EFS Staff

One of the “funnies” my friend forwarded to me the other day by email was a website that can forecast my life expectancy if I plug in the relevant details. I figured why not? I uploaded the requested data and the answer was 101.5 years!  Well, I am in my early seventies in pretty good shape and look after myself, my mom died at 96, statistics claim centenarians are becoming one of the fastest growing demographics and medicines are keeping us alive even longer. There is a reasonable chance that my demise at the age of 101.5 is not a joke. There is only one problem: I will have far outlived my retirement funds! When I retired 10 years ago, like most people, I calculated the cost of living on the basis of 60-70 percent pre-retirement income, a foundation still used today. I did all my due diligence with a budget and with the mortgage paid off, and no other debts, I thought that my wife and I were well within the comfort zone of income coming in from investments and pensions.

It wasn’t too long before reality surfaced – nothing drastic, just “things” that were never given a heading in the old budget. More to the point, it was the realization that while our income was more or less fixed, our needs were increasing. What are your missing items? If you are about to retire, and counting your chickens, listen up! If you are well into retirement, you can just nod and say, “Yup, he’s got that right!”

BIG TICKET ITEMS-If you’ve decided to stay in your house, budget for that new roof or other major maintenance. If you’ve downsized and moved to a townhouse or condo, strata fees will increase regularly and there are regular assessments. For those who haven’t switched to riding a bike or a scooter, you’ll eventually need to replace your car. Allocate funds for these items unless future depletion of capital is not a problem.

FAMILY-God bless them, those kids and grandkids – the more the merrier. With their significant others, how many birthday and Christmas gifts need to be purchased? What about grads and weddings or other special occasions? Put aside a chunk of money for these expenses. Oh, and let’s not even talk about the potential cost of helping out children coming home after a marriage break up, job loss or other financial disaster – the kind of events that could trash any budget.

HEALTH-If you were lucky to keep your extended health insurance from employment, great!

If not, you pay the premiums, which increase with age and health problems. If you pay the freight as you go along, just some simple blood pressure meds, vitamins and supplements, eyeglasses and perhaps a hearing aid, physio and dental may run into thousands. As you age, these costs keep going up! And have you considered critical illness insurance?

TRAVEL-That was on the top of the list for your retirement activities, right? Before you go anywhere, you had better have travel insurance and hope to be healthy, because on top of the age-based increases in premiums, the extras for various health problems are significant. Then you need to allow for the ever-increasing cost of all travel-related functions and hope that in 10 years’ time you can afford to travel further than Calgary!

INVESTMENTS-Even with the best financial advisor managing your funds, another trashing by the markets like a couple of years ago, may put a major damper on your financial future. You’ll need all the help you can get unless you are a financial wizard or independently wealthy, in which case, none of the above would bother you. Happy retirement!

Article by George Zador, Reprinted with Permission from Senior Living Magazine, www.seniorlivingmagazine.com

Heart Healthy Recipe: Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Makes 4 servings. This mixture works well on many vegetables, like bell peppers, zucchini and onions. Try using it for vegetables on the BBQ.

Ingredients – 24 asparagus stalks, trimmed, 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice, 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cumin, 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) grated lemon rind, 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) black pepper

Directions – Preheat oven to broil at the highest temperature. Set the oven rack to the second highest setting. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Place asparagus in a row on the baking sheet. In a small bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together. Brush the mixture over the asparagus. Cook for 10 minutes, or until desired tenderness is achieved.

Nutritional Information Per Serving  (6 stalks) – Calories: 53, Protein: 2 g, Fat: 4 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Dietary cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 4 g, Dietary fibre: 1 g, Sodium: 10 mg, Potassium: 151 mg

Developed by Nadine Day, RD. ©The Heart and Stroke Foundation.  Reprinted with Permission from The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Seniors Tip: Advocating for a Family Member

Dependent on the health and ability of the person you care for, it is likely that at some point in your role as a family caregiver, you will advocate for that person. You may need to be present at appointments to ask questions, research and access services, resolve problem situations and ensure all care needs are respected and met. The following are some tips to help you be an effective advocate:

Communicate with the care recipient: As much as possible keep them involved in decisions that regard their care. Focus on their wishes as you work to advocate on their behalf.

Develop an action plan: Set realistic goals and take one step at a time toward reaching them. When tasks seem overwhelming, having a plan laying out each step makes everything seem more manageable. The worst time to figure out what is available and how to access it is during a crisis.

Prepare questions in advance: Health care professionals often have limited time to spend with you. Write down your questions in advance so you don’t forget them if you become stressed or upset. Rehearse what you want to say. Decide what information is most important and ask those questions first. Be concise and specific about the information you need.

Keep a written record: Write down answers you receive to questions. You may need to refer to this information in the future. Also, keep a log of contacts, phone numbers, names, dates and information acquired all in one place, so you can easily retrieve them when needed. In addition, keep a written record of any pertinent details related to your family member’s health condition and  behaviour.

Remain calm: Believe that the information you seek and what you have to say is important and that you and your family member have a right to the answers. Anger or emotional shutdown will only get in the way of the communication.

Communicate clearly and directly: Prepare in advance for any meetings so you can be clear and concise. Ask for what you want and express your feelings. Avoid rambling and don’t expect the other person to guess what it is you are trying to say.

Be persistent and follow-up: Finding the answers you need may take time, effort and several telephone calls or emails. Don’t give up. Persistence produces results.

Keep in mind that even though you are focused only on your family member, the healthcare professionals have many patients.

Find the right person: Determine who the key contact is so you don’t waste time struggling to find answers where they are not available.

Find an appropriate time: Good timing is essential and can make the difference between managing the problem and making it worse. Wait until you are less anxious, angry or upset before trying to deal with a situation. Arrange to meet and talk at a time when both parties can focus on problem solving.

Article By Family Caregiver Network Society, Reprinted with Permission from Senior Living Magazine, www.seniorlivingmag.com

Did you know? Six Ways to Improve Family Communication

A crisis can magnify dynamics forged over decades, and if these dynamics are dysfunctional, the decision-making process will be as well.  These tips will help families find their way to a better communication style:

  1. Recognize different perspectives.
  2. Acknowledge that contributions will not be equal.
  3. Gather information regularly and independently, then compare notes.
  4. Meet regularly as a family.
  5. Brush up on communication skills.
  6. Consider outside help.  

Source: www.parentgiving.com, Article Reprinted with Permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca

Joke or Quote of the Month: Eleven Hints for Life

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.