Tuesday, October 27, 2015

If You Think You’re Busy—Retire!

My writer friend Judy Stock used to tell me, “If you think you’re busy now, retire.”

I never suspected how true those words could be! I’m going on my second year of retirement and I’ve been working hard to “un-busy” myself. So far, I haven’t succeeded. 

Each season, month, week, day, or sometimes the hour brings its own challenges. In the middle of a day, I’ll be interrupted by an urgent email, conference call, a meeting for one of my volunteer positions, a phone reminder, a grandchild’s sporting event, or tussle with an undeniable urge to watch a particular TV show.

I do like to take photos, but when it comes to organizing... Ive been working on it in my spare time. Oh, wait, spare time doesn't seem to happen often enough. Since I take photos, I wind up posting on Websites and Facebook. That involves more time. You can't post a photo without an explanation or story to go with it, can you?

I thought I would have more time to write, but the truth is I have less time. Writing projects have gone by the wayside. The novel in progress came to a screeching halt.

The one thing I never find time to do is relax. Isn’t that supposed to be a perk of retirement?

All I can say is, Judy was right. I was busy before I retired, but I managed to get things done during the working day. Now, I don’t have a fixed schedule and the days just fly by with a lot of work and with little accomplished.

Still, I love retirement. Maybe I have too much to do, but I’m never, ever bored!

copyright (c) October 2015 by L.S. Fisher

Monday, May 19, 2014

There's an App for That

It seems that no matter what you want to do, someone will remind you, “There’s an app for that,” and sure enough there is. Often it is things you don’t even think about. “How did you tie that scarf?” There’s an app for that. Apple owns the trademark for the slogan, but it now pops up in everyday language.

It has become a running joke that apps can make the difficult easy. They provide quick, simple solutions. We now have an “app generation” that knows they can click on an icon and have the knowhow that used to be passed from generation to generation. They take for granted having the world at their fingertips, a world that we couldn’t even imagine when we were kids.

As personal electronic devices become easier and more user friendly, we boomers have come to embrace the wonderful world of technology. What we have learned is something that younger generations have always had. We went through years of schooling without spell check, grammar check, the ability to just back up to erase the typed word, no Google search for research papers, rotary telephones plugged into a wall that served one purpose—conversation, and no concept of what an “app” was, or that it would ever exist.

Even those of us boomers with wild imaginations didn’t foresee the day when school kids would be walking around with text books on a slim device. And the thought of being in constant communication with our parents would have probably seemed more like a nightmare than a desired condition. Our parents were parents—not our best friends.

Now that we boomers are reaching the age when we are most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, the brave new world has come up with a possible solution—maybe, just maybe, there is, or will be, an app for people with dementia.

I read an article this morning about Apple and Google technology helping fight Alzheimer’s disease. The article spoke of tests and treatments disguised as games. Wrist watches and eye glasses that could be used for GPS tracking, facial recognition, and help with daily living.

Maybe more research should go into developing smart phones, or other electric devices, specifically for people with dementia, especially those who are in early stages. Devices would need to be easy to keep track of, super easy to use with voice activated apps, and pictures.

Think about the problems that people in the early stages of dementia have—they forget appointments, forget to take medication, get lost, have trouble communicating, and trouble problem solving. Well, I know for a fact that I’ve used my smart phone to solve the first three problems on that list. I’m not too likely to forget appointments when my smart phone reminds me. I had trouble remembering to take my morning medication until I put a reminder on my phone. Getting lost is not an option with GPS on my phone. Wouldn’t it be easier for the memory impaired to communicate if they could see the person they were talking to instead of just hearing them? After all, words are only seven percent of our communication with each other. Facial expressions are included in body language and account for 55 percent. We’ve already discussed that there’s an app for solving a myriad of problems.

Why not have Medicare dollars pay for technology to enhance independent ability rather than drugs that cause side effects and often diminish alertness? Not only can technology help now, it will be even more beneficial for future generations who have technology entrenched in their long-term memories.

copyright© May 2014 by L.S. Fisher

Article: Sun, Leo. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/05/18/how-apple-and-google-are-helping-fight-alzheimers.aspx  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Retirement Advantage #1—Inclement Weather Strategy

I’ve only been officially retired for about a month, although I’ve been heading in that direction since July. That was when my job position was filled by someone else, and I focused on a special project. Although I didn’t go to the office every day, I still felt a sense of having a day job.
Now, I’m cut off from the payroll that has sustained my standard of living for more than three decades. That is something that warrants serious thought and well-thought out strategy. Retirement is not good without financial security, and now I’m glad that a large part of the equation was figuring out how I could afford to retire.

For thirty-three years, my life revolved around another day at the office. An office with a lot of responsibility and a darn good paycheck. I thrive on responsibility and appreciate a steady income, so why on earth did I retire?

Part of the reason is that I wanted to enjoy the things I’ve put on hold for the greater part of my life. Retirement is my reward to myself. I want to spend more time with family and have time for activities that bring me enjoyment. I’ve spent years running on adrenaline and stress. I want to stress less and relax more.

First, part of stress reduction is to not worry so much about the weather. We’ve had snow on the ground heading toward the second week. I did not have the anxious feeling that has been the norm during wintertime since December 1980.

Now, I can sit around drinking coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy the beauty of the snow. If I don’t want to go out, I just cancel everything and stay snug and warm. No scraping ice or slip sliding on the road.

Today, I trampled through the snow in exhilarating freezing weather to get my newspaper and mail at one o’clock in the afternoon. I couldn’t help but think about how different this is from past winters when I had to be out and about by 6:30 a.m.

So, for me, the first retirement advantage is not having to get up before daylight and making a death-defying drive into work. No more looking out the window at work wondering if I’ll be able to make it home before the roads drift.

Yes, grasshopper, age has its privileges.

Copyright © February 2014 by L. S. Fisher

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tommy Capps, Vietnam Veteran, American Hero

Tommy Capps, Finalist American Hero of the Year
Independence Day is a time for Americans to take stock of their freedom and think about the human sacrifice that has given it to us. As far as unpopular wars, the Vietnam War has to be at the top of the list. We were a country divided, and the very people who risked their lives to fight for our country were not given a heroes’ welcome when they returned home.

For the first time, war was brought into American homes on the news each day. Even the blood and gore we saw on TV didn’t do justice to the reality of being in a jungle with no way to tell friend from foe.

The Wall in Washington D.C. lists the names of 58,272 people who lost their lives in Vietnam. Others came home injured in body, and countless others came home with shattered spirit. Vietnam veterans became a stereotype, and Jim would often turn a TV show off in disgust saying, “Another crazed Vietnam veteran is the killer.” Hollywood’s idea of a Vietnam veteran was of a trained killer, not a young man who was drafted into jungle warfare against an invisible enemy.

When my eighteen-year-old brother Tommy was drafted and sent to Vietnam, we were all scared for what he would be facing, but my mother was terrified. Three months after his tour of duty began, I woke up one night to hear voices and my mother crying and I knew it had to be about Tommy. I kept thinking, he can’t be dead or I would feel it. I finally realized he had been wounded and was in the states.

Recently, my sister-in-law nominated Tommy for the American Hero of the Year award. This time, the phone call was good news when my brother found out he was a finalist for Hero of the Year when he didn’t even know he had been nominated.

Tommy has shown courage his entire life. After Vietnam he returned to high school and graduated the same year I did. He was a positive influence on the high school kids and I’m sure a lot of would-be dropouts continued their education. He worked in law enforcement as a deputy, chief of police, and detective. Eventually, he worked for the state of Missouri investigating child abuse cases. He was instrumental in sending 230 child abusers and pedophiles to prison. In a five-hundred word essay, Teresa only touched on a few of the highlights. Tommy’s family and friends could tell hundreds of stories about how he’s made his corner of the world better. How he’s been the one you could count on to always do the right thing—maybe not exactly what you asked for, but what you needed.

Tommy has been my hero for years, now America has a chance to make him their hero too. Go to the website http://militaryhero.com/vote and sign up for an account. Once you’ve signed up, sign in and vote once each day between now and August 6. Tommy is already a winner in the contest as well as life.

Copyright (c) July 2013 by L.S. Fisher

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Linda Fisher's Early Onset Alzheimer's Blog nominated for award

My Early Onset Alzheimer's blog has been nominated by Healthline for the best health blog of 2012 contest with a $1,000 prize. Currently, I'm in the top ten out of 300+ blogs. You can vote via Facebook or Twitter once daily between now and February 15. Every vote truly counts! I would appreciate your vote. It is easy to vote, you simply follow the link below and click on the "Vote Now" button next to Early Onset Alzheimer's. If I win, I will use the prize money to fund attendance of my 13th consecutive Alzheimer’s Association Public Policy Forum in Washington, DC.

Your votes are greatly appreciated! You can check out my blog at www.earlyonset.blogspot.com

Linda Fisher

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Older American’s Month: Never Too Old…

I just read an article about May being “Older American’s Month” and the theme is “Never too old to play.” I really like that theme and the message it sends. This makes me wonder—how did I get older without knowing May was MY month? After all, I’ve been hearing from AARP for a long time now and it seems like every funeral home within a hundred mile radius has me on their mailing list.

From the article, I made my way to the website. I had to make sure that this wasn’t just a joke or something. The site has many cool things on it, including “The Best Ways to Play.”

·         Get Physical—okay, I admit that I dropped my gym membership at just the time when I needed it most. That’s how it goes. Once you get caught up in the endless cycle of being involved with three or four organizations, you just flat don’t have time to go to the gym. My exercise consists of toting around several bags of papers, books, files, and reference materials. It just gets heavier and heavier.

·         Brain Activities—I pass this one with flying colors. My brain is so active that I can’t shut it off. I’m always thinking, planning, learning.

·         Bridge the Generation Gap—What gap? I’ve always loved people of all ages. I enjoy spending time with my grandkids, kids, aunts, uncles, and my mom. My friends are multi-generational.

·         Get creative—seriously? I write.

I have a pretty good handle on this older American thing. I have no shame when it comes to getting a senior discount.

 At our Friendship Lunch yesterday, we had quite a discussion on the advantages of joining AARP. “Don has a lifetime membership,” Cindy said. “I really like the magazine.”

“I’ve been getting offers and I’m thinking about joining,” said Brenda, who has just recently squeaked past the minimum age for AARP.

When we get older, we start to realize that we are not invincible and the obits are not our friends. We see former classmates, cousins, friends, and family fall to diseases that become more prevalent as we grow older. We cross our fingers and pray that cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s stay away from us and those we love. The knowledge that we are mortal and vulnerable makes each pain free, sunshiny day more precious.

It is as if I’m on a carousel going around in circles with each day pretty much like the one before and strikingly similar to the one ahead. There is comfort in knowing that life is whirling along on an even keel. Anytime that life glides along in a smooth circle is a time to relax, enjoy the ride, and play.

Getting older should be a time when we can be more of ourselves. As my mother recently said, “I don’t care what other people think of me anymore. It just isn’t important.” Yay, Mom! We are all better off when we reach that turning point in life when we can live life the way we want to live it and not the way others want us to live it.

When we get older, we should be able to play to our hearts content. We are never too old to play, or to be young. No matter how old the calendar says I am—or how old I may look—I’m still young on the inside. Have you noticed how the bar for what is considered older, just keeps getting higher? Is today’s 60 the new 40?

It’s time to catch up on all those things we never had time for when we were younger. It’s  time to finish that bucket list. Maybe it’s time to join AARP. After all, we older Americans are all about discounts and bargains.

All I have to do to feel younger is turn the XM radio to the 60’s channel. When I hear that music, I’m a teenager inside with a world of possibilities and experiences ahead of me. Age, after all, is only skin deep.

Copyright © L. S. Fisher May 2012

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Don't Call Me a Senior!

I can remember when I was young and thought nothing could be worse than being old. Honestly, I thought of old people as a different species.

Now that I'm older, not "old" at all, I look at the entire aging thing differently. I'm pretty much insulted when anyone calls me a "senior" and being a boomer, old is always at least ten years older, and more likely twenty years older than I am.

I have to admit that the only good expression using the word senior is when it is followed by the word discount. For the first time, I qualified for a $2 discount when I attended the Missouri State Fair this year. I had my drivers' license ready just in case I was carded--although, I can't imagine a woman lying about her age and saying she is older than she is.

Not only did I get a discount on my ticket, but I suppose they think anyone so old as to qualify for a senior discount needs a free tram ride too. Not that there's anything wrong with that and my knees have given me problems for nearly thirty years.

Okay, so how about I take the discount and skip being called a senior? Works for me.

copyright (c) Aug 2011 L. S. Fisher