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Russ Nobbs and his wife enjoyed some of their most memorable dinner dates thanks to a local senior discount. Sometimes they dined on baked salmon or opted for a nice pork loin. There were always candles and a table cloth, transforming the unconventional and ambiance-lacking Deaconess Hospital room into a romantic setting. “We’d have a little normal time because chemo is not normal,” said Nobbs, 70, who spent the summer having weeklong chemotherapy treatments every three weeks to fight his T-cell lymphoma. The dates brought joy to the nursing staff, who Nobbs joked would say “You old guys are cute.”
Every Monday in the winter, Suzie Ferguson and her girlfriends spend the day skiing at Lookout Pass. They grab lunch and a beer — or two — with their other ski-bum buddies then make a few more turns before heading home to Coeur d’Alene. These ladies are members of a special social club growing in popularity at most local ski resorts: Prime Timers. Ski groups specifically for skiers age 55 and older with no agenda other than having fun and enjoying the slopes during the “prime time” of the week when there are fewer tourists, children and skiers in general. It’s a great way for seniors to make friends and stay active in the winter. Most resorts offer discount tickets and passes for seniors and even better deals for Prime Timers in addition to specials on food and drink.
Patti Godwin wanted a monumental celebration for her 60th birthday. So she paddled her heavy red kayak 400 miles down the middle third of the Columbia River, from the Canadian border to Oregon, portaging around the seven dams. The adventure was an exercise in the balance of life. Goodwin, who owns American Leak Detection in Spokane with her husband, worked the first part of the week and then took off Thursday afternoons for the river. Overall it took her eight weekends, a total of 22 days.
LOS ANGELES – If Meals on Wheels didn’t deliver donated dog food, Sherry Scott of San Diego says her golden retriever Tootie would be eating the pasta, riblets and veggie wraps meant for her. But thanks to partnerships between the program for low-income seniors and pet groups across the country, fewer people and pets are going hungry. After Meals on Wheels volunteers noticed a growing number of clients giving their food away to their furry friends, they started working with shelters and other pet groups to add free pet food to their meal deliveries. Those programs, relying on donations and volunteers, have continued to grow in popularity as seniors began eating better, staying healthier and worrying less about feeding their pets, one group said.
Soon after Bill Yeardley (his name has been changed to protect his identity) turned 55, he was fired by the contractor company for which he had worked the past eight years. His termination wasn’t because of downsizing or the state of the economy, since the owner immediately hired someone else to take Yeardley’s place – a 29-year-old with far less experience.
Here's a look at how a few area baby boomers defied the concept of "old age" and went big and bold in 2013 with adventures of a lifetime. Their advice to others in the older generation: don't let age define your dreams or desires.
We all slow down as we get older, but that certainly doesn’t mean we should let ourselves waste away. If you’ve hit the midcentury mark, there’s a way you can keep, or even build, your strength and endurance – without stepping outside your own door. It involves a lot of walking – walking in place for endurance and against resistance for strength. It’s simple, but you have to put together a simple device to let you do it.
Think of Patrick O’Conner as an older brother with a message for the baby boomers who are resolved to getting old and harbor a malaise for life and relationships: change your mind. A year ago, O’Conner weighed 290 pounds, was on the verge of divorce and had no will to change.
This is for all of you over the age of 50 – especially the men. If you don’t want your belly to balloon over the winter, especially during the holidays, watch your nibbles. Thoughtless nibbling can, and will, pack on the pounds. It’s so easy at this time of year, because all kinds of food is shared. From the foil-wrapped chocolate balls in candy dishes on desks or kitchen counters, to the offer to grab a fist full of that delicious smelling microwave popcorn, little bits of calories are everywhere. They add up quickly.
Work until you die – or until you can’t work anymore. Until the late 19th century, that was the old-age plan for the bulk of the world’s workers.
A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages. Spawned years before the Great Recession and the 2008 financial meltdown, the crisis was significantly worsened by those twin traumas. The crisis will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reaching.
Nancy Hughes was tired of yard work and calling the plumber for every drip and leak. She wanted fun: golfing, long cruises and the freedom of spontaneity. So following the trend of many older Americans and baby boomers, Hughes sold her 2,200-square-foot home and large yard on the South Hill and downsized into a retirement community in August.
When potential employers ask Tracy Blakeley about her personal life, she assumes they’re not making idle chit-chat. They’re trying to figure out how old she is.
If you ask boomers to list their top 10 aging anxieties, “declining memory” often ranks high on the list. This prompted us to think about a particular class of people whose memories are famously prodigious, not to mention vital to their jobs: stage actors.
PHILADELPHIA – Developers are luring downsizing baby boomers with elevators, a luxury feature that offers convenience now and the promise of easier movement as they age. Business for Newtown, Pa.-based Bell Elevator Co. Inc. is up 25 percent over the last year, said Tom Reavy, owner of the six-year-old residential-elevator firm.
LOS ANGELES – For many women, the end of fertility – and the sharp drop in circulating estrogen and progesterone that comes with it – is a time of forgotten keys, tip-of-the-tongue moments with names and words, and a malaise that can morph into all-out depression. Naturally enough, many believe there is a causal link here, and wonder whether hormone replacement therapy might hold at bay the mood and cognitive changes that commonly occur at midlife.
It’s just a myth, and a dangerous one: the widespread belief that as you age, you need less sleep. The fact is, those 50 and older need the same amount of sleep they needed when younger. The difference? Boomers and seniors will often sleep differently than they did when younger. Sleep needs vary among individuals. Some exist well on four or five hours of sleep a night. Others may need 10 hours of sleep to feel rested and alert. The requirements don’t change much with the years, but the sleep pattern does.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Every passing month and unanswered résumé dimmed Jim Glay’s optimism more. So with no job in sight, he joined a growing number of older people and created his own. In a mix of boomer individualism and economic necessity, older Americans have fueled a wave of entrepreneurship. The result is a slew of enterprises such as Crash Boom Bam, the vintage drum company that 64-year-old Glay began running from a spare bedroom in his apartment in 2009.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – If you’ve walked into a ski lodge the past few years, likely as not you’ve seen tables filled with gray-haired skiers wearing sweaters so old they’re back in style. That’s because the number of skiers on the far side of 50 – some on the very far side – has been creeping up each year, according to the National Ski Areas Association.
As Yoko Ono enters her ninth decade, she remains as daring and experimental as she was in the 1960s and ’70s, when she collaborated with her husband, John Lennon. “Seventy is great,” Ono recently told Time magazine, “but 80 is even better.”