand of effusive joy, the littlest grandchildren to the most seasoned traveler are all but guaranteed to be delighted. Christie Moquin, who lives in Georgia, experienced four nights aboard the Disney Dream with her 5-year-old son, her husband and her parents, who gifted the trip for Christmas. “Rather than a couple of rushed days structured by tradition during the holidays, we really got to spend time with each other,” she says of the getaway, which stopped in Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

proprietary island, Castaway Cay. Broadway-style shows and multicourse meals with wine pairings are designed to keep adults happy, and parents can check young seafarers into the nursery or older children into a club area for hours of recreation, Disney character interaction and live entertainment. Big-screen movies, multiple pools and family-friendly dining build in time for everyone to be together. Beyond the Caribbean, ships voyage to Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Coast. Looking to go farther afield? Starting in 2019, Disney will offer new sailings down France’s Seine River, with cultural and culinary excursions along the way.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE; ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES

Disney Cruise Line


tupelo.net


G e t A w a y To g e t h e r

PRO TRIP TIPS Jennifer Tombaugh, president of Tauck tour operators, created the Tauck Bridges concept 15 years ago and now the family-centric tours take guests on rail journeys through U.S. national parks, African safaris and more. Plus, she frequently travels with her four children ages 9-14 and her mother, so she’s learned a thing or two about keeping everyone happy away from home. Here are Tombaugh’s top tips for a memorable vacation for all ages:

NANTUCKET, MASS.

White Elephant Hotel Massachusetts’ Nantucket feels frozen in America’s golden age, when technology and fast-paced lives didn’t get in the way of personal connections. To return to that innocence, check into the locally owned White Elephant (whiteelephanthotel. com) boutique hotel for waterfront luxury combined with charming nostalgia, activities and amenities for every member of the family. Kids as young as 5 years old can participate in the Little

Chef Program to decorate cookies and cupcakes with the hotel’s chefs or explore the inn via a scavenger hunt around the historic property. Adults will want to explore the tiny island’s heritage with a trustee from the Nantucket Historical Association, climb to the top of the Great Point Lighthouse or walk through charming downtown neighborhoods. Make lasting family memories on a local sailboat or whale-watching tour.

+

Families will enjoy Nantucket’s quaint, small-town charm.

Get kids involved early. Ask what they’re most excited about or have them do a project to show you what they want to see. The more invested they are, the better they’ll travel. Build in extra time. You never know when you’ll discover something special like a gallery or a can’t-miss ice cream shop. Be guide wise. Choose a guide who can tell a great story. If the kids are engaged, the adults will be, too.

Set clear boundaries. Decide — and agree — on rules for electronics. Maybe they’re only allowed after dinner or on long bus rides, but whatever you do, make sure devices are charged when you give kids the green light to use them. — Jennifer Bradley Franklin

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES; WHITE ELEPHANT HOTEL

Keep moving. Make time to do physical activities the whole family will enjoy. If you’ve been sitting in a car or plane, try to find time for a bike ride or a playground visit.


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The

BOOK BOND or the

Women find strong connections in the comfort of reading clubs BY STACEY ZABLE

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018


GETTY IMAGES; PROVIDED BY STACEY ZABLE

Writer Stacey Zable’s book club

T

welve years ago, a few women in my neighborhood and I formed a book club. What started as a way to share our love of literature ended up rewarding us with long-term friendships. In between dissecting and discussing books, we navigated life together. Acting as a collective support system through trying times, we provided each other with advice on parenting, marriage and divorce, medical issues, career challenges, early retirement, and the health concerns and eventual >

59


BOOK or the BOND ?

deaths of elderly parents. Through the years, and perhaps even through the loosening of lips via the wine served during our meetings, we have learned each other’s personal highs and lows. Certainly, our book club’s longevity has helped to strengthen our personal bonds. Long-lasting book clubs seem to be typical, according to research from the 2015 Book Group Survey, presented by Readinggroupguides.com, an online resource for book clubs. More than 80 percent of survey participants belonged to a book group that met for five or more years; the largest percentage, 39 percent, met for 11 to 20 years. Among the reasons survey participants joined a book group, 96 percent said it was because they love to read, 88 percent wanted to be introduced to new books and 80 percent enjoyed the company. Even Hollywood has picked up on the female bonding that dominates today’s book clubs in this spring’s aptly named movie Book Club. Starring some of the film industry’s top actresses over age 50, including Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen and Diane Keaton, the movie weaves in the book club meetings and the risqué Fifty Shades of Grey and how it affects each woman. But the real emphasis is on their strong friendships. Art, in this case, mirrors life for real-life book club members such as New York City school teacher Karri Kaufman, 53. “Initially, the book club meetings were a place to talk about books that I enjoyed reading and to share that joy with other people that love to read,” says Kaufman. “What happened from it and why I love to go now are the friendships and camaraderie. I look forward to it every month.” Kaufman adds that during the book club’s beginnings, members would spend 75 percent of the time discussing the book and 25 percent on personal topics. Now, more than 10 years later, she says

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

the percentages have flipped, with real-life discussions dominating the meetings. Jenna Kern-Rugile initially joined a club at a local bookstore to prompt her to read more and meet new people, but it became much more for the 56-year-old who is the director of communications for a nonprofit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, N.Y. “I didn’t know we would grow as close as we have and it would become so important,” she says. “It really is a sisterhood.” And like sisters, the personalities sometimes clash. Orna Wittenberg’s book club dissolved after five years because some of the members didn’t mesh. But despite how things ended, Wittenberg, 49, who works in commercial real estate in San Diego, would love to get into another book club: “The characters and issues in books bring out topics in your own life you wouldn’t have thought to discuss and makes it easier to talk about. I miss that.” For Robin Stevens, a teacher from Margate, Fla., the books provide insight about her fellow club members. “We are more brutally honest about parts of life by sharing stories through characters,” says Stevens, 52. “It’s reading something and being real about how it affects you and your life and getting to know people on a different level.” Book club friendships can often expand into socializing beyond the regular meetings. This is true for Nadia Blake, a 58-year-old from Wilton, Conn., who works in advertising. She joined her book club because she liked the idea of talking to women with different jobs and interests outside of her own profession, and she now considers them friends. She says members have enjoyed outings such as the theater or events at the library and the women get together with their spouses once or twice a year. Blake’s advice for a successful book club is simple: “Make it whatever works for you, so that it is fun and you want to keep going back.” l

WHY DID YOU JOIN A BOOK CLUB?:

96% BECAUSE THEY LOVE TO READ

88% WANTED TO BE INTRODUCED TO NEW BOOKS

80% ENJOYED THE COMPANY

SOURCE: READINGGROUPGUIDE.COM BOOK GROUP SURVEY, 2015

GETTY IMAGES

The


BOOK CLUB BENEFITS Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, director of Hofstra University’s Counseling and Mental Health Professions Clinic in Hempstead, N.Y., and a licensed marriage and family therapist, says book clubs are a “phenomena” because of these “4 Cs”:

CONNECTION Despite technology’s ability to connect us at a moment’s notice, there has been a decrease in relationship satisfaction, says Grella-Hillebrand. “We all want to connect,” she says. “Book clubs allow us to connect through the shared experience of reading a book.”

COMMITMENT Generally speaking, women are very busy running in 100 different directions, and it’s difficult to stick to something that’s just for themselves, stresses Grella-Hillebrand. When it comes to reading, many women will want to do it but may put it off because of other tasks. If you are part of a book club, it helps you commit because you don’t want to show up at the meeting not having read the book.

CONTINUITY As a part of a book club, members know that every week at the same time, they will be there with the same people, says Grella-Hillebrand. “It’s something pleasurable to look forward to. With all the uncertainty in life and running here and there, it’s good to know that on Wednesdays at 8 p.m., I’m coming together with these women and doing something enjoyable.”

CAMARADERIE In the book club, you get together and talk about the book, but you also bond with each other. “You find out about each other’s lives and root each other on,” Grella-Hillebrand says. “You make friendships that sometimes extend beyond the book club.” — Stacey Zable


The

BOOK or the BOND ?

READING LIST Looking for a tome for your group? Check out one of these 10 favorite titles suggested by longtime book club members:

1

2

3

4

5

YEAR OF WONDERS: A NOVEL OF THE PLAGUE

ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN: THE JOURNALS OF MAY DODD

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

GONE GIRL

by Arthur Golden; Vintage Books

by Gillian Flynn; Crown Publishing Group

THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH

by Jim Fergus; St. Martin’s Griffin

by Ken Follett; Viking Books

6

7

8

9

10

THE BRIDAL CHAIR

LOVING FRANK

THE KITE RUNNER

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FOOD

Social affairs have all the ingredients for delicious gatherings BY SARAH W. CARON

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Potluck Perfection

hey’re an unlikely pair, to be sure, but lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart and hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg’s variety cooking show, Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party on VH1, speaks to the very essence of a potluck — friends and family sharing a meal where everyone contributes a dish, creating a feast. The intimate gatherings are a come-asyou-are, no-fuss, no-stress way to celebrate togetherness in all seasons. Whether you’re hosting a potluck or attending one as a guest, it’s always best to plan and prepare. At the end of the night, what everyone will remember more than


the pies, the punch or the party itself, is perhaps the most important thing of all: the people.

CATER TO THE SEASONS When temperatures drop and a rainbow of leaves provides a visual backdrop, comfort food reigns supreme. Outdoor potlucks — say, for church picnics, charity walks and tailgating — call for foods that are easy to dish up and enjoy. Think salads, sandwiches, tacos and foods on skewers. If a grill is available, consider serving burgers, hot dogs, barbecue chicken and grilled vegetables. Indoor potlucks offer

more flexibility. Soups, chilis and stews are welcome contributions. How about a pasta or chili bar with a variety of toppings? Comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese, shepherd’s pie and tater-tot casseroles are also great for sharing. As the days get warmer and longer, it’s time to relax and enjoy some fun in the sun. Spring and summer potlucks are perfect for welcoming the new seasonal rhythm. For outdoor affairs, remember to keep things simple with foods that can be scooped up and eaten without fuss. Avoid dishes that risk spoilage — like mayonnaise-based salads and deviled eggs. But if you just >

REMEMBER TO RELAX When planning a potluck party, don’t sweat the small stuff. You set the tone for the event, so just enjoy it, and your guests will, too.

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KEEP IT COOL, OR HOT If you are bringing a dish, keep in mind that foods need to be kept at the right temperature during transport. Bring warm dishes in insulated carriers or purchase inexpensive aluminum pans. If you don’t have an insulated bag, wrap sealed containers in towels and transport them in a cardboard box. A slow cooker is a great way to bring all kinds of warm dishes, including such favorites as meatballs marinara, wings and soup. It will retain heat even when FOR FULL unplugged. Check RECIPES OF with the host to see THESE DISHES whether an outlet VISIT: will be available. thanksgiving.com/ potluck Bringing something chilled like fruit kabobs or salads? Store them in an airtight container and transport in a cooler filled with ice or ice packs. For drinks, insulated pitchers and thermoses are perfect for keeping hot cocoa warm and iced tea cool. If dessert is your contribution, consider brownies, cookies, sheet cake and Rice Krispies Treats. Transport frosted desserts in cake and cupcake carriers. Perhaps most important to remember is the potluck’s purpose: communal gathering with food as the featured guest. Planned properly, your potluck can be the most organized, most delicious your friends and family have ever attended. l — Sarah W. Caron writes for Grateful, a Gannett partner that delivers authentic stories through videos, photography and words.

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SLOW COOKER PALE ALE CORN DIP

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SPIRALIZED APPLE SALAD WITH CITRUS DRESSING

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MOM’S EASY BAKED ZITI

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have to bring your grandma’s best potato salad, keep it chilled during transport and on the serving table.


HOSTING A POTLUCK Potlucks are relaxed affairs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan. The best potlucks have an element of preparation so the table doesn’t end up with four macaroni salads. Start with these tips:

CREAMY BLACK BEAN TAQUITOS

budgetbytes.com

BANANA OATMEAL FUDGE BARS

BUDGETBYTES.COM; GETTY IMAGES; CHOCOLATECOVEREDKATIE.COM; THANKSGIVING.COM

chocolatecoveredkatie.com

Decide your contributions first. The host is in charge of the flow and overall theme of the potluck. Decide what dishes you’ll make in advance. Include a protein and a vegetable, at a minimum, so guests have something substantial. Don’t forget the condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and butter. Create a sign-up sheet. Whether it’s a shared Google Doc, a Facebook event or a potluck-specific website, a signup sheet is a great way to organize contributions. Ask your guests to add the dishes they want to bring. If you prefer a more structured approach, give invitees a request list with categories and number of dishes needed. Be sure to include what you’re providing on the sign-up sheet.

CRANBERRY MARGARITA

thanksgiving.com

Set the rules. Don’t forget to let guests know what they can — and can’t — bring. Tell them if an oven will be available for

reheating dishes. Share information about any food allergies your guests may have. Get ready. Prepare the space by cleaning, organizing and deciding where food will go. Remember the drinks. Whether your guests are bringing beverages or you’re playing barkeep, have a cooler or tub filled with ice. Have a separate cooler or tub for beers or other adult beverages, and place it away from the nonalcoholic drinks. Create the vibe. Set your table with a tablecloth and all the dinnerware, including plates, eating and serving utensils and napkins. Turn on some music to set the mood. If this is an outdoor event, hang some string lights for ambiance. What about leftovers? As the party winds down, bring out foil, plastic wrap, disposable containers and plastic bags so guests can take leftovers home. 69


EXERCISE

About Face Expressive exercises can redefine your look

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he Duchess of Sussex, the glowing newlywed formerly known as Meghan Markle, famously told Birchbox.com in 2015 that she is a devotee of facial exercises to maintain her youthful appearance. But for Markle, now 36 and a natural beauty, how hard can looking that fabulous be? Perhaps we need to be looking at Madonna to see the true benefits of facial exercise or yoga. Reportedly a client of face workout guru Eva Fraser, the Material Girl, at 60, is as

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radiant as ever, with plump cheeks and beautiful eyes that lack the telltale surprised look of plastic surgery. “It makes sense. My body looks great with yoga, but my face is still aging, so how can I rejuvenate my face through yoga?” says Annelise Hagen, a yoga instructor and author of The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift. Facial exercise is not new: Traditional Chinese medicine has embraced it as a key to ageless beauty for thousands of years,

according to Dr. Mao Shing Ni, an acupuncturist and anti-aging specialist based in Santa Monica, Calif. But as more women seek natural, nonmedical ways to maintain their health, beauty and peace of mind, facial workouts, especially those combined with traditional yoga, meditation and relaxation methods, have become popular. “The benefits of regularly practicing (my) method are anti-aging, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin tone, reducing

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GENE MOZ

headaches and eye strain, relaxing tension ... face yoga also gives a holistic feeling of well-being, which can benefit mind and body,” says Danielle Collins, a U.K.-based face yoga expert whose videos include 10 Minute Natural Facelift. But does it really work? Until this year, fountain of youth seekers had to rely on anecdotal evidence of the practice’s efficacy. In January, however, researchers at Northwestern University released results from a small study that showed participants’ faces looked nearly three years younger after performing facial exercises for five months. Participants saw improvements in the fullness of their cheeks, and most important, they were happy with the results. “Assuming the findings are TRY IT! confirmed in Want to see a larger study, whether these individuals now face-contorting, have a low-cost, age-defying exercises will nontoxic way for work for you? looking younger Check out Color to augment lins’ videos at other cosmetic or faceyoga expert.com anti-aging treatand Hagen’s ments they may workout at be seeking,” says yogaface.net. Dr. Murad Alam, vice chairman of dermatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. For Hagen and Collins, who have spent years teaching their clients that odd-looking facial expressions can be key to a relaxed, happy, youthful visage, the study is affirming. “It’s great to see scientific evidence to prove what I’ve seen for over a decade. Face yoga works wonders,” Collins says. “I feel really validated that people on the medical side are moving (toward) what I’ve known all along,” Hagen says. “It’s magic when we connect to the side of ourselves that is the fountain of youth, and it’s easily accessible. It’s why it works so effectively. You can see results instantaneously.”

PUT YOUR BEST FACE FORWARD Noticing that your jawline isn’t as sculpted as it once was? Are your laugh lines more like frowns? Face yoga experts Annelise Hagen and Danielle Collins share their favorite exercises to revitalize your look.

Problem area: Sagging jowls Exercise: Baby Bird How to do it: Tilt your head back and look up at the ceiling. Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow. Keeping your eyes on the ceiling, tilt your head slightly to the right and swallow. Then tilt your head slightly to the left and swallow. Repeat exercise three times.

Problem area: Crows feet and sagging eyelids Exercise: Temple Dancer Eyes How to do it: While keeping the rest of your face motionless, open your eyes wide. Look slowly to the left, then back to center, then slowly to the right. Repeat 10 times.

Problem area: Smile lines and sagging cheeks Exercise: Advanced Pufferfish How to do it: Puff both cheeks out full of air, using one hand to press the skin around the lips to add resistance and prevent lines there. Gently tap one cheek with the free hand and move the hand across to the other cheek. Move hand from side to side for 30 seconds.

Problem area: Nasal labial lines Exercise: Tongue in Cheek How to do it: Place tongue inside the cheek by the mouth corner. Slowly bring the tongue up inside the cheek, under the area between the mouth and the nose. Do this eight times. Repeat on the other side.

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TOOLS TO GET YOU SWEATING

In or Out

Whether you’re new to working out or a longtime fitness buff, here are some resources to take your goals to the next level:

Choose the best scene for your fitness routine BY CINDY KUZMA

HIT THE GYM Fitness facilities offer convenience, variety and specially designed equipment — and perhaps most importantly, professionals who can show you how to use it. Most offer classes or a free session or two with a personal trainer when you sign up, notes Adam Son, a certified personal trainer at AchieveFit in Ann Arbor, Mich. Because they’re climate-controlled and free of pollen and hazards such as potholes and sidewalk cracks, gyms often work well if you have allergies or limited mobility and other risk factors for illness or injury.

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They’re also handy on hot or rainy days, and enable you to easily stay hydrated, Sudimack says. A big drawback is that indoor workouts can become monotonous or boring. But a little research can help you find a place that offers programming you like, Son says — for instance, dance- or water-based fitness classes. Search online or drop by in person to get a feel for the facility.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE Outdoor workouts mean you never have to wait for a machine or worry you’ll feel awkward in a younger, fit crowd, Allen says. Plus, they’re typically low-cost or free. Changes in weather and terrain as you hike, bike or paddle keep your heart pumping and your mind engaged. Adding in arm dips, pushups and lunges off a park bench or sturdy ledge can strengthen your body all over, says Oris Martin, fitness director at Acts Retirement-Life Communities in Boca Raton, Fla. While you’re at it, soak in your surroundings: “Spending more time in nature gives us a unique sense of peace and joy,” not to mention sunshine that your body turns into vitamin D, Martin says. You may also have the opportunity to meet your neighbors and feel more connected to your community. Regardless of which type of workout you choose, it’s best to consult with your doctor before you begin. Then, start with a pace and duration that seems manageable and gradually add time, distance or challenges such as heavier weights or faster intervals as you improve.

Dynamic Aging. Active octogenarian Joan Virginia Allen is a co-author of the book Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility and the blog Dynamic Aging 4 Life (dynamicaging4life. com) — which explain how to incorporate more motion in your day for better health.

Fitbit activity trackers. The Flex 2 ($59.95) tracks your steps, calories burned and sleep; or splurge on the Versa ($199.95) for GPS, heart rate tracking and integration with the Fitbit Coach app. fitbit.com

Aaptiv. This app puts a coach in your headphones, providing guided indoor or outdoor workouts with music (Free, but paid subscriptions for on-demand classes are available). iOS 10.0 or later; Android 5.0 and above.

PROVIDED BY THE COMPANIES

J

oan Virginia Allen has just about done it all on the fitness front, from Jane Fonda videos to weight training to race walking half marathons. Now, at age 80, the Ventura, Calif., resident regularly climbs trees, teaches movement classes and has a goal of hiking every national park in the U.S. Allen’s tale makes clear there’s no expiration date on health and fitness, and that you don’t have to choose a single type of physical activity. And it’s never too late to start; anyone at any age can benefit, body and mind, from beginning a new exercise program, says Joseph Sudimack, physical therapy technology program director at Carrington College in Mesa, Ariz. Indoor gym memberships and outdoor activities — from walking and hiking to canoeing and kayaking — each have benefits and drawbacks, Sudimack says. Weigh the pros and cons so you can choose the best option for you.


WILLIS ALLEN

Joan Virginia Allen

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RELATIONSHIPS

Genuine Girlfriends The search for authentic female friendships BY MARY BOWERMAN

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s people age, their criteria for friendships may change as they search for quality relationships to encourage and help sustain them through life’s difficult times. But in a world full of fast and casual interactions, how do you find female friends who truly enrich your life? There are strategies women can use to make their relationships more uplifting and judge when a friendship is no longer working. Here are some factors to assess when examining your circle of friends:

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WHAT DO YOU WANT? What women look for in a friend tends to change throughout their lives. A college student may want fun, popular girlfriends, but later crave friendships based on something more meaningful, according to psychologist Harriet Lerner, author of Why Won’t You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts. “In general, it’s good to be on the lookout for friends who are trustworthy, reliable, caring, loyal and who can give us wise and honest feedback without being judgmental,” Lerner says. “We should be on the lookout for friends who can celebrate our successes and support us through the inevitable difficulties that life plunks down on our path.” Some girlfriends leave you feeling more exhausted than fulfilled at the end of a conversation, but it doesn’t have to be that way, according to life coach Pam Bauer. She says women should take inventory of the people in their lives and what sort of effect those relationships have. “When you look at the people you spend the most time with, how much time do they spend complaining, criticizing, whining, gossiping?” she says.

“Those people define themselves as a victim of their circumstances or others around them and blame others for their situation without focusing on the problem. Those are people who are probably not going to be very good at lifting you up.” Lerner says friends should be able to handle the tough times along with the good. “Don’t look for the kind of positivity that doesn’t make room for the whole range of emotions that make us human,” Lerner says. “Sure, we should look for friends with whom we can laugh and have fun, but it’s a serious limitation when that same friend can’t be emotionally present with our pain and sadness.” While you don’t have to end a friendship with someone who is negative, you should ask yourself whether it is truly worth salvaging, and if so, have an honest conversation with that person, says Bauer. And sometimes it’s just time to say goodbye, according to Lerner. “If a friend evokes bad feelings, leaves us feeling smaller or less worthy, or is simply more high maintenance than we have the tolerance for, it may be time to disband — or at least take a lot more distance,” she says.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT Chemistry plays an important part in friendship, Lerner says. “Do you feel comfortable and relaxed being with this particular friend? Can you be who you are and not have to leave an important part of yourself at home? When you connect with this person, do you leave feeling more empowered, zestful, capable and enlivened — or the opposite? Is the friendship good for you?” Likewise, Bauer says people know in their gut if a relationship is truly negative or positive. She refers to it as a “shackles off or on” scenario. “You have shackles on when you are around someone that ... it feels negative with, or draining,” she says. “But when you are around someone where it feels really good for you and gives a sense of freedom and ease, that’s the shackles off feeling, and that’s what you are really looking for in a relationship.”

LOOK IN THE MIRROR If you want to be friends with women who lift you up, you have to fulfill that role for others as well. Bauer says you have to take a hard look at yourself and ask how you are behaving in your relationships with other women. If you aren’t acting the way you want a friend to act, ask yourself if you are open to being vulnerable and authentic with other women. “We often go through life with this veneer of ‘I am fine, everything is good,’ while we hide a sadness or struggle, so going through life with that veneer means there is no opening in which somebody can give us help,” Bauer says. “When you take off that mask, you give others permission to do the same, and that is where true connection happens.”

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Intimacy and Aging Older adults can continue to enjoy healthy, active sex lives BY STEPHANIE DICKRELL

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eople are living longer, and many are entering their later years in better health, with healthy libidos to

match. According to a 2017 University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, 40 percent of U.S. adults ages 65-80 surveyed said they are having sex — and 73 percent are satisfied with their sex lives. Among seniors with spouses or partners, 54 percent say they are sexually active. The poll periodically surveys older Americans on a range of topics. The sex survey was conducted online and included 1,002 randomly selected participants. It received funding from AARP, the aging advocacy group. The survey shows that sex declines with age and illness. It also finds that older men claim to be more sexually active and sexually interested than older women, but women report more sexual satisfaction. Overall, the results show that “sex is an important part of the lives of older people and a part that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” says sociologist Erica Solway, senior project manager at the University of Michigan and associate director of the poll. These findings are good news for older adults. Research has found that sex and intimacy are associated with emotional benefits, such as decreased levels of depression, increased psychological well-being, overall quality of life and self-esteem. But life, circumstances and illness can interfere with the ability to have or enjoy sex. In some cases, the loss of a long-term partner may mean entering into a dating (and sex) scene

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that is very different from 40 years ago.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER: • Be aware of physiology changes. Osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and just simply getting older can change the way the body works and how it reacts to stimuli. People should consider changes in desire for intimacy and physiology as possible symptoms of something more serious, and cause for concern. • Mental health is a factor. Depression, anxiety and other conditions can affect desire. These might appear after the loss of a spouse, says Phyllis Greenberg, associate professor in the gerontology department at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. “Being able to have appropriate touch and comfort with somebody else ... that’s a big change for them,” she says. • Women have more trouble finding partners. Heterosexual women draw the short straw when it comes to intimacy and aging. They tend to outlive their husbands, and the ratio of older women to men can sometimes be five to one, says Greenberg. “Men are a hot commodity,” she says. “Sometimes, they get really nervous about it, women coming at them.” • STDs and HIV are still an issue. Many people assume since pregnancy isn’t a possibility, there’s no need for a condom. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its sexually transmitted disease surveillance report, cited 82,938 cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia among Americans 45 and older in 2016. Left untreated, some can lead to

more serious issues such as chronic pain and risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. “They don’t think to ask, ‘OK, you show me your test and I’ll show you mine,’ ” says Greenberg. “If somebody refuses to use a condom, that should be a big red flag.” In 2015, people age 50 and older accounted for 17 percent of the 39,513 HIV diagnoses in the United States, according to the CDC. The number of older people with HIV is growing, Greenberg says. Part of that is because there are better medications helping people with HIV and AIDS live longer, but it’s


FINDING SATISFACTION Two in five older people say they’re sexually active, but that number decreases with age: Age 65-70

46% Age 71-75

39% Age 76-80

IN 2015, people age 50 and older accounted for 17 percent of the 39,513 HIV diagnoses in the U.S.

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SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

also likely the virus is being passed among sexually active seniors. • Talking about sex can be awkward. The National Poll

on Healthy Aging confirms something Joan Price, public speaker and author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, says she hears often: Older people rarely discuss sex with their doctors, even when they are having problems. The poll found only 17 percent had discussed sex with a health care provider in the past two years. • There are solutions. Consulting with a physician about a loss of desire could mean a medication

change, and lubricants can make intercourse more comfortable. Addressing underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety may solve some problems. And, it’s not just about intercourse. There are other ways couples can enjoy intimacy. Too many people believe that “if things don’t work the way they used to, we might as well give up on sex,” Price says. — Kim Painter contributed to this story.

25% More older women are satisfied with their sex lives than older men: Women

43% Men

31% SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN NATIONAL POLL ON HEALTHY AGING

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CAREERS

Relevant Experience Avoiding age discrimination on the job BY ERIC TITNER

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and companies, in many others, age is perceived as a weakness — a sign of decreasing relevance, energy and understanding of how the modern world (including current business needs, technology and consumer demands) works. In years past, companies relied on older, experienced employees to hold positions of power and decisionmaking. Now, they’re increasingly recruiting fresh, young minds offering

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innovative perspectives to steer employees toward success in our rapidly evolving, technology-centric world. So, where does this leave older employees? The truth is, the general outlook isn’t black and white — many will figure out how to avoid age discrimination and find professional success, while others will struggle along the way. While it may be impossible to completely control how the professional world

perceives you as you get older, there are things you can do to hopefully avoid age discrimination. Whether you’ve been in your current position for years or are job hunting for your next move, use the following strategies to avoid age discrimination in your professional life:

STAY UP TO DATE The workplace is quickly evolving, and those who work to remain relevant are much more likely to keep a

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ometimes we’re judged on things that are beyond our control — this is true in all facets of life, including the workplace, where one of the biggest reversals in recent decades is the perception of age. At one time, age was considered a valuable commodity among employees — an indication of experience, wisdom and know-how. While this is still true in some industries


place in it. Those who are resistant to change or unsure how to evolve will have a much more difficult road ahead of them. Regardless of your age, master the current technology used by your office and industry; be flexible and get comfortable with a new agile and lean workplace environment (this may mean working remotely at a work-share facility instead of having your own office); and even follow current styles of professional behavior and dress so that you fit in (get casual and ditch the tie and blazer if you’re the only one wearing them). Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons, and make sure you show that you’re more than ready for whatever changes are on the horizon.

EMBRACE CHANGE Many old rules and ways of doing things are being tossed out the window and replaced by new approaches and innovations. By not only staying on top of these updates, but embracing them, you’ll continually reassert your professional relevance and value and increase your chances of being viewed as an asset. Demonstrate that you’re not only the kind of employee who can handle change, but can also thrive when it occurs, and even lead the charge forward. For example, think of ways your company can take advantage of current and

emerging innovation and show the powers that be that you can help steer your company to future success. It’ll be difficult to deny your value as an employee if you’re constantly offering bold new ideas that help your company face the future. When all else fails — assert your rights. If you’re doing all you can to remain a current and valuable part of the modern workplace but are still facing seemingly insurmountable hurdles, the bottom line is that age discrimination is illegal. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers over the age of 40 from discrimination on the basis of age. If you feel that you’re being unfairly discriminated against because of your age, know your rights and options and don’t be afraid to take action.

THE BOTTOM LINE While getting older can present new challenges for navigating the work world, you don’t have to let your age wholly define you as an employee or job candidate, and you shouldn’t allow yourself to be a victim of age discrimination. When the wave of change hits your industry or company (and there’s a good chance it already has), will you sink or swim? Take charge of your professional future. — Eric Titner is an editor and content creator with The Job Network.

TIPS FOR OLDER JOB SEEKERS Navigating the job market can be tricky, regardless of what stage you’re at in your career. But there’s no question that older job seekers — namely, those within five to 10 years of retirement — have unique challenges. Let’s face it: Although age shouldn’t play a role in a company’s hiring decisions, it does. Businesses often sink countless hours and money into onboarding new employees. Unfair as it may seem, it’s understandable that a company might prefer to invest in a 45-year-old, who could, conceivably, stay put another 20 years, over a 62-year-old, who might be planning to retire within a few years. If you’re in your late 50s or 60s and find yourself seeking employment, you’ll need to be particularly strategic in your approach to getting hired. If you go about it the right way, you stand a better chance of overcoming those barriers and landing a solid job. Here are a few pointers that can help: 1. LIMIT WHAT YOU PUT ON YOUR RESUME There’s no need to include every position you’ve held since graduation on your resume. It’s unfortunate but true that companies might discount older applicants by virtue of their age alone. Making that age more ambiguous on an otherwise strong resume may result in an in-person interview. 2. EMPHASIZE RECENT AND RELEVANT EXPERIENCE You may not want to reference specific years of employment, but you’ll likely need to talk about the work you did in the distant past. To avoid dating yourself and lowering your chances of getting hired, emphasize the work you did during the last 10 years of your career, and talk up the skills you’ll bring to the table if you are chosen. 3. CREATE A LINKEDIN PROFILE It’s no secret that LinkedIn is an outstanding resource for job searchers of all ages. But establishing a presence on LinkedIn won’t just help you network, it’ll also send employers a message that you haven’t fallen behind the times, and that you’re not afraid of the internet. 4. NETWORK LIKE CRAZY If you’re a more seasoned member of the workforce, chances are you’ve made your share of connections over time. Tapping those contacts could be the most vital move you’ll make in your quest for a job. Knowing someone on the inside at a company might allow you to get your foot in the door sooner than applicants without those connections. — Maurie Backman writes for The Motley Fool, a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary.

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Silver Lining Older employees are being offered flexible options to keep them working BY PAUL DAVIDSON

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fter 36 hectic years as a primary care physician, Michael Mandel was looking forward to a laid-back retirement crammed with lots of golf and volunteering. Then the phone rang. The CEO of Richmond, Va.-based St. Mary’s Hospital, a sister division and next-door neighbor to Mandel’s practice, asked whether he’d be interested in a job as the facility’s medical director for care management. He would advise doctors on decisions such as whether Medicare patients should be admitted to the

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hospital overnight for observation or longer term. So, for the past three years, Mandel has been putting in 32 hours-a-week and enjoying a semiretirement that mixes a healthy allotment of golf with the rewards of a working life. “No way did I think I’d be working at 70 years old,” Mandel says. “But the job has worked out so well.”

WORKER SHORTAGE Faced with a wave of baby boomer retirements and a worsening labor shortage, many employers

are trying to hold on to their older workers, persuade some to return after retirement and even recruit those retired from other companies. They’re offering flexible arrangements that include part-time schedules and phased retirements that gradually reduce hours. And they’re often receptive to work-athome setups. “If you have good employees, you want to keep them,” says Jacquelyne James, co-director of the Boston College Center on Aging and Work. Older workers are often mistakenly branded as burned out and not technically savvy, says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in Philadelphia. In fact, he says, many have lower rates of absenteeism, less turnover, better job performance and adapt well to new technology.

JAY PAUL

CAREERS


retirees to stay on, according to a 2018 survey by the National Association of Manufacturers.

employees are eligible to retire each year. So the company launched a Returning Retirees Program that employs 160 former workers in AMERICANS ARE part-time roles. WORKING LONGER Mark King, 58, a former human reBecause a growing portion of sources and labor relations manager, workers are delaying retirement, retired to Charleston, S.C., last July the companies have a ready labor for about four months, spending his pool. More than half of Americans days running, biking and kayaking. expect to work past age 65 or don’t But “I missed being around people to plan to retire, according the extent I was before,” to the Transamerica he says. So he accepted survey. They’re healthier the company’s offer and living longer, and for a three-month gig many need the extra transitioning employees income after enduring of one subsidiary that long layoffs in the was sold and a second of manufacturing recession, James says. that was combined with companies encourage Also, the Social Security another firm in a joint potential retirees retirement age has been venture. to continue rising. About 20 percent “It’s very good for me working of Americans 65 and to keep engaged,” he SOURCE: NATIONAL older are working or says. ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS looking for a job, up Some companies from about 15 percent in bring on board workers 2006, according to the Labor Departwho have retired from other firms. ment and AARP. In the insurance industry, 25 percent Mandel was approached about of the workforce is near retirement the medical director position as part age, but only 4 percent of millennials of an initiative by the Bon Secours have expressed interest in the field, Health System, the parent company according to studies by McKinsey, the of both his practice and St. Mary’s management consulting firm, and Hospital. The Hartford, an insurance company. For years, the nonprofit has given many retiring nurses and RETIRE FROM THE OFFICE, pharmacists the opportunity to work NOT FROM THE WORK part time, and about a year ago it Baby boomers “don’t necessarexpanded the offer to workers in all ily want to retire from work,” says occupations, says Jim Godwin, Bon Sharon Emek, who founded Work Secours’ vice president of human At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE), resources. a staffing agency that places retired To coax older workers to stay, insurance executives in full-time and Bon Secours modified its pension part-time, work-at-home insurance benefits so employees aren’t penalindustry jobs. “They want to retire ized for working part time in later from the office.” years, Godwin says. The Philadelphia ContributionMandel was enticed by the posiship, the nation’s oldest insurance tion in part because of its financial company, has hired some of its own benefits. He says he’s earning close retirees as well as WAHVE recruits to to his former salary while putting in work from home as customer service about half the hours. reps and claims adjusters. “They have the skill set,” says SOME RETIREES ARE Kathleen Rosati, a human resources COMING BACK executive for the company. “They At Michelin North America, based have the knowledge. They don’t need in Greenville, S.C., 40 percent of to be retrained.”

35%

Michael Mandel

MORE FIRMS ACCOMMODATE OLDER WORKERS The share of employers with strategies to retain and recruit older workers is still limited, partly because of the biases, James says. But it’s growing and expected to pick up as the low 3.8 percent unemployment rate intensifies worker shortages. Last year, about a quarter of U.S. workers said their employers accommodated flexible work arrangements, up from 19 percent in 2015, according to a survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Many firms are weighing such policies. The efforts are pronounced in industries with large numbers of workers approaching retirement age, including health care, manufacturing, insurance, accounting and engineering. To address worker shortages, 35 percent of manufacturing companies encourage potential

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RETIREMENT

Luxury Living These aren’t your grandparents’ retirement homes BY LISA A. BEACH

A

fter swimming laps in the saltwater pool, you head to the spa for a Swedish massage. Later, you’re meeting friends for dinner at the on-site gourmet restaurant. The next day, you’re booked solid: an early tee time followed by an afternoon ceramics workshop. You might even take in an evening concert.

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It might sound like an activitypacked vacation at a luxe resort, but it’s actually a typical day at a new breed of senior-living communities. If the phrase “retirement home” conjures up images of bingo games and oatmeal, think again. The latest trend in senior living focuses on luxury, resort-style leisure with top-notch amenities and a full slate of

activities such as horseback riding, gardening, travel and golfing. What’s the appeal of these highend retirement communities? “They offer older adults an incredibly convenient and flexible lifestyle, all in a high-quality, maintenance-free environment,” says Ron Jennette, president and CEO of Texas-based Methodist Retirement Communities. “I think


1

THE MATHER Evanston, Ill.

Situated just a few blocks from the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, The Mather is a pedestrian’s paradise. Residents can meander through walking paths and beautiful gardens in this lushly landscaped community or stroll to shopping, dining and cultural activities nearby. The Mather offers oneto two-bedroom apartments, and entrance fees range from $400,000 to more than $2 million.

THE MATHER

Amenities: 10,000-square-foot spa and fitness center with a nearly Olympic-size heated pool and 24-hour fitness classes; movie theater; library; restaurants; live concert performances; and cultural excursions to the theater

there’s a misperception that when older adults move into a community, they must compromise autonomy and freedom for services, care and security. In reality, residents have greater flexibility to pursue their interests because they don’t have to worry about the day-to-day maintenance that comes with homeownership.” Luxury retirement communi-

ties offer a spectrum of housing choices, ranging from independent living to skilled nursing. While some active seniors opt for independent-living apartments, townhomes, condos and singlefamily houses, others want the reassurance of a Continuing Care Retirement Community — an option that allows residents to “age in place.” Residents move in

while they’re still able to function independently, and then tap into on-site assisted living accommodations and skilled nursing as needed. The common thread? These upscale communities can make you feel like you’re on a permanent vacation. Take a look at just a few of the fabulous luxury senior-living communities around the country:

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IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU? Before making the financial commitment that luxury senior living requires, do your research and ask yourself these questions:

SOURCES: SENIORLIVING.COM, COVENANT SHORES (MERCER ISLAND, WASH.)

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2

RIO VERDE COMMUNITY AND GOLF CLUB Rio Verde, Ariz.

This 760-acre community borders the Tonto National Forest, Four Peaks mountain range and McDowell Mountain Regional Park, giving residents beautiful vistas and ample reason to get outside and play. Rio Verde offers 980 custom-built homes, townhomes and villas ranging from less than $200,000 to more than $1 million. Amenities: Two 18-hole golf courses; tennis; pickleball; bocce ball; art and dance classes; pool and water aerobics; fitness center and classes; massage services; library; book clubs; charity groups; events and activities such as comedy shows, cooking classes, wine dinners, cycling and horseback riding

3

COVENANT SHORES

Mercer Island, Wash. Minutes from the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle sits the waterfront property of Covenant Shores. This 12-acre community offers 208 apartment homes for residential living, 32 assisted living, 15 memorysupport assisted living, and 43 skilled nursing beds ranging from $91,000 for a studio to $654,000 for a custom twobedroom. Amenities: Private marina on Lake Washington; scenic walking paths; putting green; restaurants; fitness center; Jacuzzi; card and game room; creative arts center; 60+ clubs; wood shop; gardening; watercolor painting; lakefront barbecues; bridge; line dancing; kayaking and photography

GEORGE GRUEL; COVENANT SHORES

Can you afford it? You need to look at the longterm costs before signing on the dotted line. ••• Do you like the people in the community? Take a tour. Talk to residents. Can you see yourself interacting with these people on a daily basis? ••• Is the staff qualified? If you are thinking about an assisted living or retirement home, be sure the staff is qualified to handle your medical needs. ••• Ask about violations. Be sure housing is up to code and look into any past health citations. ••• What is the overall financial strength of the senior living organization? ••• What is the occupancy level? Are there a lot of empty apartments or is the complex somewhat full? ••• How long has the staff been working at the community?


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Trilogy® received the highest numerical score in the proprietary Lifestory Research study for years 2013 - 2018. Your experiences may vary. Visit lifestoryresearch.com. update with full global legal: Construction: SHALC GC, INC. (AZ ROC#291056) (FL #CBC1260716) (NC #75061) (NV #0080574) (VA #2705152813) (WA #SHALCGI863P9). Shea Homes Limited Partnership (CA CSLB #855368). Shea Homes, Inc. (CA CSLB #672285). SHSC GC, Inc. (CA CSLB #1012096). Sales: Shea Homes Marketing Company (CalBRE #01378646) (FL #CQ1034437). Shea Communities Marketing Company (AZ DRE #CO001121000) (NC #C25840) (NV #B.1002134.CORP) (WA #19548). Homes in Jubilee, Lake Frederick, Lake Norman, Las Vegas, Orlando, Rio Vista, Tehaleh, Vineyards, and Vistancia locations are intended for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older, with certain exceptions. Ocala is a 55+ community, with select neighborhoods open to residents of all ages. Encanterra, Verde River, and Wickenburg Ranch are all-ages communities with select 55+ neighborhoods. Monarch Dunes and Rice Ranch are all-ages communities. Ocala, Verde River, and Wickenburg Ranch contain golf courses that are planned to be private. Use of the golf course and club is at the pleasure of the club owner, and homeowners must purchase a separate golf membership from the course owner. Polo Club is private. Homeowners must purchase a separate membership from the club owner. Pricing does not include options, elevation, or lot premiums, effective date of publication and subject to change without notice. All square footages and measurements are approximate and subject to change without notice. IN ARIZONA, A PUBLIC REPORT IS AVAILABLE ON THE STATE REAL ESTATE DEPARTMENT WEBSITE. This is not intended to be an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy real estate to residents of any state or jurisdiction prohibited by law. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Equal Housing Opportunity. Models are not an indication of racial preference.


RETIREMENT

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ATRIA WEST 86 New York City

Set on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just a few steps from Riverside Park, Atria West 86 offers the ultimate metropolitan lifestyle for older adults who crave all that “the city that never sleeps” has to offer. This pet-friendly community offers studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from $7,730 (studio) to $18,000 (premium two-bedroom) per month, and appeals to seniors looking for sophisticated city living. Amenities: Penthouse salon and spa; rooftop terrace with a fitness center and exercise classes; gourmet restaurants; library; more than 200 monthly events including live performances from the Julliard School and the Jazz Foundation; renown speakers; art classes; writing workshops; trips to Broadway shows and museums

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THE LANGFORD AT COLLEGE STATION

College Station, Texas

Amenities: Pebble Creek Country Club social membership; wellness classes; state-of-the-art fitness studio; educational events; parties; Bible studies; gardening; multipurpose room; beauty salon; barber shop; game/computer lounge; walking paths; restaurant-style dining; clubhouse

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

ATRIA WEST 86; THE LANGFORD

Open this year, the newly built 12-acre, pet-friendly community is nestled near the Texas A&M campus. It offers large (starting at 1,000 square feet), independent living condo-style flats, assisted living apartment homes, and suites ranging from $350,000 to $500,000. Each building includes a porch and spacious common area ideal for those who want to entertain and socialize.


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RETIREMENT

Retire at Sea Life aboard a cruise ship might be a viable alternative to assisted living BY CHRISTY BIEBER

D

uring retirement, there may come a time when maintaining your current household just becomes too difficult. When the yardwork and housecleaning start to overwhelm, or when you begin to struggle to get meals on the table, you might consider a common option: assisted living. Unfortunately, assisted living communities can be very expensive and, for some, the move signals a loss of independence and the end to a retirement spent traveling and enjoying life. But, assisted living isn’t the only option for those who find their household responsibilities too burdensome. There’s an alternative that could be less expensive while providing some of the same perks and benefits: life on the high seas. That’s right. Living on a cruise ship could be a lowercost option offering similar amenities provided by assisted living facilities, such as all-you-can-eat meals, a swimming pool for low-impact exercise, regular companionship, entertainment and even access to onboard doctors. How does living on a cruise ship compare with assisted living? Here are a few ways:

Cruise ship living is an attractive alternative because, in many cases, the costs of cruising are lower than the costs of assisted living facilities, which average around $3,759 per month, according to the Genworth Cost of Care survey. This is around $45,000 annually. >

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GETTY IMAGES (2)

COST COMPARISON


Cruise ships sailing in Santorini, Greece

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RETIREMENT

COMPARABLE AMENITIES When considering cruise ship life, it’s important to evaluate whether it can provide the same level of service as an assisted living facility. The good news is, in most cases, the assistance is fairly comparable. Residents at assisted living

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BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

facilities often have independent apartments or rooms, and the help they receive from the staff is typically limited to medication management, transportation, housekeeping services, entertainment and some meals. Cruise ships offer similar amenities to paying passengers of all ages. Most have all-inclusive food offerings, and there are regular social activities aboard the ship, including games and shows. Many ships also have onboard pharmacy services as well as infirmaries with doctors and nurses. Medical staff are typically on-call 24 hours daily for emergencies, and health care facilities on most major cruise ships are largely comparable to ambulatory care centers. While there is a cost to obtain medications or use the services of the ship’s infirmary, health care services typically are not included at an assisted living facility, either. Medicare pays for covered services provided on cruise ships if those services are obtained within six hours of a U.S. port, although visiting a doctor covered by Medicare is easier for those residing at a U.S.-based facility than for someone at sea. Travel insurance can also be purchased to cover both treatment aboard the ship and more costly services, such as helicopter transport to a U.S. hospital in case of a serious medical emergency. For people who need a higher level of service than a nursing home can offer, or for those with complicated-to-manage medical conditions who need to see a doctor regularly, cruise ship living is not the answer. But for someone who is relatively healthy, but can no longer handle the demands of caring for a residence and wants a fun alternative, a cruise ship may just be the ideal retirement option. l — Christy Bieber writes for The Motley Fool, a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary.

GENE SLOAN (4)

The nightly cost of a cruise, on the other hand, averages $100 per night or less. Royal Caribbean 12-night cruises of the Southern Caribbean, sailing in late 2018 and available for $789 per person, are just $66 per night. For a couple traveling together, some lines offer discounts of 50 percent for the second passenger, lowering combined costs dramatically. Senior discounts, points for frequent cruising and booking with a rewards credit card reduces costs even further, especially if you opt out of pricey extras like alcoholic drinks or shore excursions. Not all ships allow full-time residents onboard, but many cruise lines make accommodations for retirees who want to become long-term passengers and remain on the same ship for months or even years at a time. There are also options like Oceania’s Around the World voyage, a 180-day cruise scheduled annually from January to July. For adventurous types looking for the very best prices, moving from ship to ship seeing different areas of the world allows for extra enjoyment at an affordable cost. If you book cruises leaving from the same departure ports, you’ll keep transportation costs low. While this makes it impractical to own many possessions, paying for an on-shore storage facility is an option at less than $200 monthly. When combined with an annual cost of a $100 per night accommodation, expenses of around $38,900 for ship cruising and storage are more than $6,000 cheaper than the average assisted living facility.


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RETIREMENT

$ 1

How to build or bolster your retirement nest egg BY ADAM STONE

S

ean O’Neill has a simple philosophy when it comes to saving for retirement: “As long as you are committed, you can do it.” For most people, retirement is more of a marathon than a sprint, says O’Neill, first vice president of RBC Wealth Management in Annapolis, Md. “It’s about staying the course, having a plan and staying with it. The law of averages eventually takes hold: The longer you stay invested, the more predictable your returns,” he says. It’s best to start saving young, but even those who get a late start or run into unexpected turbulence can still meet their goals of a comfortable retirement. “The process works. There will be bumps in the road — life happens — but if you work with a financial planner and keep them informed, they can help you make the needed adjustments,” O’Neill says. Financial planners share strategies for three scenarios you might face while trying to reach your retirement goals:

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Savings strategy: “With less time to retirement, you may want to put contributions into a lower risk fund to ensure your money will stay safe if the market takes a negative turn,” says Katie Ross, education and development manager at American Consumer Credit Counseling in Auburndale, Mass. Ramp it up: The maximum annual 401(k) contribution for those 50 and older is $24,500. Go all in if you can. Pitfalls and perils: Don’t be tempted. Tax penalties hit hard if you dip into retirement savings before the minimum age of 59 ½.

GETTY IMAGES

Advance Planning

AHEAD OF THE GAME: 50 YEARS OLD WITH A HEALTHY 401(K) PLAN


Moving is the best medicine. Keeping active and losing weight are just two of the ways that you can fight osteoarthritis pain. In fact, for every pound you lose, that’s four pounds less pressure on each knee. For information on managing pain, go to fightarthritispain.org.


RETIREMENT

2

NO NEST EGG? It’s still possible to pull off that retirement plan

LATE STARTER: IN YOUR 40s WITH LITTLE OR NO SAVINGS

Some people have no choice but to retire without any savings. Here’s what to do if you’re one of them:

Savings strategy: Set a goal and get going. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, start using it. If not, consider opening an IRA.

cheaper mortgage rate.” Put the balance into savings, Repak advises. Pitfalls and perils: When children and grandchildren ask for a handout or loan, it’s OK to say no.

Get a part-time job once you leave your full-time one: Maybe working a side hustle isn’t feasible while you’re employed on a full-time basis. But once you leave that 9-to-5 job behind, you may find working a few hours a week relatively manageable, even if your energy level isn’t what it used to be. Imagine you’re able to earn $15 an hour and manage to put in just six hours of work per week. That’s another $4,680 to work with on a yearly basis. Remember, the employment doesn’t have to be work in the classic sense. You can take a hobby you enjoy, like gardening or baking, and turn it into a money-making opportunity. And while the extra cash will certainly help, just as importantly, working a little during retirement will give you something to do with your time, thus preventing you from spending money needlessly.

3 BIG SETBACK: FACING A FINANCIAL CRISIS SUCH AS A JOB LOSS OR DIVORCE Savings strategy: Do a complete financial audit to understand how much you can actually afford to save. Set a realistic goal. Ramp it up: If you have a little extra, pay off high-interest credit card debt to free up funds for savings. Pitfalls and perils: Avoid indulgences. “The old adage of saving your Starbucks money is not to be taken lightly,” says

94

Loreen Gilbert, president of Irvine, Calif.-based WealthWise Financial Services. In fact, at $3 per day or $1,000 per year, that money invested versus spent could become serious money.”

BEST YEARS I FALL / WINTER 2018

Slash your retirement budget as much as possible: There are certain expenses you’ll face in retirement that are pretty much unavoidable, such as housing and transportation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to lower your major expenses, thereby stretching your income. Consider downsizing your living space, getting rid of a vehicle you no longer need for a daily commute or moving to a less expensive part of the country to lower your overall bills. — Arielle O’Shea writes for Nerdwallet.com, a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary.

GETTY IMAGES

Ramp it up: For a big boost, “cut your housing expenses by 15 percent. It is the largest expense for most people,” says Steve Repak, author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money. “You may be able to save hundreds of dollars each month by shopping for a

Wait until 70 to file for Social Security: Maybe your full-time income doesn’t currently allow for much savings and working a side gig to drum up extra cash just isn’t in the cards. If that’s the case, but you’re able to stay at your job until 70, doing so can boost your retirement income by increasing your Social Security benefits. For each year you postpone filing for benefits past your full retirement age (which, depending on your year of birth, is somewhere between 66 and 67), you’ll snag an instant 8 percent boost that will remain in effect for as long as those benefits are paid out. This means that if you’re looking at a full retirement age of 66 with a monthly benefit of $1,200, working until 70 will increase your annual income by $4,608. So while you’re not technically saving that money in a retirement plan, you’re getting the same result.


LAST WORD

My Midlife Gap Year One woman’s journey confirms that all who wander are not lost

I

t’s said that bad luck comes in threes. That proved true for me times three in 2016, when I was hit by nine rapid-fire, emotionally and financially draining disasters: a predatory landlord, a lawsuit, two floods in the Arizona desert, four moves and a mother’s worsening Alzheimer’s disease. Those freakish monsoon waters unleashed a torrent of doubt about my next steps. I could either succumb to the turmoil — I dubbed it The Churn — or learn to surf it. I needed time to heal and a change of venue. I decided to return to the Southern coast that made me. So I did something I never did as a young adult: At age 54, I put everything in storage and hit the road, stopping in several states along the way. I thought I’d be gone for three months, but thanks to career flexibility and my unpartnered status, I’ve been gone 18 life-changing months. Adventures — and answers — came mile by mile: paddling Louisiana bayous amid alligators; hiking Texas Hill country within sight of antelope; shelling on the Florida beach of my childhood; swapping travel tales with Mississippi locals; netting mullet on an Alabama river; and reconnecting with Georgia friends. Most importantly, I spent precious time with my mom. Ours had long been a distant

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Suzanne Wright, a freelance writer shown here at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, has spent the past 18 months on a personal journey to sort out her future direction.

and difficult relationship, but seeing her in the memorycare facility — so vulnerable — softened my heart. I was able to be a daughter to a mom who, though diminished, was sweet. I brought her fried catfish and ice cream, painted her nails and brushed her hair. We did word scrambles together, flipped through old photo albums, studied seashells and laughed about life’s absurdities. A middle-age female nomad puzzles many who ask, “Are you ever going to settle down?” But I refuse to be an apologist for my choices. Just as young people take a year of discovery to assess what lies ahead, midlife presents us with pivotal, sometimes painful, events — the death of a spouse, an empty nest, health challenges, retirement. I met numerous men and women in their 50s and beyond whose circumstances had prompted a similar timeout. I have been the recipient of many kindnesses on my cathartic journey. And 9,000 miles provided ample space and time for introspection as I drove across multiple states. Decades of lived experience separates the uninitiated and the weathered. But what knits us together is an openness to exploration, a willingness to follow our curiosity and trust that the right path will reveal itself.

PROVIDED BY SUZANNE WRIGHT

BY SUZANNE WRIGHT


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