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Traveling Seasoned Citizens

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by: Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Billy and I have been on the road meandering through continents for almost three decades. While we like to think of ourselves as spry, flexible and ready to take on the world, truth is, we are no longer twenty or thirty years old. Traveling at our age of 65 presents challenges that we didn?t have when we were younger. Energy levels have changed and our bodies require different comforts in order to feel well.

If you are in your fifties and sixties with active wanderlust, independent journeying is still possible. Take advantage of what we have learned over the years.

The Importance of Sleep

The value of sleep is a priority that we protect, since its absence is felt for the next day or two – creating havoc in moods, energy level and even decision making. Whenever possible, we no longer take red-eye flights. Air travel has become more complicated in recent years and it?s enough to handle the new requirements, the lines, and the disorientation of time zones without adding severe sleep schedule interruptions.? Besides, what?s the rush?

In years past we?d blow into a new location without a care, knowing we would find?some?kind of?hotel arrangements. Now, we are more inclined to reserve a room for our first night in a new city or town, or at least have a definite address where our taxi can take us. Once we arrive, we can scout out a more suitable hotel if we aren?t pleased with our first choice. We also check the beds for firmness, get a quiet room off the street if possible and we pay a bit more for better quality.

Sometimes an afternoon nap is the height of luxury and can be the pick-me-up needed for the rest of the day, especially if there is an evening event planned. We?re retired, so why not enjoy it? Allowing time for rest instead of continuous motion can be delicious.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? With our gear traveling through Asia

Fueling the Machine

We don?t skip meals and run on empty. Solid, quality, protein-based meals and snacks have always been a focus for us. We?re the machine that makes our lives run, and this machine needs proper fuel.

Light-headedness, indecision and fatigue due to lack of nutrition contributes to needless bickering and is something we avoid at all costs. Why make things harder on ourselves? We are sure to eat at regular intervals and to bring travel food with us on buses, trains, planes and even if we are out day-tripping. Dehydration is another important consideration and we remember to bring bottled water with us wherever we go.

Tip:?There is no need to purchase expensive bottled water at the airport concessions. When traveling by plane bring an empty water bottle with you through security. Once through, find a drinking fountain and fill it up there.

Divide up Duties

We travel?full time, and it’s more pleasurable when duties are shared. Destinations and travel routes must be determined and figuring out which sort of transport we’ll take and whether or not visas are required all needs to be researched. Tickets might have?to be purchased ahead of time, lodging located, and arrangements for financial management to cover expenses while on the road has to be thought through. Even packing travel food is an essential element of successful journeying. In your partnership, decide who will take care of what, realizing that each of these categories is important.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? Enjoying a sunset at Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand

When we leave our hotel room we have a system that prevents sour surprises. Billy goes down to firm up our bill, and I do a ?room check? or ?walk through? before we turn in our keys. I look under the bed, in all the drawers, in the bathroom, and on all the shelves to be sure we haven?t left something important behind. This prevents lost and forgotten items from becoming an issue and interrupting our travel plans.

When we traveled through both islands of New Zealand on the Magic Bus, Billy would stay with the crowd to grab our luggage while I went ahead to choose our room and pay for it. This allowed us to get both the best choices of rooms?and?our bags without wasting time waiting in two lines.

Tip:?Although it might be different in your partnership, when searching for a hotel room, I?m usually the one to decide on where to stay. With most men, all they need is a bed and bathroom, but we ladies seem to have other requirements. So, to prevent disappointment or needless fussing, we have found that it?s best to let me decide.

Commit to Paper Instead of to Memory

Making notes of where we have hidden our valuables in our home base location while we are on the road has proven important several times. We write things down on lists instead of committing them to memory and we?ll email that list to ourselves so we don?t lose it. Being away from our home bases for months, even a year or more at a time, can cause us to forget our best and most secret hiding places. If we put our treasures or documents in such a good place that even WE can?t remember where they are, returning home can be a stress-filled event. Now we simply check our list and refresh our memories.

Less Is More

We are the ?Less is More? type of traveler, and it is our emphasized style even today. We don?t have to pack all the action into one day just so we can say we did it. Instead, we like our time to be leisurely, not jammed-packed with something new to do every 2 hours on the clock. Staying longer in one location and allowing more room for an event on our calendar can provide many rewarding surprises and allow pleasant detours to occur

Consciously deciding to make our travel days shorter when we are on the road has proven to be rewarding also. It still takes us close to thirty hours to get to Asia from our place in Arizona, but if we are traveling on the ground, we break up our destinations into manageable time bites to make it possible for us to enjoy the journey itself. It?s not a race, and we?re not in competition with other travelers. We prefer this easy-going approach. For instance, while traveling by bus in Mexico we’ll split up a 13-hour bus ride into a couple of days. This way we are not worn out for our destination, we don?t arrive late at night with all the problems that it entails, and we get to experience another town along the way.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Joking around in a Jak-ka-ran

We utilize public transport or hire a driver wherever we go. Leaving the driving to others reduces our stress. We don?t have to worry about vehicle maintenance, where the next filling station is, if there will be a break down, how to fix our vehicle in a foreign country, or whether we have taken a wrong turn someplace.

Packing Makes Perfect

Through all these years of traveling from country to country we still utilize backpacks for their rugged practicality and ease of transport. Today?s durable, light weight and comfortable backpacks have come a long way from those of years past. Weight is distributed evenly on our backs instead of lugging something one-handedly on either side of our bodies, and it leaves our hands free for paying fares or reading maps. For efficiency and convenience, we place the same items in the same location in our packs each time. There is no jumble. In this way we maintain a sense of order while on the road and it cuts down on any mental confusion allowing us to enjoy our travels. We are less likely to forget an item or misplace it, because it has its own spot.

If for health reasons you cannot carry your luggage weight?on your back, be sure your baggage is built lightweight yet sturdy, with compartments inside and has wheels on the bottom for moving your belongings quickly. Don?t be afraid to ask your taxi driver or someone at the hotel desk to help you with your cases. It?s worth the tip and will save wear and tear on your body.

Be sure to have a daypack with you when you travel. In this manner you can carry anything of importance close to you at all times. This may be your medicines, your digital equipment, your maps or travel food. And if you go to the market while on your trip, you can easily carry the items back to your room.

Over the years, we have found that what we pack has changed also. Now we make room for our digital equipment and cords, cell phones, netbook computer, vitamins, personal medications and health aids like a?TENS?unit. We have a calendar to mark important dates like visa renewals or when to catch that plane. And our online?Yahoo! Calendar?is used for reminders to send checks so that we can stay financially current.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Catching up on email and checking our guide book

Tip:?When looking for a practical travel bag, simply?Google??lightweight travel luggage? to clarify what your choices might be. You can order online, or at least have a solid idea of what you want when you go to your favorite travel shop to purchase.

We?ve had 27 fruitful years of world travel and look forward to many more. Even though we have aged, and some of our methods and equipment have changed, we?ve adapted so that we can continue our chosen lifestyle with both pleasure and ease.

Remember, if we can do it, you can too!

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website?, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books,?The Adventurer?s Guide to Early Retirement?and?Your Retirement Dream IS Possible?available on their website?bookstore?or on?

While many people think that winter is a time to put on weight and to soak up all of the foods and treats from the holiday season?this doesn?t have to be the case. If you are a senior who is sick of the holiday weight gain, and all of the health (and cosmetic) issues that it can cause, then there is no better time than the present to start getting an exercise plan going.

The great thing about senior-friendly exercise is that it doesn?t have to be difficult and it doesn?t require an expensive gym membership. There are many easy, in-home senior-friendly exercises that any senior can start doing this winter to not only beat the winter weight gain but to help them get in shape and stay in shape for season to come.

Why is Physical Activity For Seniors Important?

Sure, beating holiday weight gain is an important part of starting to exercise, but it isn?t the only important thing. Regular physical activity can help deliver other benefits for seniors, including the following:

  • Maintaining healthy muscle mass, which can help with strength and prevent falls.
  • Increase bone density, which will lessen the chances of breaks or fractures.
  • More core strength to improve balance, posture and flexibility.
  • Improved control of chronic disease symptoms, and better immunity.
  • Decreased chances of depression (especially in the winter) due to the release of endorphins.
  • Better cardiovascular health.

These are all great benefits of regular exercise. However, according to the CDC, nearly 30% of adults age 50 and older and not physical active. If you are ready to start ramping up your physical activity, here are some fun and easy workouts you can do right in your own home.

The best part about doing these exercises in the home is that they are safe, convenient and affordable. Not only do you not have to pay for a gym membership, but with these workouts, you also don?t have to worry about getting out of the house and traveling to the gym?especially in the winter.

At Home Strength Workouts For Seniors To Try

Ready to start working up a sweat at home? One of the best ways to do this is through strength training exercises. Strength training isn?t just for body builders or those who are looking to add bulk?it is actually very important for seniors as well.

Regular strength training can help seniors with all of their everyday activities and can help the littlest things become much easier. From walking up the stairs to getting in and out of the car?the more muscle strength you have the better. Plus, muscle strength is essential for helping prevent falls?which is the most common reason that seniors end up in the emergency room.

Strength training can not only improve muscle mass, but bone density as well and can actually reduce your risk of complications from heart disease.

Here are some easy and effective strength training exercises for seniors to do right at home this winter.

Wall Push Ups

Push ups can be a lot of work for any adult, especially seniors, but you can get similar arm and core benefits by doing wall push ups instead.

  • Stand straight up, facing the wall about one foot away.
  • Place your palms facing forward in front of you resting them on the wall.
  • Lean forward, using your arms as support and do a ?push up? as you would on the ground.

Repeat this exercise 10-15 times and push yourself to do several sets.

Chair Squats

  • Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Bend your knees as though you are sitting in a chair, and keep your shoulders and chest forward and upright.
  • Lower yourself down as though you are about to sit and push yourself back up right before you bottom hits the chair.
  • Use the chair itself for extra stability, if needed.

Repeat this exercise 10-15 times in a row and work your way up to three sets.

Grocery Arm Curls

You don?t have to use heavy weights in order to do bicep curls. Instead of pushing yourself in this manner, grab some everyday groceries like water bottles, canned vegetables or gallons of milk and use them as ?weights? as you perform basic and easy arm curls.

Balance Exercises For Seniors

Much like strength training, balance is also very important for seniors. Here are some easy balance exercises any senior can do at home.

Calf Raises

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart near a chair for support.

  • Life yourself up on your toes as high as you can, you should feel a pull in the back of your calves.
  • Carefully lower yourself back down so your heels touch the ground.

Repeat this 15-20 times, taking time to rest in between. This will not only help your balance, but will give you a great calf workout as well.

Flamingo Stand

This is an easy, yet effective exercise to help build balance, and it is something you can do while watching TV or listening to the radio.

  • Stand straight up with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Pull one knee up to your chest and hold, challenging yourself to balance on one leg.
  • Use the chair for support if needed.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds, lower your leg and repeat.

When you are done, try this exercise on the other leg.

Balance Stick

Sit in a chair with strong posture, the core engaged and your shoulders up and back. You should feel tightness in the core.

  • Hold a cane, stick or broom out in front of you, the palm of your hand, keeping it flat.
  • Let the cane balance as long as you can, until your arms grow tired.

As you continue to get better at this exercise, start moving your arms, in sync, up and down for more of a challenge.

These safe, easy, indoor exercises are all great ways for you to get in shape this winter and stay in shape all winter long.




Holiday Travel Tips for Seniors

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This season is a really common time for family travel, especially around Thanksgiving and the Winter holidays, which are right around the corner. Traveling can be fun, but it can also be quite stressful and can take a lot out of you if you aren?t careful. This is especially true for seniors.

Traveling as a senior can be very strenuous. It can lead to illness and confusion and it can make any senior very tired when everything is said and done. Any senior planning on taking a trip this season, whether they are driving a few hours or flying across the country, needs to be prepared with a few travel tips.

Travel doesn?t have to be overly stressful, just keep these tips in mind first.

  • Load up on the vitamin C first. Seniors are already prone to getting sick during this time of year, but their chances increase even more when they are traveling. Stress, lack of sleep and being in tight quarters on planes and buses around sick people can all put seniors at risk when they travel. Giving the immune system a boost ahead of time with plenty of vitamin C and water can help ward off illness.
  • Keep medications handy. Seniors should always pack a purse, fanny pack or small backpack with all of their necessary medications or any medications they may need for when they travel. Think of this as a traveling medicine cabinet. It is always best to be as prepared as possible, and to make sure that this bag stays handy at all times, whether it is on a plane or when you are spending a day at a relative?s house.
  • Comfort is key. It is easy for seniors to want to push it while they are traveling in order to keep up with everyone else they are spending time with. Seniors should always make sure that they are wearing comfortable shoes, bringing a light jacket wherever they go and doing their best to know their own limits. There are so many seniors who ultimately get sick after they travel because they have stressed themselves out. This doesn?t have to be necessary.
  • Ask for help. There are many resources available for senior travelers, which is why no senior should feel bad asking for help. Seniors should try to travel with someone else, arrange for transportation when getting to and from the airport and take advantage of priority airline boarding for seniors. Travel can be stressful, but there are free resources available that can help.

The biggest thing for seniors to remember when traveling is that preparation is key. The more time they take to make sure all of the details are covered?the better off they will be. There is no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to traveling as a senior, and little tips like this can go a long way in helping any senior have a safer and more enjoyable travel experience.

Tips for Seniors Handling a Long Flight

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Spring is right around the corner and as the weather starts to heat up, more and more people are going to start to be planning big trips and long flights to their favorite getaway destinations. However, while some people are frequent fliers, for many seniors, the process of a long flight can be overwhelming and more taxing than its worth?even when traveling to a fabulous final destination.

So, for seniors with a long flight in their future, whether they are traveling for fun, or visiting family or friends, there are a few tips to keep in mind when handling longer flights, that can keep the travel experience less stressful and the final destination that much sweeter.

Choose Your Disability Options When Booking a Flight

When booking a flight, especially a long one, make sure that you stop and look at the disability options available for that flight. Many major airlines, such as Southwest, allow passengers to select disability options right online when they book their flight. This includes options like wheelchair assistance, help with boarding, assistance animals, bringing an oxygen concentrator or needing a place to store your own wheelchair. The more prepare the airline is for any special assistances you will need?the better.

Request a Wheelchair From the Airport

If you have some mobility issues, but don?t have your own wheelchair?the airport can help. This can make the process of getting too and from that long flight much easier. You just need to contact the airport ahead of time to make the arrangements. This way you will get to your flight on time and won?t be too tired from your journey through the airport.

Bring Your Medications in Your Carry On

You never know what will happen on a long flight (and you never know what will happen with your baggage when taking multiple flights) so it is always best to be safe rather than sorry with your medications. Bring all of your medications (including any over the counter options) you have on your flight with you just in case.

Pack a Pillow and Blanket

Sleeping on planes can be very uncomfortable, but sleeping through a long flight is not only a great way to pass the time, but to help you feel less tired or jet-lagged when you land. Pack a travel pillow (they may seem strange, but they are great for your neck and actually quite comfortable) as well as blankets to sleep with. Many planes are quite cold and you don?t want to rely on those small, thin airplane blankets.

Consider Compression Socks

If you are prone to feet and ankle swelling or blood clots (as some seniors are), then you may want to consider compression socks when you travel. These socks will promote blood flow from the feet to your heart, so when you land you won?t have uncomfortable swollen ankles, but instead will be ready to walk through the airport and on to your next destination.

Travel can be a lot of fun for any senior, but you never want travel to add extra stress on yourself because of a flight. Keep these tips in mind so you can make the most of any upcoming flight that may be in your future.

Why Travel?

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We understand that not everyone likes to travel. No doubt it can be challenging, but there are significant benefits if you choose to enliven your routine with a little excursion.?

Traveling makes you smarter!

From the beginning of choosing a location, packing your suitcases and figuring out the logistics of who will water your plants or sit your pet, traveling takes you out of your routine. Anything new and different like this which engages your brain, causes new neurological pathways to grow.

Learning a new language, taking a cooking or painting class while on your trip and meeting new people all place you in unique situations, and your brain strengthens.

Traveling is healthy for you!

Traveling makes you strong!

We realize that all these new patterns outside the everyday routine can be perceived as a hassle to some people. Yes, and that?s good! We learn flexibility, creativity and self-reliance. Those are great attributes to have and useful to daily living.

Flexibility of mind, new solutions to new challenges and our sense of who we are and how we cope gets stronger.

Traveling helps you become an interesting story teller.?

When things don?t go according to plan, those seemingly challenging circumstances make for the best stories!

If everything goes perfectly on your trip or vacation, and people ask ?How did you enjoy yourselves? How was your trip?? All you can say is ?Great!?

But if you lose your luggage in a foreign country, an unexpected hail storm hits your day outing, or your boat?s motor konks out, it?s then that you have stories to tell!

Don?t fret, go with the flow!

Traveling opens your mind.

One of the best benefits of travel is the widening of perspective.

When you visit other cultures, engaging with the people, their customs, their food, their language and the different natural surroundings, it can?t help but change your perspective.

That internal road to opening your mind has benefits for you when you return home.

Traveling helps you lighten up.

When you take a trip, you realize that you can?t bring everything with you in your suitcase. It?s just not possible.

So, when you live out of a suitcase for a month or more, you come to realize that all the ?stuff? you have at home might not be as necessary as you once thought. How many pairs of shoes do you need? How many sweaters, shirts, and change of clothing are crucial to a comfortable life?

Did you survive not seeing your favorite TV programs? Did you miss that ball game?

The encounter with minimalism that travel requires is refreshing.

Take a chance, take a trip!

So you see, the exotic and the new that you encounter when on the road has measurable, significant benefits for you.

Grow your brain! Expand your mind! Lighten up on your stuff and take a trip!

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website?,?they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books,?The Adventurer?s Guide to Early Retirement?and?Your Retirement Dream IS Possible?available on their website?bookstore?or on?

Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and for many families that means it is time to start planning for Thanksgiving travel. Thanksgiving is notoriously the busiest travel weekend of the year, which means no matter where you are planning on going, you can expect your travel to be even more difficult than normal. Roadways are going to be congested with traffic, airports are going to have overbooked flights and long security lines and everyone is going to feel more stressed than ever about traveling.

Traveling in these conditions can be stressful enough, but if you are enduring this type of travel situation with a senior family member, it can be even more overwhelming. Everyone traveling with a senior family member wants their loved ones to stay safe and comfortable during this type of travel experience so that they can make the most out of their upcoming holiday. Here are a few tips on how you can make this process more enjoyable for everyone involved.

  1. Give yourself an extra hour on everything. If your drive is normally two hours, plan for three. If you normally get to the airport 90 minutes in advance, plan on 2 ? hours. This is an easy rule of thumb for Thanksgiving weekend that will have everyone feeling less stressed.
  2. Do your best to avoid those big travel days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are the two most congested travel days on these weekends, so if your loved one?s schedule is flexible, try to avoid these days all together.
  3. Don?t assume that driving is always a better option. There are many people who attempt to avoid flying or trains on Thanksgiving weekend, and instead drive distances they would not normally drive. However, driving can be just as stressful for seniors, and you can expect roads, gas stations and travel plazas to be overrun with other travelers.
  4. Always pack snacks. Nothing can make the stress of traveling worse than feeling hungry or having low blood sugar. Snacks can be your best friend when traveling with a senior, and can help them keep their energy and their spirits high.
  5. Have a detailed plan. While some plans may never come to fruition, it is still smart to have a plan in place, if you can. This will at least give you a blueprint of how the travel day should be going.
  6. Know the perks of traveling in airports with seniors. While the airport can be a chaotic mess on Thanksgiving weekend, there are many perks that seniors can take advantage of. Call ahead to schedule wheelchair service if your loved one may have issues walking long distances. Also remember that seniors don?t have to remove their jackets or shoes when going through security! Little things like this can help you save time when going though the airport.

If you fail to prepare for the trials and tribulations that can come with Thanksgiving travel, it can seriously impact your entire Thanksgiving holiday. Keep these tips in mind to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible and everyone can enjoy their Thanksgiving vacation together.

Approximately one in four adults over the age of 65 in the United States uses a mobility device and there are so many different types of devices out there that can help seniors stay mobile and active. Two of the most common types of mobility devices out there are wheelchair and transport chairs. While these two devices are very similar and are often confused, they do have a few differences and are not the exact same.

If you are considering a mobility device for yourself or for someone else, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of chairs. It is important to understand these differences so that you can determine which type of chair will work based on you or your loved one?s needs.


A wheelchair is a common piece of equipment and is obviously meant for people who have issues walking. Many people use wheelchairs in order to live more independently and to get around on their own. They only need to be able to use their arms to support the wheelchair. These chairs typically have large wheels in the back and smaller wheels in front which help provide better movement. A standard wheelchair is made with a steel frame and weighs around 35 pounds.

Transport Chairs

Transport chairs are much lighter than standard wheelchairs. All four wheels tend to be the same size, although the front wheels swivel for better maneuverability. The back wheels, however, are fixed and equipped with brakes so that the user can easily enter or exit the chair. While transport chairs can be made from a variety of different materials, they tend to be much lighter and don?t weigh more than 25 pounds.

While at first sight, these mobility devices may seem similar, they are actually quite different. In most situations, transport chairs are used when traveling or when people who rely on wheelchairs need something that are more mobile and lightweight. The more you know about mobility devices, the better prepared you will be to find the device that best meets your needs.

Transport chairs, however, cannot propel themselves forward. They are best used in situations where the user needs to be in the chair for a shorter period of time, or when they need to transfer from one location to the next. Many people use transport chairs for more temporary situations, while wheelchairs are more commonly used with people who are completely unable to walk or use a walker on their own. Since transport chairs typically aren?t as permanent as wheelchairs, they tend to be less customizable. Wheelchairs, on the other hand, can be easily customized in size, features, materials and even arm length, particularly for those who spend their entire lives in their chair.

It’s the time of year that is popular for vacations, and every year millions of families around the world will take off on a fun vacation where they can rest, relax and unwind. While families used to all pile in to the same hotel room when they were on vacation, now vacation rentals are easier than ever to find and book. Sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway all make finding vacation rentals super simple and straightforward. However, if you are planning on traveling with a senior, you’ll want to make sure that you find vacation rental that is accessible for the elderly individuals in your group.? If the senior you’re traveling with has a disability, it’s especially important to find a location that is accessible for travel.

The great things about vacation rental sites is that filter features make it easy to search for homes that specifically have certain features that can make them more senior friendly.? Here are some of the filters to consider and ones that you can use to find senior-friendly homes.

  • Bathtubs with a shower chair or a roll-in shower with a chair
  • A handheld showerhead that can help make showering easier
  • A handicap parking spot near the entrance of the rental
  • Accessible-height beds and toilets
  • An elevator in the home that can help seniors get up and down multiple stories
  • Ramps outside the home for easy access into the rental
  • Grab bars in the bathroom along both the toilets and the showers
  • Step-free access into the home and different rooms
  • Wide-clearance in the bathroom, making it easy for seniors to get their walker or wheelchair in the bathroom
  • Wide clearance into the rooms and wide doorways and hallways
  • Bedroom on the main floor

If you are searching for a home on Airbnb, then you will find there is a filter tab that is specifically for ?Accessibility? that allows you to choose different home features such as this. Another great thing about these vacation rental sites is that they have maps available, so you can see how close your rental is to the different attractions or types of public transportation services that you want your senior loved one to be able to access.

Of course, with these rental sites you can also easily communicate with the owner of the property right online. They know the rental space better than anyone and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the accessibility of a rental unit.

There are so many benefits to using a vacation rental service and of being able to rent an entire home, condo or apartment for your whole family to enjoy vacation together. Keep these tips in mind as you look for a rental that has important accessibility features for your senior loved one.

Retired, or retirement are such weak words for what we are experiencing. They were fine for the lifestyle of 30 or 40 years ago. Most often someone “retired” from an active, productive life and then spent their “golden years” traveling, volunteering, or relaxing on the front porch, watching the world go by.

Today, that is not the normal experience. For many of us this phase of life is more vibrant, more creative, and simply more fun than when we were working full time to prepare for retirement. Maybe we have cut back on our spending habits, moved to a smaller home, or curtailed our physical activities because of an illness or injury. None of that should affect the reality of having the time and freedom to explore other parts of ourselves.

As the title implies, not receiving a paycheck or regular income from gainful employment (interesting phrase) doesn’t automatically lead to an accurate description of where we are in life. It certainly shouldn’t imply we are living a certain way because of how we receive our income.

I imagine you would agree with me that many of the people you know are just as busy and working just as hard as they did while getting a regular paycheck. For many, the cliche about not knowing how “I ever had time for work” is quite true. When the obligations of regular employment end, the freedom to craft each 24 hour day to please and satisfy us can suddenly make a day seem too short.

Of course, good time management can get away from us. We can over-commit, over-schedule, and over-promise our availability. We feel pressure to do more, be more available to others, and to believe an hour on the porch reading a book is a wasted 60 minutes that could have been more “productive.” Time becomes our master instead of our servant.

After several months, or even a few years, the demands on our time tend to find a proper balance. We are able to have the proper mix of “me” time and “involvement with others” time. We learn to say no when necessary and yes when it suits us.

Roughly one-third of retired folks say they have considered going back to work, either full or part time. Boredom, financial needs, loss of community, and a need to contribute are often cited as reasons. While I understand these motivations, I would argue that all but financial considerations can be addressed without rejoining the workforce.
Too often I think these reasons are just the easiest answer, not necessarily the best answer. I would argue that taking a job because of boredom, feeling isolated, or because of the need to feel like part of a team is cheating you out of a much richer, more satisfying experiences. Taking any job comes with limitations on your time, your freedom to make choices, or your inability to react to something spur-of-the-moment. These limitations don’t have to exist when you are not working for someone else.

There is one exception to this: you have turned a hobby, a passion, or an idea into a business of your own. That is fundamentally very different from working for someone else. Because it occurs within your retirement framework, you can control how much time you are willing to give to whatever it is. You decide how far to take something. You draw the lines that prohibit encroachment into the rest of your life.

The previous link between a regular paycheck and what it means to be retired no longer exists. We don’t cash a check every two weeks, but that has nothing to do with how we live our life. We can be as busy or relaxed as we choose. We can spend our days shifting from project to project, volunteer work to grandkids duty, classes at the community college, zumba at the gym, wine tasting class in the evening, or binge-watching Netflix.

Or, we can spend the day on a hike through a nature preserve, bike to a favorite ice cream store, or spend an hour weeding the garden. We can read that trashy summer time novel,? nap in the hammock, and then have dinner at our favorite restaurant by the lake.

None of these choices imply retirement to me. They are simply a full menu of options available when I am not trading my time for money.


Bob Lowry writes the Satisfying Retirement blog. For the last eight years he has offered practical and time-tested advice on all phases of a fulfilling retirement lifestyle.

How Much Income Do I Need in Retirement?

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by Bob French, CFA

Most people are focused on saving for retirement so they?ll have the money they need. However, ask most people how much they?re going to spend in retirement and they have no idea. To plan for retirement effectively, you need to have some sense of what your spending needs are actually going to be.

Knowing what you?ll spend helps you know how much you need to save. Just like everything else in finance, figuring out how much you will spend in retirement is a big ?it depends.? Most folks want to carry the same standard of living into retirement they had while working. Same standard of living, same cost of living, right? It?s not quite that simple. Retirement changes everything, including how you determine your budget.

One common approach is to find your ?replacement ratio.? This is found by taking the income you made immediately prior to retirement and figuring out what percent of that income you think you?ll spend every year. The amount you?ll spend is the amount you?ll need to replace every year in one way or another.

Most people end up needing less income in retirement than they did while working, because, among other smaller reasons:

  • You don?t need to save for retirement anymore;
  • You don?t have job-related expenses anymore (commuting, clothes for work, eating out for lunch);
  • You aren?t paying as many taxes since you?re income is lower.

While a lot of expenses will go down, you?ll also want to consider expenses that tend to go up in retirement, such as travel or other leisure activities you?ll have more time for. Depending on what you enjoy doing, this could be a serious consideration.

Along with your goals, you should also be thinking about the 7 Risks of Retirement Planning.

Empirically, your replacement ratio is inversely related to your pre-retirement income. The higher your income before retirement, the lower your replacement ratio.?Social Security?serves as the counterbalance, covering a larger proportion of post-retirement income for those who made less pre-retirement. This makes sense, as people with higher paying jobs had proportionally more of their income going to retirement, job-related expenses and taxes before retirement, rather than necessities.

Marlena Lee at Dimensional Fund Advisors found median replacement ratios by income level:

Don?t take these numbers as absolute truth, but they should put you in about the right ballpark of how much income you want in retirement. Take a serious look at your financial situation and your desired lifestyle to determine a realistic spending rate in retirement. If you want to spend a month traveling every year, you?ll want to budget for a larger replacement ratio than if your big annual trip is a long weekend at a local bed and breakfast.

Replacement ratios provide a great way to start thinking about how much income you?ll need in retirement, but they are only the beginning of the story. Your needs will almost certainly vary in retirement ? you may want to help pay for your grandchildren?s education, you could have health issues, or any number of things could happen.

Do this: Make a list with two columns ? on one side, list?things you want to accomplish in retirement; on the other, list?things you are afraid of in retirement. These can give you some idea of what you need to be prepared for in retirement. That list combined?with?your replacement ratio?will put you on the?path?to building a solid financial plan.

And to fond out how to make the markets your ally in putting this plan into action, learn about the 12 Principles of Intelligent Investors.