How To Prevent A Fall During Your Life After 50

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenOne of the reasons I study and practice yoga is to maintain my balance during my life after 50. We do poses to improve our balance on two feet with poses such as Warrior and on one foot with poses such as Tree. Being better balanced can help prevent a fall as we age.

As the snow piled up on my doorstep this weekend, I was reminded of how easy it is to slip on icy and wet surfaces during the cold weather months. Several family and friends fell on black ice last winter. One friend fractured her elbow.

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In yoga we practice balancing on one foot. Note the shoes in this picture are not shoes I wear to yoga!

According to the National Safety Floor Institute (NSFI), falls account for the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits. AARP Bulletin in December 2015 reported that “Injuries caused by falls are affecting adults ages 45 to 64, just as they are for those 65 and older, according to data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s national injury-surveillance system.” Not a positive story.

So now that you know falling is a serious health issue, what can you do to prevent a fall?

“Shoes Designed With Your Sole In Mind”
Besides practicing yoga for balance, I was interested to learn about a line of shoes that was engineered to be slip-resistant. “We are a footwear company that make casual flats and sandals for women. However, we use a fully patented outsole that provides the strongest grip on all slippery surfaces. We focus on primarily shoes designed to prevent slips-and-falls,” said Rhea Footwear’s cofounder John Lee in his email. He offered to send a pair for me to try.

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Rhea Footwear makes slip-resistant shoes and flip-flops.

Per the Rhea website, John and his cofounder Paul Ahn brought together the technology that provides superior grip on all terrains and a stylish design while at Cornell University (my alma mater). During their time in Ithaca, New York, a place where it rains and snows more often than it shines, they were unable to find shoes that were practical in the rain and snow while being stylish. Rhea was founded under the mission to deliver high quality shoes that integrate style with technology. (Wish I had these shoes when I had to climb Libe Slope to make it to class during winters in the ’70s. Half the time I felt like when I put one foot forward the other foot went backward.) Continue reading

It’s Time To Be Kind To Family Caregivers

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November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to be especially kind to those who care for aging family members. Many of those who are family caregivers are boomer women, sandwiched between the needs of their parents and their own kids. They give, give, give to loved ones, while often sacrificing their own needs.

The Life Of A Family Caregiver
I’m familiar with the life of a family caregiver. I was a caregiver to my late husband during his illness. For many months, I visited him in the hospital each evening, driving a long distance after a full day of work, then home to make dinner for my son, leaving little time to rest, and start the routine all over again.

Shortly after my husband died, my sister N and I became more active caregivers to my mom. We were grateful that mom lived on her own for most of her senior years. Yet when she became ill at 89 and we had to give care from afar (since mom lived in Florida and N and I lived in the northeast), it became quite difficult.  We decided it was best for mom to move into an assisted living environment where she would have the ongoing care she needed. As devoted daughters, moving my mom was a tough decision. We were glad mom thrived in her new home. She passed in her early 90s.

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My sister N and I were caregivers to my mom until she passed away a few years ago.

Being a family caregiver is a major commitment. Many of my friends who have aging parents tell me of their challenges. When their dad falls and  breaks an ankle or hip, when their mom forgets to take her medicine due to dementia or Alzheimers, when they have to play the parent to their parents and take away driving privileges — so much debating and deciding ‘what should I do?’ issues pile on the family caregiver that their shoulders begin to weigh down. Continue reading

I Need To “Sleep Better”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessWhen I was in my 20s, I was a great sleeper. I’d hit the pillow after a long day at work and I was out for the count. I remember my roommate W was envious of how quickly I would nod off. Not anymore. These days as a “post menopausal woman,” I rarely fall asleep even after 30 minutes of relaxing music. Some nights I feel like I barely get any shut-eye at all.

I’ve tried many remedies — from warm milk to warm bathes, from Valerian (ooh, ooh, ooh, cannot stomach that herb in any form) to Melatonin — without much success. Most evenings, I usually enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea and douse myself with lavender oil. Yet some nights nothing seems to work.

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While I do see a sleep doctor about twice a year, I’m always open to any and all sleep experts. That’s why when the team at AARP invited me to interview Life Reimagined Thought Leader and psychiatrist, Dr. Janet Taylor, and try out her new “Sleep Better” activity created for LifeReimagined.org, I said “yes.”

The “Sleep Better” Program
The program was quick to complete at only four steps: Continue reading

How To Plan Romantic Vacations During Your Life After 50

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50According to Dr. Pepper Schwartz,  co-author of Frommer’s Places for Passion, and AARP’s ambassador for Love & Relationships: “Long-term relationships are strongest when romantic trips are part of their history, present, and future.” (Hear that L, that’s my boyfriend L I’m referring to. We need to plan more romantic vacations. When are you retiring?)

I spoke to Dr. Schwartz to learn more about her new book.

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Dr. Pepper Schwartz is co-author of “Frommer’s Places For Passion.”

“I’ve been a relationship expert for a long time and travel is a passion. I wanted to pair the two together with my writing so couples could have a book to depend on to plan accessible and reliable escapes — it can get sparks flying and create lasting memories,” said Dr. Schwartz.

Romantic Destinations
While 75-destinations are featured in Frommer’s Places For Passion, I asked Dr. Schwartz to name a few of her favorites. She categorized the destinations into four groupings: Continue reading

Giving Thanks To Family Caregivers

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIn honor of November National Family Caregivers Month, I’ve written about the role that caregiving plays in our society. In “A Month To Honor Family Caregivers,” I reinforced what it was like to care for my mom as she aged and why I am so grateful for all the little things I can do each day, things that I used to often take for granted.

Last week, in recognition of November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I shared some staggering statistics about this debilitating disease and it’s impact on family caregivers. Sadly, every 67 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

A Celebration of Caregiving Event
On Friday, I attended “A Celebration of Caregiving Event” at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J., which was sponsored by AARP New Jersey. The event was attended by many local caregivers who told their stories of caring for their moms, dads, aunts, uncles and elderly neighbors.

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Jim Dieterle, AARP NJ State Director

Jim Dieterle, AARP New Jersey State Director, quoted former first lady Rosalyn Carter when he spoke about the lifecycle of caregiving.”Mrs. Carter said there are four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers. Those who are caregivers. Those who will be caregivers. Those who will need caregivers.” It’s a reminder that the role of the caregiver is bigger and broader than we may realize.

National Family Caregivers Month
Since this week is Thanksgiving and a time for family gatherings, I’m pleased to partner with fellow midlife bloggers at Midlife Boulevard to bring you additional public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.

Continue reading

A Month To Honor Family Caregivers

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersNovember is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor the millions of caregivers who help loved ones stay in their homes as they age. As a member of the AARP Kitchen Cabinet on Caregiving, I’m pleased to celebrate family caregivers and share news about the huge role family caregiving continues to play in our society.

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My sister N and I were caregivers to my mom until she passed away in 2013.

Caregiving used to be a major part of my life until almost two years ago after losing my mom. She was 91 when she passed away. While I am no longer a caregiver, it’s still an important issue to me as I see many post 50 friends juggle caregiving for their aging parents. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, “more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.”

Continue reading

Jane Pauley Shares Insights For Reimagining Your Life

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersEarlier this month, I attended the Pennsylvania Conference For Women along with almost 8000 other women. It was an impressive showing and an important audience. I learned from the media kit that not only do women make up 50.8% of the U.S. population per the census, but the largest demographic of women are between the ages of 50-54 (7.1%). Go boomer girls go!

I was excited to have a press pass to cover the event. There were many keynote speakers and one of my favorites was Jane Pauley.

Pennsylvania Conference For Women

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Refocusing on My Memoir Writing Goal

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersAs I continue to evolve my life after 50, I’ve enjoyed reading Life Reimagined, Discovering Your New Possibilities. Authors Richard J. Leider and Alan M.Webber use  a concrete approach to help people “rethink life’s meaning and discover (or rediscover) their purpose” when faced with the challenge to change.

I’ve been using the Life Reimagined online tools to help me set my goals. Last month, after returning from the BlogHer conference in San Jose, CA, and listening to the panel on publishing a book, I thought it was a good time to revisit my goal to write my memoir.

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My Life Checkup
I logged into the Life Reimagined website and reviewed the results from my “Life Checkup” activities that I completed last April. My checkup told me that I was “optimistic and passionate about my goal to write a memoir. My gut was telling me to go for it. However, my actions were not in-sync. Instead of focusing forward, I was moving in a hundred different directions. Instead of acting, I was waiting for the right moment.

“If your idea hits a roadblock, get creative about pushing past it,” my Life Checkup results declared. (Okay, I hear you! I’m ready. I’m willing. I want to start putting prose on the page.)

Continue reading

Giving Myself Permission to Transition

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersDuring the past year since leaving my full-time job, I’ve been on a mission to transition from a fast-paced corporate executive to a person who is more balanced, calm, and happy.

Am I all the way to bright? No, no, no.

Am I further along than I was a year ago? Yes, yes, yes.

Am I where I thought I’d be 12 months after saying goodbye to my 30 year career? Yes and no.

The first six months after leaving my job I was still on a treadmill. I traveled to speaking engagements, kept up my blogging and social media, exercised like crazy (to make up for all the exercise I hadn’t done in 30 years), planned dozens of lunches with friends and acquaintances. Every day I was busy, busy, busy. I did not slow down.

I felt a need to prove that I was working – to foolishly please myself or to please others. I didn’t feel I deserved my current freedom or as a new friend said the other week, I didn’t feel “I earned it.” When I really did.

January arrived with mountains of snow. Whoa Judi, what are you doing to yourself, my body cried? My irritable bowel (IBS) acted up after a bout with food poisoning. My menopausal sleep patterns kept me up into the wee hours of the night. My mind, body and spirit began to drag from exhaustion.

The FODMAP Diet Physically Changed My Life
In April, my gastroenterologist suggested I follow the FODMAP diet. Some call it the ‘tummy diet.’ It’s a gluten-free, low lactose, low fructose diet that eliminates foods that cause indigestion and bloating. Unfortunately some of the foods that I consumed most of my adult life – like apples, pears, peaches, high fiber cereals, bagels and artificial sweetened teas — are no longer allowed.

FODMAP diet, life after 50, over 50, healthy eating

I'm eating healthier on the FODMAP diet, such as tilapia with polenta, capers and peppers.

Onions and garlic and any processed products that contain any powdered form of these foods are also off my shopping list. I’m cooking more naturally with fresh ingredients. The positive results override the negatives – my stomach pains are nearly gone and I feel so much healthier. (I cheat now and then, but I’m doing a pretty good job. Yes I am. Yes I am.)

Now it’s time to give myself permission to transition other areas of my life and slow down. It’s time to take my yoga and mindfulness meditation practices off the mat, stop judging myself and instead take moments to stop, breathe and be – to live in the present and enjoy each day. Continue reading

Reflecting On A Year Of Great Change

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIt’s been a year since I said goodbye to my full-time job. I am reminded of that major moment in my life after seeing recent coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that changed the lives of so many people. I was in Boston twice during April 2013 (including the day of the tragic bombing) to execute my final meetings for the company that had literally encompassed my every waking and sometimes sleeping hours for 30 years.

It took courage to close the book on my longest professional relationship, when only a month earlier I also said goodbye to my mom, a woman with whom I had the closest personal relationship. My mom died in March 2013 at the age of 91.

The past 12 months have been a year of great change. I cherish my friends and family who supported me and continue to support me through my transition. I am grateful for the  success I attained during my long corporate career. Now, It’s time to reap the benefits of my stamina and many years of hard work. It’s time to pursue smaller dreams and goals during my life after 50.

A big company name no longer defines me. Today, I’m on my own – living joyfully in the present and ready to fully expand and explore the future. Most of all, I like the new me who is emerging.

I can see and feel a difference.

Instead of rising at 6:00 a.m., most mornings my alarm goes off 90 minutes later. Some days I jump out of bed. Other days I linger and think about all the activities I have planned for the day. I head to my recumbent bicycle for my 30 minute ride and read my magazines and emails (on my iPhone) as I pedal away. Continue reading