Don’t Call Me A Senior Citizen!

This seems to be a big issue with a lot of boomers. Let’s face it with many boomers (currently age 55 to 73) continuing to work far into their 70’s and beyond, aging has taken on a new persona.

And there is a lot of debate around the proper term to use.

Do you call someone of a certain age an older person, elderly, mature or what?? And at what age do you use this term? Surveys have shown that most Boomers don’t mind being called a boomer. But not a Baby Boomer. And using the term elderly or senior citizen is definitely taboo.

The image that these names create is of someone who is frail and declining mentally and physically. And that is not how most Boomers describe themselves.

Retired at 55? Not Hardly!

Your grandparents may have retired at 55 but that is certainly not the case today. The workforce is filled with people in their 60’s and 70’s. In fact, many Boomers are starting businesses in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. While some may be working longer because they have to financially, others simply love to create.

Forbes recently noted that entrepreneurs over age 50 make up more than half of America’s small business owners. And another 17% are 60 to 69 years old. Finally, an additional 4% are 70 or older. These Boomers are engaged in their community.

CEO’s and Small Business Owners

Your grandma may have belonged to the garden club or something similar. But today’s Boomer grandmas are also CEO’s and small business owners. Many started a new career in a field they are passionate about.  In fact, about 42% have decided to open a business because they have a passion. The Home Care and Assisted Living industry is filled with Boomer startups. Furthermore, Texas is one of the top 5 states these small business owners reside in.

And these business owners rate their happiness levels high. On a scale of 1 to 10 76% said they were at level 8. And this is because 2/3 of them have a profitable business.

On top of this, Boomers are staying more active than their parents did at their age. Probably because they are still surrounded by younger people in the workplace. And the ones who have retired (another word we don’t like ☹) are spending a lot of time volunteering and traveling. This is an active and vibrant group of people. To call them senior citizens just doesn’t seem appropriate. And to some, it is downright derogatory!

It’s high time we got rid of the negative stigma that is associated with aging. There are 80-year-olds who are in better physical shape than 40-year-olds. It has nothing to do with age!

 

Over 50?- 3 Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain Without Medication

 

Let’s face it when you were younger your body was a lot more forgiving. You could eat poorly, drink too much and party all night and then get up and go to work. But somewhere along the way, your body began to rebel.

Chronic Pain is One of The Most Common Complaints of Older Folks

For some people, it may have been an accident that has caused the chronic pain they are experiencing. Autoimmune diseases like Lupus, fibromyalgia, arthritis and other diseases can also be the culprit. And for many, it is just a lifetime of poor lifestyle choices.

Acute Pain and Chronic Pain Are Two Different Experiences

Everyone has experienced pain at some point. Maybe it was a finger that got sliced when chopping vegetables. Or perhaps you broke your arm playing sports. But acute pain goes away after a period of time. Chronic pain is often there day in and day out. The pain will often vary in intensity from mild to excruciating. And we are often willing to do anything to stop the pain.

Opioids Provide a Solution. But at What Cost?

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015, 20,101 prescription-related overdose deaths were recorded from the use of opioids. And there are stories on the news daily of the opioid crisis we are facing as a nation. While there may be a time and a place where these drugs are the best option for trying some of these alternatives for your chronic pain may be a good idea.

Tackling chronic pain usually means using several different approaches.  And it is important that you give it enough time.

“I had chronic pain for years due to Lyme Disease. I tried just about everything short of pharmaceuticals. I just was afraid of addiction, so I refused to use them. I used all of the techniques listed in this article and more. I cannot say that one thing was what finally relieved my pain. I think it was a combination of these lifestyle changes” Kathryn

Massage Therapy

There are many different types of massage techniques. And some may work better for your type of pain than others. Look for a therapist who has been doing this for several years. You also want to find one who is intuitive rather than technique-driven. It is important that the therapist understands how to really “listen” to your body and change her technique accordingly.

If you have a spouse or someone living with you consider trading massage. You may not be a professional, but all touch can be healing.

“Jim and I massage each other for about 15 minutes each night while watching TV. I sit in front of his chair so he can work on my neck and shoulder. This is where I have chronic pain. While he works on me I give him a foot massage.  We both enjoy this arrangement. And I think we sleep better also.” ~ Sarah

Meditation

Pain can sometimes cause us to get into a negative loop cycle. The more we focus on the pain the more we seem to have pain. Meditation can help to relax your muscles. This will release some of the tension that has built up in your body. With time you may also be able to get out of that negative pain loop. Try a 15-minute meditation 2 or 3 times a day for the next 30 days. I think you will notice some positive changes. There are a lot of apps you can get on your phone that will give you guided meditations. This is a good way to begin.

 

Identify Your Pain Triggers

 

Exhausted man holding coffee and sleeping on his laptop on his desk in a white background

Become aware of what seems to make your chronic pain flare-up.  Is it when you go out in the cold? Is it when you are around a certain person or group of people? Maybe when you eat certain foods or consume alcohol. Maybe you are ready for a career change?  Both physical and emotional stress can activate the pain you experience. By paying attention to your body and how it is reacting you may be able to make some small changes that have a huge impact on how you feel.

 

This is just a start on your journey. Other options to help relieve your pain include yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, chiropractic, changing your diet, breathing exercises, exercise, journaling, laughter yoga, heart math, and many others. Try adding in two or 3 of these ideas and stay with it for at least 30 days. Track your progress and see what will work for you.

Chronic pain can make you feel out of control.  But planning for your future can help you to feel more in control. Visit Hilbun Law Firm to make sure you have all your documents in place.

retirement- freedom

The Secret To Aging Gracefully

 

Getting older is a given. Nobody can avoid it. But there are some people who age with Grace. These people don’t necessarily skate through life unscathed. That have their health challenges just like everybody else. But they don’t get stuck there and I think that’s the difference. So what is the secret to aging gracefully?

 

Bring Joy! Find A Purpose!

Seniors who are aging gracefully have learned a valuable lesson. These people have learned how to bring joy into their life. No matter what the situation. They found a way to stay joyful and happy. Having a purpose has made all of the difference.

 

 The Nursing Home Roommates

 

Have you heard the story of the two men in the nursing home.? The first man had a bed by the window. The second man was away from the window and couldn’t lift his head to see outside. He longed desperately for what he didn’t have. So, the man by the window told him every day, what he saw outside. He talked about the birds, And the trees blowing in the wind. He described sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, he even described people on the street walking by and children playing. He talked about little boys playing marbles.  And about liked girls jumping rope. He painted a vivid picture for his roommate to bring joy.

 

And It Felt “As If” He Was Right There

 

The men laughed as they remembered their own childhoods and the things that they did. And they both felt joy and peace.

 

The Time Has Come

 

One day The Man by the window passed away. And the other man immediately asked if could he have his bed. He wanted to be close to the window.  A new person might not describe in detail what was going on. And the old man wanted to continue to see the world.

 

A Brick Wall

 

But when he got there all he saw was a brick wall. The man was confused. Why would his friend make up such stories? There’s nothing but a brick wall. The nurse came in hearing that the man was terribly distraught. Your roommate was blind she told him. He couldn’t see a thing. But he knew how important it was for you. So, he made up these stories.

 

But the Blind Man Could See

 

Just not with his eyes. He saw With This Heart. And it brought him joy to bring someone else Joy. He could see more clearly than anyone.

 

Finding a way to bring joy to others will bring joy to your heart as well. It’s one of the best ways to age gracefully.

 

Struggling With Retirement

 

How do you handle it when your retirement has not been planned? A job layoff or a health condition may have caused your life to change quickly. For many people, this can be a real challenge. Staying positive and joyful may not seem possible.

John had a life-altering event at age 63. He had a stroke. It cost him his business. As a self- employed person his business failed when his health failed him. He had planned to work until 70 at least. He could have easily fallen into depression and given up. But he had a wife and children who counted on him. In fact, he still had a teenage son at home.

So, John picked up the pieces. And he spoke to his son about hard times that everyone goes through. He soon found part-time work that he and his wife could do together. His son got a job and life went on. And, he went out of his way to help others with encouragement.

 

Everyone Needs A Purpose

 

The blind man next to the window had a purpose. And that was in helping his roommate. By describing scenes that he visualized in his head he helped both himself and his roommate. Days became more enjoyable for both men.

 

How Can You Find A Purpose?

 

Opportunities abound in the Cypress and Tomball Texas area. There are many organizations that look for volunteers to help. A new one in the Cypress Texas area is the Living Legacy Center. Founded by Elizabeth Hilbun and Teresa Trull with The Hilbun Law Firm this organization is dedicated to helping people in the Cypress Texas area. With a focus on serving veterans and seniors, the organization has recently launched its Oasis Garden.

 

What do you enjoy doing? How can you give back and find your purpose?

Group of people who needs a will

Do I Really Need A Will?

 

You may have heard that everyone should have a will. While it certainly can’t hurt there are people who absolutely should have a will. And some others who maybe could get by without one right now. Let’s take a look to see what category you fit into.

Wills Are for People Who Are Rich and Wealthy.

Not necessarily. Anyone who has a positive net worth should probably have a will. Your net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. It has nothing to do with your income. Your savings, investments, and debts combine to calculate your net worth. And this is something that may fluctuate.

If you have been saving for retirement or putting money into a rainy day fund your net worth will increase. Likewise, if you are paying down your mortgage, car loan, student loans, etc. your net worth will also increase.

Are You Married? You Need a Will.

 

Traditionally your spouse will inherit your things even if you die without a will. But you shouldn’t leave this up to chance. Make sure your spouse is protected. This is especially important if this is not your first marriage and there are children involved.

Additionally, if you want someone other than your wife to receive something it needs to be in writing. Don’t count on people to “do the right thing” after you are gone.

Do You Have Kids?

blended family

You absolutely need a will. Your kids are likely to inherit your things if you die intestate, after your spouse, but not necessarily. This means that if you want your kids to inherit after your spouse, then you need to put that in writing. This way there is no room for a different interpretation by the courts. Additionally, if you don’t want one of (or all of) your kids to inherit, then that needs to be in writing.

My guess is you have strong feelings about whether you want your children to inherit your estate. Having a will in place will ensure that the decision is being made by you, not the state.

When your children are young having a will allows you to name a guardian for your children. You will also be able to name an executor. This will determine how your children are raised and how the assets will be divided among them.

Revisit Your Will Each Year

It is important to review your will yearly and make changes as necessary. If you have another child your will may need to be updated. Likewise, a divorce or a new marriage will require updates to your current will.

But I Am Broke!

If you are young, broke and don’t have kids you may not need a will. At least not yet. But if you get married, have children or inherit some money you will want to get a will.

 

Do you need a will? Contact The Hilbun Law Firm for a consultation. 281-955-9292

What Is Independence?

 

What Is independence? And What Does It Mean To You?

 

In the United States, this word is packed full of meaning.  On July 4th we celebrate Independence Day. This is the day we began to operate as our own country without British rule. As such The United States was free to adopt its own laws and rules to govern.

But actually, July 2nd,    1776 is when the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain actually occurred. But Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. See nothing is Washington has really changed, has it. 😊

The Statue of Liberty

For many people in America, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes that independence that is the hallmark of our country.

There are some interesting facts surrounding this famous day. According to research on Wikipedia:

Coincidentally, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.[14] Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as President, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence.[15] Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. President to have been born on Independence Day

Today the day is celebrated with fireworks, parades, picnics, BBQ’s and a National Holiday!

According to the Cambridge Dictionary Independence is:

Freedom to make laws or decisions without being governed or controlled by another country, organization, etc.  This is what all American are celebrating on the 4th of July!

But There Is Another Definition

It is also defined as the state of wanting to be able to do things for yourself and to make your own decisions, without help or influence from other people.

This is the definition many seniors adhere to. They will do just about anything to remain independent. And their biggest fear is often becoming dependent on others for their basic needs.

But is this definition really correct?

Can you ever be truly independent according to this definition? Think about it. As a young child, you were dependent on your parents, teachers, grandparents, and others who cared for and influenced you. Then you grew into a young adult. Now you were dependent on your college professors to guide and mentor you. Or if you entered the workforce you were dependent on your boss and co-workers. And even those who work for themselves rely on other people for knowledge, inspiration and at times help.

Let’s face it, everyone is dependent on someone for something.

But as people begin to age, they often struggle to hold on to what they call their independence. Refusing to give up driving an older gentleman has a serious accident. Now in the hospital, he has lost his mobility. And he has to live with the fact, his actions caused harm to a young mother in the car he hit. Moreover, he is saddled with guilt.

His friend, however, agreed to give up his car keys. He calls Uber or Lyfte or sometimes catches a ride with a friend going in the same direction. He happily goes where he wants to. And he goes when he wants to. The only difference is he gets a little help to do so.

Who would you say is more independent?

So, take a little time today to ponder this word. What does independence really mean to you?

 

Retiring Single

Retiring Single- Over 65- How To Make a Plan

When you are retiring single there may be a host of concerns you have. If you have no spouse or children it is doubly important that you have a plan in place for those “what if’s”.

Are You An Elder Orphan?

Sometimes referred to as elder orphans or solo-agers this is a group that is growing. In fact, according to research by Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, 22% of people 65 and over are either an elder orphan or at risk of becoming one. Only 12% of the women who were 80 to 84 years old in 2010 were childless, but that will increase to 16% for that same age range in 2030, according to a report by AARP. And even those who have children may be estranged.

There are a number of concerns people may have when they are aging alone. Who will help take care of me if I get really sick? Will I die alone in a nursing home with no-one to advocate for me? If I begin to have cognitive decline who will help me manage my finances and legal issues? Will I be taken advantage of?

“I am not concerned,” said Kendra “I am perfectly capable of caring for myself. My mind is sharp and I do what I need to do to keep my body healthy also. In fact, I just ran a marathon and did quite well.”

Kendra is 70. And while we all applaud her for being in such good health at 70 the truth is things can happen that are out of your control.

Judy lived on her own until she was 91.

She cooked for herself, went to exercise class and drove where she needed to go. But a blood clot in her leg changed all of that. She went into the hospital. And due to several mistakes, that were made she returned home unable to care for even her basic needs. 24/7 care was needed. Luckily for her, her children, along with a paid caregiver stepped in to help. Without her children, she would have been forced to go into a nursing home. And she may not have had anyone to advocate for her. Besides the cost, she would not have had anyone to hire and manage the caregivers.

So how do you plan for the rest of your life when you are over 65 and single?

 

Step One: Talk to an Elder Law Attorney

Set up all of the necessary paperwork to plan for your long-term care. Your attorney can also help you connect with other professionals in the area who can help. You will probably need a financial advisor. It is also important that you have someone you really trust designated as your Power of Attorney.

Step Two: Consult with a Geriatric Care Manager

Have someone lined up who can be your advocate and make sure your needs are met. Care managers usually have a background in Nursing or Social Work. Talk to the person who is your POA to make sure they know about the Geriatric Care Manager you have chosen. If you are incapacitated someone with authority to act on your behalf would need to hire their services.

Step Three: Have a Good Support System

Having a strong social circle is important for everyone. Make sure your circle included younger people as well.

“All of my really good friends are 15 to 20 years younger than me” Edythe, 96 “I feel more alive being around younger people. They are more positive and fun to be around. Plus, when I had to stop driving last year it wasn’t a problem. There was always someone available to take me where I needed or wanted to go.”

 

Step Four: Consider Alternate Living Arrangements

Owning a home is wonderful when you are young. But do you really want to spend your time and money with upkeep and home maintenance projects?   If you really want to keep the home, have you considered roommates? Think Golden Girls!

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. From 2005 to 2015, the older population grew 33 percent, while the number of older home-sharers jumped 88 percent.

One reason may be financial.

Many boomers have not really saved enough money for their retirement. Sharing a space can allow you to stay in a home. Or you could live in a home in the area you want to be but cannot afford on your own.

Of course, you want to make sure you are compatible.

And it is important to have a set of ground rules. If you really don’t like cats and your roommate comes home with one that could be a problem. Also, how often will the family be coming to visit? Who will be coming and how long will they stay?  Do you smoke or allow others to smoke in your home?  Do you expect we will cook together or eat independently? These are just a few of the questions you should ask.

So Where Do You Find A Compatible Roommate?

In the last few years, a new industry has begun to blossom. Companies such as Roommates4Boomers, Silvernest, and Let’s Share Housing pair renters with homeowners.

And always consult your attorney before you enter into an agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving The Hospital Against Doctors Advice

Let’s face it, hospitals are not any fun. And a lot of seniors spend more time in hospitals than they would like. But do you have the right to say enough is enough and check yourself out?

My mother in law, Pat checked herself out of the hospital.

What To Do With Your Inheritance

She was frustrated because it was the weekend and nobody seemed to be doing anything.

“There is no communication in these places she told me! I think they are just keeping me here to run up my bill”

 

She got dressed went to the nurse’s station, told them to take out her IV properly or she would just pull it out. Then she got into her car and called us. This was done long before dementia set in. She was aware of what she was doing and did not take no for an answer.

A Different Experience

A friend *Carol had a bit different experience. When she announced that she was leaving she was warned that she would be responsible for all of the medical bills if she left against doctor’s orders.

And another friend, *Sharon was warned that if her husband did not take the medicine ordered by his doctor she would be reported to adult protective services for abuse. Sharon and her husband had always opted for holistic treatments. Her husband has dementia now and this nurse who made a home visit was upset when she found out that Sharon has decided to try a less conventional form of treatment instead of the one the doctor prescribed.

So What Rights Do Senior Have?

Well first, let’s tackle the issue of your bills. A survey from the University of Chicago Medicine discovered 453 patients who had left against medical advice, not a single patient was denied insurance coverage for their care due to their discharge decision. It is simply not true. But many doctors, patients, and other health care providers continue to spread this misinformation.

You have the right to refuse treatment if you are of sound mind, you are not in an altered state and you do not pose a threat to yourself or to others.

So Why Do You Want to Leave?

I know it’s not a comfortable place to be. But studies show the #1 reason people leave the hospital early is a financial strain.  If this is a concern, talk to the billing department first to determine if there are avenues for reducing the amount owed. you may be surprised at just how much wiggle room the hospitals have.

Not happy with the way you or a loved one is being treated?

Before heading out the door, file an official report with the hospital administration.  There is a good chance they will work with you to resolve the issue.  Care advocates like a Social worker or an ombudsman may also be able to step in to help.

What About Sharon? Can She Be Reported for Abusing Her Husband?

This is where it gets a bit trickier. No doubt, *Sharon is just looking out for the best interest of her husband. As such she is making decisions that she feels are in his best interest. But does she have this right? It may depend on what documents Sharon and her husband had in place before he was diagnosed with dementia?

This is one reason it is important to sit down with an elder law attorney before there is a crisis. Make sure that you have all of the documents in place to ensure your wishes are carried out.

 

The Hilbun Law Firm offers weekly workshops to help answer some of the questions you may have. There is no charge to attend and there is no pressure. Simply good information shared with our community.