Retirement Archives

How to Energize Yourself in Two Simple Steps

In my last post, I wrote about the grueling hike in the Cascades Recreation Area of the Jefferson National Forest. I definitely needed a lot of energy and tenacity. Senior hikers were in the extremely small minority. Being close to a college town, most of the hikers looked to be college students. In the video below, I want to share what I did to energize myself in two simple steps.

How to Energize Yourself in Two Simple Steps


Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes

A few months ago, ran an article on how to “Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes” by fitness expert Joan Price, author of six books including, The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. Price is a fitness speaker, writer, and instructor whose specialty is helping beginning exercisers start and stick to an exercise program. It’s all about moving just as my new Gracefully Age Program (GAP) is designed to get you to do. Her passion is line dancing and she calls it the most fun you can have without a partner. I love it, too, as described in this post. So I share some of her suggestions to get fit in just a few minutes.

Joan Price says: Lack of time is a primary reason people give for failing to get the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Admittedly, it can be tough to find such a big chunk of time in your busy schedule.

Here are a few of her suggestions that I like when you’re out and about:

At the gas station — instead of sitting in your car as the gas flows, clean all your windows, alternating the hand that holds

When parking — instead of finding a spot close to your destination, get one a few blocks away.

Upon entering a store — if all the items you need will fit in a shopping basket, choose a basket instead of a cart.

As you shop — if you need a cart, do 10 bicep curls with weightier items — soup cans, juice jugs — before placing them in your cart. (If you feel silly doing this in public, do your bicep curls at home as you put the items in the pantry.)

While waiting in line — work your abdominal muscles. Suck in your belly and tighten your abs… hold for 10 seconds… relax. Repeat five to 10 times. And if that’s not enough, I would add, stand on one leg for a few seconds, then the other to hone your balance skills.

At the end of the day, close your eyes, breathe in and out deeply 10 times, feeling grateful for all that your body was capable of doing during the day. If you had worn a pedometer (which I always do) all day, you would also have an idea of how many steps you walked. Experts recommend 10K steps a day. Here’s a simple pedometer I love.

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Happy New Year 2011!

It’s been just over two years since I started this blog and what an enlightening journey it’s been. When I started it, I was writing two times a week and then cut down to once a week when I started Now, as the new year begins, I am in the process of developing a new program, Gracefully Age Program  (GAP), where I work with seniors and baby boomers who struggle to find enough time to take care of their aging bodies, but would like to feel like they are in their 20’s again … except with better judgment.

My clients and I work together on the goals to be accomplished. Currently, we are in a three-month pilot program, but the actual program starts this spring and will run for six months. I am developing resources for the program as well as joint ventures. My program will be unique in that as a Cellular Response energy healer, I will incorporate energy exercises which I find totally intriguing.

As my blog has pointed out for the past couple of years, we seniors need to take care of our bodies if we want to have a good quality of life ahead of us. As I observe seniors around me, so many of them have let their bodies deteriorate. They have no energy. They have no sparkle in their faces. They are in pain. Diseases are rampant. I felt a program like GAP could help people even more than what I am doing in my Cellular Response practice. But only people who are committed to do anything to have optimal health will succeed in such a program. We all know people who could benefit from such a program, but they are going to have to want it for themselves. I will be the link that will help them achieve their goals.

So, I need more time to spend on the next chapter of my retirement career of helping more people and therefore, I will be adding to my blog every other Wednesday instead of weekly. I’ll be back in two weeks.

I appreciate your friendship. Make 2011 the best year ever!

Second Anniversary —

This week I celebrate my second anniversary with It’s been an awesome experience and mind-boggling when I think about people who have connected with me via comments, phone calls, and e-mails. I’m also grateful for the wonderful contributing authors.

Using the tagline, “Helping Seniors Live Happily Ever After,” has enabled me to cover a variety of topics, but what I’ve cared most about is the health of my generation. If you still haven’t caught on to exercising, it’s important that you do.


I’ve mentioned being retired — it’s been almost five years now — and what fun to experience so many new things. Topping the list is becoming a grandma. What a delight! I’ve also been a “Cellular Response” practitioner for almost a year and how gratifying to see people feeling good.

Now I’m taking it a step further and I’ve developed a program to have seniors and baby boomers take charge of their own health. So I’m working with seniors and baby boomers who are struggling to find enough time to care for their aging bodies and would like to feel as though they are in their twenties again, except with better judgment. Know any senior who would do anything and pay anything to feel more energetic? Give me a call to find out more and get in on my no-cost pilot program. I’m looking for volunteers from anywhere in the United States. Call any time — 703.825.8384. I’d love to help!

St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Springfield, Virginia

In the Metropolitan Washington DC area where I reside, there are many “senior fairs” being held. Last week I attended the Senior Caregiver Forum and Panel Discussion at the Life Center at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Springfield, Va. It was their first such event and open to the entire community. I went at the invitation of a friend and I’m glad I did. I left with a wealth of information.

An excellent panel consisting of representatives of the private sector as well as the local government presented valuable information. When the moderator surveyed the audience to see if they had learned something, it appeared that every hand went up.

On the panel were Jean Galloway Ball  (, Barbara Sullivan of Silver Age, LLC, Jennifer Edge of Elderlink/Fairfax County’s Area Agency on Aging and coordinator of Fairfax County’s “Independent Living Project,” and Jeanna Muhoro of the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and transportation specialist for older adults and those with disabilities.

Senior Caregiver Forum & Panel Discussion

It’s not possible to present all that I learned, but I left feeling that we are very fortunate to have an abundance of resources in our community. One of the outstanding resources in Fairfax County is their Independent Living Project. In 2009 it won the Best Practices in Education Award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging and in 2010 it received the Injury Prevention Recognition Award from the Virginia Department of Health. The goal of the program is to help older adults and adults with disabilities stay in their homes and remain independent. It is a program consisting of workshops and classes in a myriad of areas including:

  • Exercise classes
  • Workshops on fall prevention, brain fitness, nutrition, etc.
  • Medication management

Additionally, they offer in-home consultations to identify safety risks and free minor home safety modifications such as grab bars. Click here for more information and once you get to the Web site, click on Events.

Another program that I had not even heard of is Fairfax County’s You Can! Live Well, Virginia! It is a program developed by Stanford University designed for adults with chronic health conditions where they learn to manage their illness and live well. As a wellness advocate, I was very excited to hear about such a program and look forward to learning more about it.

I encourage you to attend any senior fair that might be in your area or research the resources available to you as a senior. You might be amazed at what’s out there.

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Line Dancing for Seniors in Fairfax County

Susie Thomas

Last week I talked about the fun I’m having in senior aerobics. How about doubling the fun? It’s line dancing for seniors. I’ve always wanted to take line dancing lessons, but now that I’m retired and have the freedom to travel, dance lessons would be difficult because each week would build on the previous week and I would be totally lost were I to miss a week or two. Enter line dancing for seniors in Fairfax County, Virginia — a huge class with an enrollment of over 100. However, each week perhaps two-thirds of the enrolled show up, according to an enthusiast in my aerobics class.

A light goes off in my head … even if I were to miss some classes, I could hide in the back and still try to follow someone and have fun. The tuition: a whopping $5 for for eight sessions!

The Washington Post recently had a small article that said …

Who’s getting a better workout in a step class: the gym junkie who knows the moves and fluidly mirrors the instructor, or the klutz who’s frantically jumping all over the place in a desperate attempt to keep up? If you said the klutz, you are right.

Quite an apt description of me because I definitely feel like a klutz amongst the mostly experienced students, but who cares. It is so much fun and I know my brain is getting a workout as well! The enthusiasm and smiles you see in the group are contagious. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you check to see if it’s available in your community or recreation center.

The program I’m enrolled in is part of the Fairfax County Senior Center Without Walls. It is a public-private partnership amongst the residents, local businesses, places of worship, and the County Government. It is an innovative program initiated by determined volunteers and the classes are held mostly in churches in the community. In addition to line dancing, yoga, tai chi, running-walking club, and karate are also offered.

I will miss it very much in the fall when my yoga class resumes. So line dancing will be a wonderful summer activity I can look forward to.

My classmates

Check out this video from a former class and see if you agree that it looks like a lot of fun and excellent exercise as well. Enjoy!

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Bucket List — Yellowstone National Park

Last year I wrote a post called “What’s on your Bucket List?” Last week I went on a trip with my husband to check off an item on his bucket list — Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park. . Unfortunately, entry to Yellowstone required a four-wheel drive vehicle and our rental car did not fit the requirement. Hence, we put “Plan B” into action. Not being able to get into Yellowstone gave us a unique opportunity to see other parts of Wyoming and Colorado that we had not included on our itinerary.

One of the most interesting things about the trip was that while citizens of Wyoming and Colorado live in the same country as I do, the weather and terrain can dictate how they live. We drove about 500 miles from Denver to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and saw houses/farms that were miles apart from each other. I can’t imagine a life with my neighbors being miles away.

In our long drive we constantly saw signs that read, “Road Closed When Flashing” on major highways. Can you imagine trying to get to work and having to turn around because a major artery is closed? Or, you’re happily cruising along and you see a sign that says, “Turn off cruise control. Reduce speed. Strong wind gusts possible 45+ mph.” We even experienced a wind storm while driving in Wyoming and that night as the winds picked up, it felt as though the hotel roof could be ripped off at any time. Being in a corner room on the top floor was even more frightening. The next morning we heard on the news that a semi-trailer had over-turned on Interstate 25 due to the strong winds.

Then a couple of days later while in Denver, a strong spring storm came through causing extensive hail damage and canceled flights. We were at the Rocky Mountain National Park just north of Denver and saw dark skies, but no rain. We considered ourselves very fortunate. We know how hail can damage cars and we had no desire to return our rental car covered with hail damage.

So although we failed to get to Yellowstone National Park on our “Bucket List,” we had many memorable experiences (including temperatures that ranged from the 30’s to the 90’s) that more than made up for our disappointment. As a retired senior, I’m fortunate to be able to not only travel but to allow flexibility in my life as well.

New Year’s Resolutions

We’re now into the second quarter of the year. What sort of New Year’s resolutions did you have?  Here are some popular ones:

  1. Spend more time with family and friends
  2. Get fit / get rid of bulge
  3. Lose weight
  4. Quit smoking/quit drinking/break an unhealthy habit
  5. Get out of debt or save money
  6. Learn something new
  7. Develop a healthy habit
  8. Get organized
  9. Work less, play more
  10. Change employment

Were any of these your resolutions? If not, perhaps you tried to do too much at one time. Every day can be the start of a new life. Just start with baby steps and start with something you enjoy. We seniors need to enjoy every day of our lives!

Writers Read Revelations of the Heart

Guest blogger Joanne Lozar Glenn writes about sharing one’s life stories. She will be my guest for the next six Wednesdays. Enjoy!

Last Friday, about 80 people came to Borders Bookstore in Tysons Corner, Va., to hear nine local writers reveal how everyday events—a shopping trip, a bracelet, a failed crop—shaped how they later came to view love, loss, life itself.

Kathy Nutt

Kathy Nutt

Who are these writers? They are people—like you, perhaps?—who wanted to create a written record of their life in a way that is interesting for others to read. So they enrolled in writing classes—mine and those of my colleagues, Kathy Nutt (that’s Kathy in the photo) and Louise Gibney. The writers’ work earned them an invitation to participate in the “Writers Read” program, now in its second year.

Some of their stories, like Chuck Klee’s “The Busboy,” were funny. Some, like Susan Rich’s “Up the Hill,” were stunning. And some, like Mary Lucas’ “Legs,” and Maria-Mercedes Torres’ “Monologues with Julia,” had that perfect blend of humor and pathos. All of the stories were heartfelt in how they aspired to understanding, forgiveness, transformation—and in the process, inspired us, the audience, to see others, and ourselves, a little differently.

It’s not easy to do this kind of writing, to craft a story so well that it’s as compelling as a novel—and harder still to put that story into the world. But these writers did it, through lots of hard work and courage. I salute them for sharing their revelations of the heart.

If you’ve been thinking about writing your life stories, here are two resources for getting started in the Washington, DC, metro area:

  1. Classes at Fairfax County’s Adult and Community Education Program
  2. Frank Milligan’s Time to Write: Discovering the Writer within After 50

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Grandparents as Caregivers

Tiz with grandchildrenThe Washington Post ran an interesting article on June 23, 2009 about a great-grandmother caring for her 7-year old great-granddaughter who is autistic, virtually blind, and is “medically fragile.” Instead of enjoying her golden years, she’s busy changing diapers for this child as well as picking up toys and spilled cereal. When distressed, the child bites, furies, and flails. What a heart-breaking story. You can read the whole story at the Washington Post Web site.

Look at these statistics in the article:

  • Number of children in the care of their grandparents: 2.5 million

  • Number of grandparents raising children: 2.5 million
  • Married grandparents raising children: 70 percent
  • Percent of grandparent caregivers who are raising children 5 to 17 with disabilities: 11.8 percent
  • Grandparents who are caregivers and have their own disabilities: 30 percent
  • Grandparents who are caregivers over age 60 and have disabilities: 40 percent
Source: Census data analysis by National Center on Grandfamilies at the nonprofit Generations UnitedKen Klemm.
If you’re a grandparent like me and not in any of the above categories, how fortunate we are. (Enjoy pictures of my Facebook friends Tiz Wheeler Wemyss in England and Ken Klemm in Pennsylvania who are not “caregivers,” but wonderful, loving “care givers”).
Can you imagine being over 60 and not in the best of health being a primary caregiver? 40 percent fall in that category. How difficult it must be. My heart goes out to those brave individuals. Any of us could become a caregiver in an instant. Are you ready? Check out the post by Nancy Fiedelman here.
As difficult as it is, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to take care of your health. Experts tell us it’s important to exercise, eat healthfully, and take good nutritional supplements. If you’re under tremendous stress as a caregiver, check out this drink which has helped many people.

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