ElderChicks is pleased to share advice from “ElderExperts” on a variety of topics. Take our advice. It’s worth reading.
Welcome to Creative Personal Legacy Writing!
by Sue Barocas
I would like to introduce you to a new concept in personal legacy writing – the Personal Legacy Document (PLD). Not an autobiography, not a memoir, the PLD is a collection of original and/or otherwise authored writings that reflect your thoughts and feelings about what life has meant to you. It is a gift to give to friends, family, and future generations, or just keep for yourself.
For the past 4 years, I have worked with seniors in Rochester, New York, in a continuing education class titled Elderwriters: Celebrate Your Life! The course is pitched toward people who are not professional, or even amateur, writers. They are folks who would like to leave some kind of written legacy that combines family history, fond memories, and personal wisdom.
The PLD is a whole new look in legacy writing. The written pieces are short – sometimes as short as a couple lines, rarely longer than a page or two. Short pieces are a can-do kind of writing. They are ideal for the nonprofessional writer. Participants explore a wide range of forms – anecdotes and epiphanies, paragraphs and poems, vignettes, lessons learned, lists, essays, letters, and more – to collect their thoughts and celebrate their lives. They are encouraged to include quotations, poems, song lyrics, and prayers that have impacted their lives. They use the computer to add treasured photos, family documents and decorative icons to their work. The results are stunning. At the local copy shop the documents are duplicated and spiral-bound for under $10 each. You can’t beat it.
I have three tips for anyone wishing to create a personal legacy document:
- Don’t worry about your writing skills. Legacy writing is a come-as-you-are endeavor. Whatever basic writing skills you bring to the table will work just fine. No one is going to go over your work with a red pencil. It’s your life, your lens, your voice.
- Find a group. There are many benefits to working with a small legacy writing group. From my experience, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The collective sharing of ideas and remembrances gets everyone’s creative juices flowing. Reading your pieces aloud builds pride and confidence. The group provides energy and motivation when you get bogged down. Writing, which can be an isolating activity, becomes a social one.
- Get a guide. You need to be able to turn your good ideas into actual written pieces. You need information and suggestions about the planning, writing, organizing, printing, and preserving of your document. You need sample writings to peruse. You need to feel empowered.
I have recently published Elderwriters: Celebrate Your Life! A Guide for Creating Your Own Personal Legacy Document. The chapters are sequenced to take you from the beginning stages of legacy writing through the printing and preserving of your document. You’re still in the driver’s seat, but you have a roadmap.
For more information visit elderwriters.com.
Sue Barocas Author/teacher www.elderwriters.com firstname.lastname@example.org 585-473-8904
Should I or Shouldn’t I…
(consider long-term care insurance)?
By Carol Einhorn
Are you a woman?
Are you between the ages of 40 and 75?
What would you do if you were suddenly faced with an additional monthly cost of $10,000?
How long before you would exhaust your assets/retirement plan?
Does this concern you?
Do you have family members nearby who could take care of you (take off from work) in your/their home should you require care?
Would you want those family members to care for you?
Can you afford the premiums for a long term care policy without having to significantly change your style of living? (For $6000 per month benefit with 3% inflation protection, 3 years of care and a 90 day wait- approximately $120 per month age 45; $165 per month age 55; $255 per month age 65; $625 per month age 75)
If you needed care, where would you prefer to receive it?
Would you move to a different state/country if you needed care?
Do you hope to leave an inheritance to your children? a charity?
How is your current health?
Did either of your parents ever have dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes?
Do you live with a spouse/significant other?
Do you need/have life insurance?
The cost of care is expensive- about $10,000 a month. The cost of insurance is expensive as well! What will enable you to sleep better at night– having the insurance and never using it or not having it and being faced with the enormous cost of care?
Which “mistake” would you rather make?Carol G. Einhorn Jules C. Einhorn, CLU, ChFC Arbor Group 267-852-0222 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.arborgrp.com **************************************************************************************************
Travel is My Passion
by Adele Crivaro
First let me say what an honor it is to be among such esteemed ElderExperts! My name is Adele Crivaro and I am the president of Superior Travel Service, based in Mount Laurel, NJ. Now in my seventies, travel has always been my passion and in my early 20’s I became a stewardess (as we were called then), but one could not be married in those days so I left after two years to have a family. As a widowed empty-nester I went back, at age 66, to fly international charters to Europe. In the interim I opened several businesses, spent 22 years as a real estate broker, and, after the death of my husband, and the first of my three bouts with cancer, I opened my own specialized travel business 17 years ago. Then my adventures truly began!
I have sent and/or accompanied groups all over the world. I have travelled alone or with a girlfriend, and many times with a group. I have planned special interest trips for church groups and family reunions. Last November I arranged for seven friends to accompany me to South Africa for a two-week dream trip including a safari, Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope, and Victoria Falls – really wonderful! Last May I arranged an “incentive group” for a company that has been a client since I began. We boarded the Queen Victoria out of England, then to a real-deal castle, (Thornbury), where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn spent ten nights in 1535. I surprised them by arranging to have Medieval costumes laid out on their beds for a final dinner in Tudor Hall. Great fun!
Many women our age worry about travelling alone, without a partner or spouse. But, it’s so much easier today than it ever was. I have always been able to bring a girlfriend, go with a group, or even tag along with a group I wasn’t officially a part of!
At our age it can be very exciting to explore new places, experience new things and make new friends. Did you know if you are able to arrange a certain size group you could possibly travel for free? There are so many options, including cruises, land tours, and more. In November I’m going on a “Steps of Paul” trip that includes a cruise from Athens to Patmos, Ephesus, Corinth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mount of Olives, and the River Jordan. (One can, if desired, be baptized there.) I got a great agent rate which I can share with 2 – 3 more people. If anyone is interested, let me know!
As you can see, it’s not too hard to find travel companions if you put your mind to it. But, I must confess that some of my greatest travel experiences have been on solo trips. No kidding! So, don’t be afraid to go yourself if you can’t find a friend or partner to join you. You’re still bound to have an unforgettable adventure.
Please feel free to call me for any travel-related matter. If I can help, I’ll be more than happy to. I hope you’re inspired to take a trip. You’ll be glad you did! [Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page.]P.S. Click here for an interesting article on solo travel for women, inspired by the recent movie of “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Adele Crivaro President Superior Travel Service Groups/Incentive Desk 10 Birchfield Drive Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: 856-235-8482 Direct: 856-727-7873 email@example.com **************************************************************************************************
The Art of Purging Your Stuff
By Judith LeFevre, Realtor at Prudential Fox and Roach
Years go by and we are all guilty of collecting items of distinct and indescribable value. The antique glasses from our great grandmothers, those silver trays that need to be polished or they’ll turn black, the dress we wore ten years ago that will come back in style, or the photograph albums that contain the story of our children’s lives. All of these things have importance, but when you are downsizing it is impossible to keep all of it with us. It is daunting to release these things into the wild abyss and possibly never see it again, but it is part of moving on and needs to be addressed with some TLC.
My first rule is never purge alone. Get a son, daughter, niece, best friend, or someone with a sense of clarity to help you. There are several steps to follow, as described below:
- Do one section of the house at a time. Focus on one area before moving to the next. If you gather everything from the entire house up in one spot you will be instantly overwhelmed.
- Start in your closet. If you have not worn an item in two years, take it to Goodwill where a needy person will be glad to have it. That includes shoes, handbags, and those dressy dresses that we know are coming back in style, but never really do. Pack as you go in plastic bags then drive them immediately to the drop off before you start changing you mind.
- Check out your kitchen. How many sets of dishes do you need? By the time we are ready to downsize, one set of dishes (service for eight) is more than enough. Have no more glasses than you need for everyday drinking and of course your wine glasses. Pots and pans are important if you are planning to do a lot of cooking. Pick you the ones you use the most and give the rest away including all of those serving pieces that are in the back of the cabinet. If you are entertaining a large group use plastic dishware, glasses and silverware. Who wants to clean up all those dishes anyway? (I bet a family member would love your china and crystal.)
- Look at your furniture. Can you see all of it in your new home? Remember less is more. If you are moving to a smaller space and crowd it with furniture you won’t feel comfortable. Pick your favorite pieces to take with you and add a few new ones if you can to make your new home feel like it was designed for you. Have a garage sale. Place some signs out in the neighborhood because your neighbors will be your best customers. If you are computer savvy and have some items that seem valuable list them on eBay or take them to a consignment shop. (Always seek available help.) If you don’t have any relatives to assist you there are companies that specialize in home sales.
- Always remember to look at things in three categories. Number # 1 – I LOVE IT, Number # 2 – I WANT IT, AND Number #3 – DO I REALLY NEED THIS ?!?! If you Love the painting that you purchased on the trip to Ocean City in the summer of 1965 then keep it because you will find a place for it somewhere. If you want something JUST BECAUSE but are not sure if you will every use it put it in the large carton labeled “ASK THE KIDS.” If they take it to use at their home you won’t feel so bad. If you need it or think you do ask yourself the question. AM I REALLY GOING TO USE THIS? WHAT WAS THE LAST TIME I USED THIS? Then put it in the carton marked GARAGE SALE.
To all of you making life changes all I can say is don’t fear the unknown. You will find that smaller homes give you a sense of freedom. I have been a realtor for the last 10 years, leaving the corporate world to make the change. Change is good, so embrace it. If you have any questions about downsizing, or any type of real estate purchase or sale please contact me as I would be glad to help.Judith LeFevre Prudential Fox and Roach 856-810-5300
Wills + Trusts = Peace of Mind
By Libby Barrabee, Attorney and Member of the California State Bar Association
I am an estate planning attorney in California, and still working. I like what I do and can more or less regulate how much time I spend in the office. Thelma asked me to write a few paragraphs about estate planning, especially for those of us “elders.” You should be aware that each state has its own laws and rules governing the administration of estates after someone dies. My perspective is California, of course, where we routinely do trusts because the probate process here is more onerous than is some states.
When is the last time you checked your estate planning documents – your trust, will, durable power of attorney for financial matters, and most important of all, your health care directive? Most of us try to avoid thinking about such things, but once everything is in order, there is a great sense of relief. You should at least review your documents every few years to be sure there has been no change in your beneficiaries or your fiduciaries (agents, executors, trustees). This does not mean anything needs to be changed (unless you want to), but just review them and make sure you know where they are.When my husband died several years ago, I was so grateful that he had made sure all our information was complete, in one place, and easy to follow. You would think that since I do estate planning, probate and trust administration for a living that handling things would be no problem. Not so. It was much easier because of his organization, but it is never easy. Once we go beyond spouses, think how much harder for your children or whomever you name as executor or trustee, if all is not in order.
Even more important than taking care of things after your death, what steps have you taken to be sure someone will be taking care of your finances and your health care in the event you can’t? A will only takes effect on your death; a successor trustee can only take care of things actually in the trust. There are some assets that cannot be held in trust, such as retirement plans (including IRAs) and some others that may have a beneficiary designation, such as annuities or pay on death bank accounts. Therefore, it is important to name an agent under a durable power of attorney for financial matters who can handle those matters for you if you become incapacitated.
All of us want to make our own decisions regarding our health care, but there may come a time when we can’t. Everyone should have an advance health care directive (or whatever title your state has for such a document). These can be as general or specific as you like, but should always appoint an agent (and alternate agents) to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so, and express your wishes as to life prolonging procedures.
I would be happy to answer any general questions, but of course every situation is different, and as I stated before, every state has its own rules, and I only know California.
[Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.]
Invisible No More
How to use Color to Look Younger and More Vibrant
By Rose Marie Beauchemin, Founder, Director of Education, The Beau Institute
Meeting with Dr. Thelma Reese was exhilarating and fun. Her enthusiasm was infectious. We sat and brainstormed about some aesthetic contributions that I could possibly make to the blog. Thelma said something that day that stunned me and I knew at that moment, it would be my first topic. She said that many elderly women feel they are invisible. This disturbed me so deeply that I found my mind racing for solutions even as she continued to speak. No one should ever feel invisible. I find this synonymous to being invalidated. How awful.
Why is it that some women walk into a room and are immediately noticed and some are not? Color is one thing that can turn heads. Are you wearing the right colors? The power of color is terribly underestimated. Just knowing if you should be wearing Warm or Cool colors can make all the difference in your appearance. When you are wearing the right colors that are in harmony with you, you will appear younger and much more vibrant and any and all flaws will be less noticed or not at all. Yes…even age spots.
Another rule of thumb with color is; lighter, brighter and clearer as you mature. Black, should be out of your wardrobe, at this point. It is too heavy a color. Here is why. Typically, complexions tend to lighten, hair becomes gray or is colored several shades lighter than your 30’s, eyebrows thin and fade, eyelashes thin and fade, so you can see how Black can be too heavy a color and wear you. The black will drown out delicate coloring and dull your skin. Stay with the lighter, brighter and clearer colors and I will tell you how to figure out your best colors.
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself and better yet, find some articles of clothing in the following colors (even tablecloths,etc.) and place yourself in front of a mirror while making the comparisons. Take the colors and place them across your chest right under your face, one at a time. If you can seat yourself near natural light, that would be great but not necessary. We will work with Cool versus Warm. The first color is Cool and the second is Warm. Some combinations may be more obvious than others. That is normal.
Let’s begin with Black and Brown. …do you look better in black or brown?
Which color draws the focus toward your eyes? Ask yourself, if someone were walking toward you, would they see the color first or your face? Is the black too heavy for you? Where does your complexion appear creamier and more even toned?
Now, take white-white and ivory. Does the white brighten your complexion or do you see the white color before you see your face? In other words, is the white wearing you? Here’s another question to ask when you are testing white and ivory…If someone were walking toward you, what would they see first…the white or your face? Where does your complexion appear creamier and more even toned?
Pink versus peach are next. Where does your complexion appear creamy or blotchy?
Silver versus Gold are the final test. Find some jewelry and place it around or across your neck. The chest is a great area to test since it is generally flecked. Where does your skin become more creamy and where does it appear more spotty and flecked or even reddish.
Don’t be surprised if you have to go through this exercise more than once to begin to see the changes and the differences. Your eye will become keener as you do it. It is fun and so informative and mostly, it is about YOU!
Once you have decided, go for it! No, you don’t need to purchase a new wardrobe but you can purchase a few scarves, lipsticks and blushes in those warm or cool colors and you will light up when you wear them.
Rose Marie Beauchemin, Director of Education is a highly trained permanent make up specialist. Ms. Beauchemin brings over 30 years of experience in makeup artistry, facial morphology, color theory and analysis, and paramedical cosmetics to both her client procedures and permanent cosmetics training. For more information about Ms. Beauchemin, click here.