Janes Wellness Gowns Cover With Comfort For The Medical Journey

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“My note is to tell you about Janes Wellness Gowns, something wonderful, that offers women over 50 comfort, style, and dignity when they need it most,” wrote Sharon Linder, the founder of GetJanes.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would take Sharon up on her offer to showcase her social entrepreneurial efforts that help women during their medical journey. (And offer a giveaway for a Janes, see below!)

It’s also an approrpriate time to remind you, dear reader, to make your appointment (if you haven’t had one) for your yearly mammogram. Boomer women are often caregivers to others, yet when it comes to nurturing themselves – they tend to let it fall to the bottom of the list. Am I right? Admit it! Last week, I wrote about getting a bone density scan to help take care of your bone health. That’s important too.

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Female entrepreneur Sharon Linder created Janes Wellness Gowns.

I like to feature female entrepreneurs like Sharon who are doing interesting things during their life after 50. I interviewed Sharon to find out more about why she created GetJanes. Here’s what she said: Continue reading

“70Candles!” Shares Advice on Positive Aging

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast month, The New York Times journalist Jane Brody wrote an article about “Thriving at Age 70 and Beyond.” I enjoy reading Jane’s weekly columns on Personal Health, but this one was especially appealing. Jane mentioned a blog called 70Candles!, with stories from women in their 70s, and a book by the same title written by bloggers (and now authors) Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole.

While I am fast approaching my 60s, I was intrigued by the advice that these two long-term friends had to share about how women are “thriving in their 8th decade.” I contacted Jane and Ellen to ask if they would participate in an interview for my blog. Their wisdom about positive aging is very inspiring for baby boomer women who are following in their footsteps. It’s great to know that there is much to look forward to into our 70s, 80s, 90s, and maybe 100s! (Note: if you cannot view the video below please click here.)

A Practical and Positive Guide
The book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, is a compilation from the conversations that Jane and Ellen had during gatherings with women of this era and from many of the women who contributed to their blog. The authors do a great job pulling all the pieces together into as they say, “a practical and positive guide to have at your side as you traverse your seventies.” Included are lessons learned from their gatherings, a review of pertinent literature on this topic, and a look at the future. In the back section is a handy reference with relevant web sites and additional readings.

The Taos Institute, the publishers of the book, kindly provided a copy of 70Candles! for a giveaway. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment on how you intend to stay vibrant during your second act.

Now let’s hear more from Jane and Ellen: Continue reading

It’s Time To Be Kind To Family Caregivers

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

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

An Eye-Opening Day At Sixth Annual “Women in the World Summit”

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast Thursday, I attended the sixth annual “Women in the World Summit” at Lincoln Center in New York City. It was an emotional and eye-opening day as I learned about issues facing women and girls around the world.

“Together, we’re going to parachute behind the frontline of the news. We’ll experience dramatic stories through the eyes of some extraordinary women and the men who champion them. Our guides are activists, artists, entrepreneurs, fighters, journalists, peacemakers, and rabble-rousers.,” said Tina Brown, Founder and CEO, Women in the World/Tina Brown Live Media.

#WITW, Tina Brown's Women in the World,

A Galvanizing Agenda
Each discussion was more stirring than the next, with subject matters ranging from gender inequities and women’s health to sexual violence and mutilation, to the importance of human rights and education for women and girls. The growing impact of climate change, caregiving, cyber-bullying, maternal mortality was also on the agenda. You can watch many of the presentations at the “Women In the World” website (co-produced with The New York Times) or by clicking on the links throughout the post.

For now, here are some of my takeaways from the day:

Cofounder of Bring Back Our Girls, Obiageli Ezekwesili, talked about the 276 Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped last year by Boko Haram terrorists. “Everyone must use your influence to bring back our girls, these girls are not back yet,” said Obiageli. “Nobody has the right to make you have to decide between education and being alive.” (Hearing this story made me really appreciate the educational opportunities we have in America.)

#WITW, Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit, life after 50, Obiageli Ezekwesilli, #bringbackourgirls

Obiageli Ezekwesili (left) is Cofounder of Bring Back Our Girls, seated with panelist Alexis Okeowo, Writer, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, moderated a panel on caregiving. “Forty percent of working moms are single. In 2000, 30 million people were over 65. By 2030, that number will double. Sixty-two percent of caregivers are women,” said Valerie. Panelist Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman, and CEO, Care.com, echoed these concerns. “Caregiving is the #1 budgetary item for working families. Investing in care drives economic growth. We have a crisis coming if we don’t take care of caregiving.” (Having been a part of the AARP Kitchen Cabinet of Caregivers, I am very passionate about this issue. Valerie asked for help: “What more should we be doing to spotlight caregiving? Send suggestions to me on Twitter at @vj44.”)

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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.

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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.

caregiving, life after 50, over 50, retirement, AARP, boomer women, baby boomer women

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.”

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JudiBoomergirl on “Boomer Generation Radio”

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I had an opportunity to be interviewed on Boomer Generation Radio which airs in the Delaware Valley including areas of Southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware. The host of the show is Rabbi Richard Address, who is the founder of jewishsacredaging.com, a website filled with resources and discussions about the revolution in longevity and its implications for baby boomers and their families.

Rabbi Address hosts Boomer Generation Radio every Tuesday from 10-11 a.m. on WWDB-AM 860 in Philadelphia. You can hear the program streamed live on the web. Podcast recordings are posted on the station’s website and on jewishsacredaging.com after the program airs.

Live From Philadelphia, It’s JudiBoomergirl!

Boomer Generation Radio, life after 50, boomer bloggers, boomer women

Recording from the WWDB-AM 860 Studio with host Rabbi Richard Address.

It was a fun experience to be interviewed by Rabbi Address in the studio with microphones and an elaborate sound-system. I talked about how and why I started blogging during my countdown to 50 and the reasons I continue to blog during my life after 50. In addition, I discussed trends in boomer blogs and the growth of blogging as a profession.

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A Year Later – Remembering Mom

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast week marked a year since my mom passed away. It’s been an entire year since she left me and my sister N to fend for ourselves. She lived a long and good life into her 90s, but I still miss her so very, very much. I think of her almost every day. Sometimes I forget that she is no longer in Flo-ree-da and I find myself dialing her number. Then I remember she is not there.

“Mom, what should I do?” I asked when I was in a jam or one of the kids was sick. She always had comforting words to say. “Don’t worry, it will be okay,” she would calmly reply.

“Mom, I’m frustrated with my job,” I complained when I was unhappy with how my career was progressing or how my boss was treating me. “Do your best,” she would reassure me. “Just do your best.”

My mom was at the top of my list when I had happy news to share. “Mom, I’m getting married. Mom, I’m having a baby. Mom, I bought a condo at the shore. Mom, I’m retiring from my full-time job.” I could feel her hugs and kisses through the phone lines.

When my sister N and I emptied her condo a few years ago (before we moved mom to an assisted living residence) we donated most of her furnishings. The only prized possessions I wanted were the family photographs that she kept in her nightstand drawer.

life after 50, over 50, baby boomer women, aging

My mom was in her 20s during the 1940s.

I took the box of old photos out of my closet the other night and flipped through hundreds of pictures. It was like a history lesson – the fashions of the 1940s when my mom was in her 20s, the baby carriages of the 1950s when my sister N and I were born, the beehives and bouffant hairdos of the 1960s – the pictures made me smile and a few made me laugh. There is a lifetime of memories in those photos. Continue reading

Taking Care Of My Heart

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessIt looks like you may have had a heart attack,” said doctor S as she read the EKG during my annual checkup in December.

“OMG! Are you kidding me?” I gasped. I grew faint. I thought about all the stomach and chest pains I had experienced throughout the year. I wondered if indeed one might have been a heart attack instead of indigestion or muscle spasm.

“I don’t see any report on your previous EKG from your cardiologist,” said doctor S. “This EKG looks different than the one from a few years ago. I’m going to fax it to your cardiologist’s office and see what they say. Stay calm.”

Stay calm. Stay calm. WTF! I put my head down on the table and practiced  mindfulness meditation. Breathe in. Breathe out. This potential news hit hard. For the past six years since losing my husband I’d been trying to mend my broken heart, but what if what the doctor said was true? What if my heart was forever damaged? Breathe in. Breathe out.

After what seemed like the longest 30 minutes ever, doctor S returned. “I’m pleased to report that your cardiologist’s office reviewed the EKG and the findings are NEGATIVE,” said doctor S.

Ohm, ohm, ohm! Ahh, ahh, ahh!

In January, I saw my cardiologist doctor P to confirm the findings. She said that sometimes doctors who are not used to reading EKGs can misread them. Dr. P suggested I have a stress test to double check my heart since I had been having a few flutters and also have an eco and carotid doppler to review my arteries for any clogs. The results were all NEGATIVE.

Ohm, ohm, ohm! Ahh, ahh, ahh! Continue reading

Reflections On My Role As A Caregiver

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIt’s close to year end. Only about two weeks left in 2013. As I start to reflect on the previous 11 months, I’ve been thinking about how my role as a caregiver has changed this year and how it has changed even more during the past several years.

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I said goodbye to my mom in March 2013.

 

 

My role as a caregiver to my mom came to a halt in March when I said goodbye to her. There are no more parents for me to care for now that my mom has passed. (My dad died almost 25 years ago.) No more Hanukkah cards or presents to send to Flo-ree-da. No more mom calls on New Year’s Day with greetings for a happy and healthy new year. My phone was always on automatic dial to Flo-ree-da on January 1st.

The Taoist proverb that my teacher P shared in yoga class last week especially touched my heart: “We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.”

I’ve kept myself very busy the past nine months since losing my mom. Have I been running to avoid facing my grief? Have I been running all these months because I am no longer her caregiver? Have I been running all these months because I don’t want to face these changes? Continue reading