Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Be Prepared for Your Death

When babies are born, their families rejoice and are quite overjoyed. Their parents are always there to guide them and attend to their needs. As they grow old, they are capable of doing things on their own, and some of them even choose to leave their homes for greener pastures. When they finally find a good job, they can take care of all their expenses.

Life is full of surprises, and it is very much unpredictable. Many people die every day; are you prepared for it? You can't say that you'll die at this age because who knows, after an hour or a second you may die.

As babies are born in this world, they come with a cost. Their parents have to pay for their hospital bills and other medications. And when people finally rest in peace, their families will still have to spend money for their funeral. 

When a person dies, his or her family is sad because they lost a loved one. And sometimes, the burden is even more felt if they don't have enough money to spend for the funeral. This is one reason why a person should be prepared for death.

Although a lot of people are scared by the thought of death, you shouldn't be that way. You should be prepared and start living a good life for other people to remember you. Baby boomers should start preparing for this event because for the next years to come, for they will be the ones to face this reality.

The years 1946 to 1964 were also the years of increased births. During these years, baby boomers were born. The US government is expecting the death rate to increase between the current years and will continue until 2035. It can reach as high as 3.5 million annually, an increase of about 50% of the death rate in the US alone.

As baby boomers reach their timeline, they are about to face the final fact of life. All living things must end, and man is no exception. Because of the new technology in the medical profession, many baby boomers' lives were extended or postponed. But now, it's inevitable.

Perhaps, families of baby boomers are not yet ready. Even the entire population may not be ready to face massive deaths of baby boomers. Not one is interested, but their lives are slipping through even if they don't want it that way.

Seldom can you find couples talking about death? In fact, statistics have shown that many people don't have the courage to speak about their death. They find it hard to discuss matters about death on a more personal level. But death is an occurrence that all people must face and deal with.

The family of the baby boomers should be prepared to make the final arrangements. And this has nothing to do with hotel reservations. The final arrangements pertain to the funeral, cremation or cemetery burial of their loved ones.

Baby boomers probably know that by now, and they are preparing for their final trip. They came into the world and their generation was highly noted in history because of their large number. And now, they will again make a history, only now, they would be parting this world.

Most Boomers want to be prepared. Typical examples are insurance plans and educational plans. Final arrangements are now widely acceptable in the society. In fact, there are those who plan for their burial.

You have to overcome your fear. And baby boomers are quite known to be strong individuals. So there is no need to be scared now that you're in the last stages of your battle in life.   
If you've made your final arrangements, then you're family and loved ones will not have many problems during the funeral. They will be able to spend the remaining hours by your side until you're finally taken to your final destination. 

When baby boomers were still in their youth, they didn't want to grow old. Funny right, but guess what, a lot of the baby boomers are now ageing. And now that they're old, they can't do anything about it. The last thing they can do is to prepare for the coming of death.    

Should you assist adult children 1

My thanks to A Satisfying Retirement for the idea. When I was growing up, my grandfather helped his children (my mom, and her brother and sister)  many times by unexpected gifts of money. The money he gave, I believe helped my parents buy their first home. So the idea of helping family is not new to me or to my family.

My brother in law helped his new adopted daughter by taking in and raising her two children from about age one, when she was unable to cope.   I have helped my son and daughter when they have called on us, which is not that often. I have a friend who helps his adult children by taking care of his grandchildren about 35 hours a week when the parents are working. He loves it, but the children are young and it is taking a toll on his energy and his health.

The  issue of helping adult children either with cash or time is a concern for many of us. The Australian government did a report on this issue and some of the information is interesting:

Researchers in the United States have found that a third of children under the age of six receive up to 10 hours of care a week and that 47% of all grandparents with grandchildren (under 13 years) living nearby provide some childcare (Guzman, 2004). Although more grandmothers (54%) provided child care it was found that grandfathers (38%) also made a significant contribution. 

In the United Kingdom it has been estimated that up to half of working parents rely on grandparent care for their children. It was also found that although grandparents were prepared to provide some child care, and at times even reduced their working hours to provide it, they did not want to give up their jobs (Mooney, Statham, & Simon, 2002; Phillips, Bernard, & Chittenden, 2002).

Like my friend, who is experiencing health concerns, Grandparents bringing up grandchildren also experience changes in their own lifestyle, health and well-being. The following are issues of concern to grandparents in these circumstances:

  • isolation from friends and peers because they are not free to take part in activities with their own age group;
  • friends and family may not help them out because they do not understand the situation;
  • fewer opportunities to enjoy and indulge their grandchildren because they are responsible for discipline and other parenting tasks;
  • affects on health due to the additional work and stress involved in caring for often difficult children and they may neglect their own health; and
  • being tired and overworked (Fitzpatrick, 2004; Jendrek, 1993).

Providing extensive care for grandchildren has also been linked with a higher level of depression and other declines in the health of grandparents such as increased risk of coronary heart disease, even after taking into account the effects of age (Lee, Colditz, Berkman & Kawachi, 2003; Minkler & Fuller-Thompson, 1999). Grandparents who are parenting grandchildren are less optimistic about the future than other grandparents. They worry about their own health and what will happen to the grandchildren if they die or become incapacitated. Many grandparents worry about money, and how they will make ends meet as the grandchildren get older and their daily expenses are greater.  

We all want to help our children, if we can, but there is a price to be paid for that help. If we understand some of the risks of helping to us, then we are in a better position to make a decision that is best for us and best for our children. In the next post, I will outline some of the resources, from the Australian report, for grandparents who have taken on the responsibility of raising a grandchild.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ageism in Canada

According to our Senior Advocate, "Ageism is one of the most pervasive forms of discrimination — and a lot of people are guilty of it. 

The following is from a report from Revera on Agism (pdf file) in Canada.  Despite an aging population, ageism is widespread in Canada. It is the most tolerated form of social prejudice when compared to gender– or race-based discrimination.
      Six-in-ten (63%) seniors 66 years of age and older say they have been treated unfairly or differently because of their age
      One-in-three (35%) Canadians admit they have treated someone differently because of their age; this statistic goes as high as 43% for Gen X and 42% for Gen Y
      Half (51%) of Canadians say ageism is the most tolerated social prejudice when compared to gender- or race-based discrimination
      Eight-in-ten (79%) Canadians agree that seniors 75 and older are seen as less important and are more often ignored than younger generations in society
      Seven-in-ten (71%) agree that Canadian society values younger generations more than older generations • One-in-five (21%) Canadians say older Canadians are a burden on society

Ageism does not discriminate. It comes in many forms and from many different sources.

• Age discrimination towards seniors 66 and older comes primarily from younger people (56%). More than one-in-four (27%) seniors say they’ve experienced age discrimination from government and more than one-third (34%) from healthcare professionals and the healthcare system
      Nearly nine-in-ten seniors 66 and older who encountered ageism from the government, attribute it to programs and policies that do not take into account the needs of older people
      Nearly eight-in-ten seniors 66 and older who reported age discrimination in healthcare, said a healthcare professional had dismissed their complaints as an inevitable sign of aging
      The three most common forms of age discrimination faced by Canadian seniors include:
§  being ignored or treated as though they are invisible (41%)
§  being treated like they have nothing to contribute (38%)
§  assuming that they are incompetent (27%)It’s clear that if we don’t address ageism as a societal issue now,

It will compound and become more entrenched as our population ages. Change however, won’t happen overnight, and it is not the exclusive responsibility of any one group. In collaboration and consultation with older people, individuals, organizations and policy makers all have a role to play in building an age-inclusive society. As individuals and as a society, we must shine a light on the issue of ageism. 

We need to recognize, call out and challenge the negative stereotypes and assumptions about aging and older people. Rather than make assumptions about an individual’s abilities or quality of life based on their age, we need to be open-minded, view aging with optimism and reach out to older adults as vibrant, important and valued contributors to society.

Organizations need to raise awareness of ageism and be active contributors to ending it. As employers, the value and significant contributions older workers can and do make should not be overlooked.

We also need to better understand and meet the diverse needs of older consumers – after all, they encompass a broad age range, and the needs of a 65-year-old may be quite different to those of an 85-year-old. Policy makers, both government and non-governmental agencies, need to collaborate and plan for an age-inclusive Canada.

Building on the work that governments are already doing, there needs to be continued focus on developing policies that enable people of all ages to have the choices they need to live their lives to the fullest. Canadians overall have a negative perception of aging.

      89 per cent of Canadians associate aging with something negative like not being able to get around easily, losing independence or being alone
      Gen Y and Gen X are the most likely to hold a negative perception of aging; they are the least likely to think people 75 and older are pleasant, independent or healthy, yet the most likely to describe them as grumpy. A further one-in-three describe them as dependent, sick or frail

Finally, the older you get, the more optimistic you are about aging.

      While the majority of seniors 66 and older are optimistic about aging, the opposite is true of younger generations, specifically Gen Y’s and Gen X’s
      Canadians 66 and older are the most likely to associate aging with something positive like having more time to do things they love and more time to spend with those they care about, as well as being wiser and more self-assured

      Seniors 66 and older are the most likely to say “age is just a number” (41%) and approximately two-in-five say “you never stop living life to the fullest” (36%) and “the best is yet to come” (40%)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saving Money During a Recession:

Recession is a word that fills people with dread and bad visions.  It's a time people consider bad for finances, a time capable of magically shrinking a dollar's value overnight.  It also automatically increases the cost of basic living.  And where money is a huge concern, people always ask, 'Can I still save for real during a recession?'  The answer is: of course you can.  You just need to be wise and creative about the whole thing.  Here are ways how:

Plan your purchases.

By planning your purchases, you're effectively planning your expenses.  This will help eliminate the danger of impulse buying and unnecessary spending.  Try to look at the bigger picture when it comes to your basic needs.  

Plan for a week's worth of groceries, for example, so you'll have an idea of which items you truly need (and want) and which items you can do away with.  To make sure that you maximise your planning efforts, consider incorporating items on sale into your planning.  If there are foods on sale that week, for example, why not plan your week's menu using what's currently on slashed down prices?

Implement the 'B' word.

Budget, that is.  If you want to be able to save money during a recession, learn to discipline yourself and your family.  Using your plan as a reference, come up with a weekly or monthly budget and then stick to it.  If you must overshoot it, you should have a very good reason to do so.  Otherwise, don't spend.

Keep an eye out for bargains and discounts.

Learn to monitor stores for seasonal sales.  You'll save a lot of money by buying items on sale than in their regular prices.  During a recession, that's considered wise spending.  Check out store or newspaper ads and don't be shy about asking for cheaper alternatives, getting store rebates or using discount coupons.  Consider buying at discount stores as well.  Each dollar you don't pay is a dollar you save.

Buy in bulk.

If there are items in your house that are often in use (paper towels, canned beans, yoghurt, etc.), consider buying in bulk.  Many stores offer items in packs, which means you'll save money in the long run if you buy them instead of paying for individual items.  

Put off bigger purchases.

A good rule of thumb is, if you can't afford it, don't buy it.  If, for example, you have enough money for a downpayment on a new LCD TV but will have to borrow money off your credit card just to tide you over for the next few weeks, it would be really insane to make a purchase.  Wait until you can truly, comfortably afford something.  The worst you can do during a recession is not just failing to get money saved but also going into debt.

Practice prevention, not cure.

If you look closely, there are many things you do in your home that are syphoning precious dollars from your wallet.  Simple steps such as repairing and maintaining your home and appliances, using more efficient equipment and cutting down on unnecessary consumption can do wonders for your wallet and piggy bank.  And what better way to treat a recession than to be prudent?

Earn extra money.

If, after all, your efforts, the money you have saved is still not enough, don't let the recession get the better of you.  There are times when your efforts are just not sufficient – mostly because you don't earn enough.  Instead of asking for a raise that might never occur or waiting for a promotion to drop on your lap, consider finding other means with which to earn (and save) money.  

Consider getting a part-time job, work extra hours, do selling on the side or offer your skills as a freelancer.  The extra income you earn, along with your recession-powered money-saving plan, will help you make enough until after the tough times are over.