Retirement Life

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You actually can teach an old dog new tricks, which is why many of us keep learning after retirement

<p><a href="https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=2019073014375151">Lorna Prendergast</a> was 90 years old when she graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2019. She said her message to others was, “You’re never too old to dream.”</p> <p>Nor, obviously, too old to learn.</p> <p>In the same year 94-year-old <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-06/david-and-anne-bottomley-1/10785150?nw=0">David Bottomley</a> became the oldest person in Australia to graduate with a PhD from Curtin University. The great-grandfather said he wasn’t yet finished. “I have a great deal yet to work out,” he said, perhaps making him the ultimate lifelong learner.</p> <p>Prendergast’s and Bottomley’s achievements are examples of the levels of learning some older adults are capable of. In 2019-20, around 73,000 Australian adults aged 60 or more were enrolled in <a href="https://www.ncver.edu.au/research-and-statistics/publications/all-publications/total-vet-students-and-courses-2020">vocational training, community education</a> and <a href="https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-statistics/resources/2019-section-2-all-students">university</a> courses. That’s enough to populate a mid-size Australian city.</p> <p>But the term “lifelong learning” has increasingly tended to focus on the period of compulsory education and training across working lives – that is, before retirement.</p> <p>Professor of adult education, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1556/2059.01.2017.3">Stephen Billett</a>, argues the concept of lifelong learning has come to be associated with lifelong education, which is more about the institutional provision of learning experiences.</p> <p>Instead, he says, it should go back to its roots. Lifelong learning is a personal process based on the sets of experiences people have had throughout their lives.</p> <h2>Learning after retirement</h2> <p>According to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12120">David Istance</a>, the nonresident senior fellow at the OECD’s Center for Universal Education, a result of this foreshortened view of lifelong learning is to downplay the considerable amount of formal learning taking place after retirement. This means learning like that done by Prendergast and Bottomley. Although much learning also happens in non-institutional settings.</p> <p>For example, a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2016.1224037">Scottish study</a> tracked the learning activities of almost 400 Glaswegians aged 60 or over. Using a broad definition of “learning”, researchers discovered an “active ageing” subset in the sample.</p> <p>This active ageing group was:</p> <blockquote> <p>socially and technologically engaged … “learner-citizens”, participating in educational, physical, cultural, civic and online activities.</p> </blockquote> <p>Such findings are particularly significant for a country like Australia where the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/twenty-years-population-change">population is ageing</a>, due to sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy. The result is proportionally fewer children and a larger proportion of people aged 65 and over.</p> <p>Over the past two decades, the population aged 85 and over has also increased, by <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/twenty-years-population-change">110%</a> (more than doubled) compared with total population growth of 35%. In mid-2020 there were more than half a million of these “older olds” in Australia.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434908/original/file-20211201-21-1r60yz1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434908/original/file-20211201-21-1r60yz1.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Older woman painting at home." /></a> <br /><span class="caption">Learning doesn’t have to be in an institutionalised setting.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/image-senior-female-artist-painting-picture-247408171" class="source">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p>The nation could have <a href="https://cheba.unsw.edu.au/research-projects/sydney-centenarian-study">50,000 centenarians</a> by 2050.</p> <h2>A lifetime of complex cognitive activity</h2> <p>Brain researcher <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-25/longevity-ageing-centenarian-lifespan-life-expectency/100123434">Perminder Sachdev</a> says surviving into older age relies partly on “a lifetime of good effort”. Some of that effort is a solid education in our formative years and then ongoing purposeful learning.</p> <p>Sachdev believes this builds better cognitive reserves and sets us up for a lifetime of more complex cognitive activity.</p> <p>But what is “purposeful learning”? A <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2020.1819905">Swedish review</a> found older adults do formal learning to maintain or increase quality of life, including through learning new things and sharing knowledge, and to connect through social networks. They also see classes and courses as a means of developing coping skills that enhance individual autonomy, and as a way of stimulating their cognitive abilities to help stave off mental decline.</p> <p>But <a href="https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED054428;%5Blink%20text%5D(https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED084368.pdf);%5Blink%20text%5D(https://www.wiley.com/en-au/Learning+in+Adulthood%3A+A+Comprehensive+Guide%2C+4th+Edition-p-9781119490494)">numerous studies</a> in recent decades have shown formal education is just the tip of the adult learning iceberg.</p> <p>As the Glasgow study reveals, many older adults are continuing their learning in guises other than through formal courses. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0741713613513633">Communal examples</a> include sewing groups, men’s sheds, bird-watching clubs, travel groups, and musical jam sessions.</p> <p>Few of the participants are likely to perceive their activities in explicit learning terms, yet all four reasons for learning the Swedish study identified can be discerned within such groups.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434912/original/file-20211201-19-peszg7.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434912/original/file-20211201-19-peszg7.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Sewing groups, bird watching clubs and musical jam sessions are ways seniors can continue their learning.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/seniors-trekking-forest-1095221123" class="source">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p>As in the Glasgow research, the proportion of older people engaged in purposeful learning is likely to be a subset of the larger population. Nevertheless there needs to be official and community acknowledgement that a segment of older people has both the motivation and capacity to continue to learn, including into their 90s. These people are “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0741713613513633">active agers</a>”.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-25/longevity-ageing-centenarian-lifespan-life-expectency/100123434">Sachdev</a>, the key to maximising healthy ageing is improving the quality of initial and ongoing education because this impacts positively on our brains.</p> <p>This is not to say older adults should feel obliged to engage in “purposeful learning”. After all, they’re not a homogeneous group, and some may decide it’s not something they want to do.</p> <p>David <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12120">Istance</a> intimates some may also subscribe to the outmoded mindset that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.</p> <p>For older people who do want to continue to engage with the wider world and have the capacity to do so, however, we need to ensure “active ageing” is part of any “lifelong learning” agenda.</p> <p>Let’s continue to promote older learning champions like Prendergast and Bottomley, not as outliers but as shining lights in a broader expanse of long-twinkling stars.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170379/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/darryl-dymock-573463">Darryl Dymock</a>, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in Education, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/you-actually-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks-which-is-why-many-of-us-keep-learning-after-retirement-170379">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shuttershock</em></p>

Retirement Life

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5 tips to make transitioning into retirement easier

<p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p>Retirement marks the end of a chapter in your career and the start of a new lifestyle. This unique transition can bring a myriad of emotions, most commonly ones of excitement and apprehension.</p> <p>If you’re pondering retiring in the next year or so, here are five tips to help you transition smoothly:</p> <p><strong>Know the transition could take weeks — or months</strong></p> <p>You likely spent decades forming a routine around your work schedule. Establishing your new normal of volunteer work, an encore career or helping family will take time. If you are married, remember that your retired status may affect your spouse’s routine, too. Talk openly about how you’re feeling during the transition to keep your spouse in the loop.</p> <p><strong>Communicate your retirement plans with family members</strong></p> <p>Your parents, kids or other family members will likely be interested in how you intend to spend your retirement days. Will you be visiting the grandkids more often? Continuing to host family get-togethers? Planning to move or purchase a retirement home? As you share your plans, don’t forget to discuss your financial picture. The benefits of open communication are three-fold: it reassures your kids that you’re financially prepared, allows you to introduce or remind your family of your estate and legacy plans, and it establishes a safe space for both sides to discuss potentially challenging financial topics.</p> <p><strong>Maintain healthy habits</strong></p> <p>Staying diligent with the activities that help you feel your best is important as you shift into retirement. Prioritize eating healthy, sleeping well, staying fit and maintaining friendships in your new routine.</p> <p><strong>Evaluate your finances</strong></p> <p>Prior to retirement, you likely outlined how you will manage your cash flow. (If not, today is the day to put a plan in place.) As you enter retirement, review your expenses to ensure they’re aligned with your plan. It’s common to revise your spending and activities after experiencing the first few weeks away from your primary job, so it’s OK if you need to adjust how much you withdraw from your accounts each month. If you want to increase your spending, calculate what that means for your later retirement years, as you don’t want your savings to come up short.</p> <p><strong>Reset your attitude</strong></p> <p>Retirement is not the ultimate finish line. Experiencing a lot of emotions is common, but try to focus on what you’re excited about in this next chapter. And, remember you’re not alone. Talk to friends, family and professionals in your life for support along the way.</p>

Retirement Life

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Uniting at our villages

<p>A home is a house in a community where you feel like you can be yourself around respectful, social and like-minded individuals.</p> <p>As we enter the later stages of our life our ability to socialise and connect with the community in our free time expands. At the same time, our friendships have changed. People move away, there is more familial importance and sometimes close friends pass.</p> <p>The community we once flourished in and engaged with is no longer the same. We no longer have direct access to that same community of respectful, social and like-minded individuals.</p> <p>That’s why community and caring are built in at every Uniting NSW/ACT retirement and independent living villages. For over 50 years, Uniting has considered the wants and desires of people entering our retirement villages and what community they want to belong in.</p> <p>Moving into the next phase of your life should be an exciting occasion. Uniting believes that everyone should enjoy the confidence of belonging in the forefront of retirement and independent living community design.</p> <p>Lucette from Mosman was someone who intimately knew this. For over 40 years she was a real estate agent in the Mosman area and whenever someone asked where they should retire, she always said the same thing,</p> <p>“The Garrison by Uniting.”</p> <p>After years of advising others, Lucette was finally looking to downsize and retire from her profession.</p> <p>“I knew I wanted to upsize my lifestyle whilst downsizing at the same time. From the moment I moved into my own apartment at Uniting, I have fallen in love with the lifestyle.”</p> <p><img class="wp-image-52870 size-full" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Nancys-farewell_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /> <em>Uniting villages let you be yourself around respectful, social and like-minded individuals.</em></p> <p>Lucette found the purpose-built apartments to be practical and stylish whilst having plenty of natural light and ventilation, and walls that will allow for the installation of grab rails in the future, if needed. The apartments also include spacious layouts to allow people to entertain guests and to move around easily.</p> <p>Having room for guests was important for Lucette. One of her first projects when joining the village was to ensure that others could enjoy the area as much as she had.</p> <p>It all started one day when the village manager asked her if she could help form and activate a social committee. Could she ever! Lucette has been on a social whirl ever since.</p> <p>“I never realised how many friends I would make!” she says. “As the head of the social committee, I’ve met so many wonderful people doing the most extraordinary things. We’ve taken harbour cruises, had meals, trivia nights, movie afternoons and even chair yoga.”</p> <p>The social committee is now a big staple of the village. Even during the COVID lockdowns they made sure that they stayed connected and checked in with each other.</p> <p>One of the first things they did when restrictions eased was hold a party to farewell the village manager. Nancy has been the village manager at The Garrison for many years and felt like family to the residents. Her presence and sunny disposition brought a spirit of caring throughout the village. The residents wanted to have one last party with Nancy and give her the send-off she deserved before she commences with another wonderful Uniting village in Leichhardt.</p> <p><img class="size-full wp-image-52869" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Nancy-and-Lucette_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /> <em>Nancy, village manager at The Garrison, with Lucette.</em></p> <p>This is just one of the many ways that Lucette has seen her social network expand and cared for. She now says that it is her true home.</p> <p>Lucette also enjoys the freedom that retirement living has given her. She came for the ideal home but now believes she has the ideal lifestyle in her retirement.</p> <p>No longer does she have to worry about mowing the lawns or the letterbox filling up whilst she is away. Uniting’s specialist staff take away the hassle of maintenance for her property and allow her to focus on what truly matters.</p> <p>Like Lucette, residents have the convenience of choosing their comfort zone in the many leisure spaces of a Uniting retirement and independent living village.</p> <p>There are spaces to entertain yourself and to entertain your loved ones, whether that be a communal vegetable garden for the green thumbs, the villages’ dedicated clubroom for trivia and crafts, or the outdoor courtyard perfect for BBQs. The village and its staff want to facilitate your interests and keep you enjoying retirement in style.</p> <p>Our villages are uniquely placed to offer additional opportunities to enhance community life. Our goal is spontaneous opportunities for connection. We always aim to support the creation of as many new friendships and memories as possible.</p> <p>Everyone deserves to discover new passions in the comfort of their home with a community full of respectful, social and like-minded individuals. We want you to retire happily with easy access to a social network, new friends and other supports whenever you want it. Most Uniting villages even have room for any pets you want to bring along.</p> <p>Studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments are available across NSW and the ACT to accommodate and compliment a thriving retirement lifestyle, wherever you live.</p> <p>Our dream is for our broader communities to grow stronger and build on their solid foundations. To realise this, we want to encourage people from all walks of life to come together and contribute to a diverse and vibrant place for connecting.</p> <p>A Uniting village is the perfect place to find your new home and your new forever friends.</p> <p>Uniting doesn’t just put a roof over your head, it creates a community.</p> <p>In that community, we are Uniting People.</p> <p>Book a tour by calling 1800 864 846 or going to <a rel="noopener" href="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackclk/N1080016.1907402OVERSIXTY.COM.AU/B26377396.320569577;dc_trk_aid=505626589;dc_trk_cid=156967874;dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;ltd=" target="_blank">uniting.org/villages</a>.</p> <p><strong><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a rel="noopener" href="https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackclk/N1080016.1907402OVERSIXTY.COM.AU/B26377396.320569577;dc_trk_aid=505626589;dc_trk_cid=156967874;dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;ltd=" target="_blank">Uniting</a>.</em></strong></p>

Retirement Life

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The “loneliest woman in America” who brewed root beer for thousands of visitors

<p dir="ltr">From 1934 to 1986, Dorothy Molter lived alone on the Isle of Pines in Minnesota’s million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Her home was 25km by canoe from the nearest road and 50km from the nearest town, and the waters and wilderness surrounding it played home to bald eagles, swans, deer, bear, and the occasional moose.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the summer, she operated a fishing camp, but lived in almost permanent solitude during the winter. Her interesting choice of residence wasn’t what cemented her<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/dorothy-molter-root-beer-lady" target="_blank">legacy</a>, however: it was the root beer she brewed with lake water and served to visitors. Thanks to this hobby, she became known as “the root beer lady”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Molter fell in love with the woods in 1930 during a family fishing trip, and after struggling to find work as a nurse during the Depression in her home city of Chicago, she returned. A man named Bill Berglund promised her that if she stayed to help him run his fishing camp, he would leave her the four-cabin resort in his will. True to his word, when he died in 1948, Molter took over.</p> <p dir="ltr">She gained a reputation as a wilderness “first responder”, using her nursing training to help injured canoers and animals alike. Her tendency to help those who were injured earned her another nickname, “Nightingale of the Northwoods”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jess Edberg, executive director of the Dorothy Molter Museum, said that despite all of this, it was her decision to live in solitude that most intrigued people. “An unmarried woman living alone in the wilderness was a curiosity,” she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">Molter herself once swore that she wouldn’t marry unless she found a man who could “portage heavier loads, chop more wood, or catch more fish” than her. It’s a good thing Molter was so self-sufficient, because living in such isolation is not for the faint of heart. Without electricity, a telephone, or running water, she chopped her own wood, hauled lake water, and harvested ice in winter to preserve food in warmer months. Communication, whether by mail, telegraph, or word-of-mouth, often took days.</p> <p dir="ltr">Her isolation was only exacerbated by the US government’s attempts to preserve the wilderness surrounding her home. After float plane flights to the island ended in 1952, Molter was dubbed the “loneliest woman in America” in the press.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Wilderness Act of 1964 mandated that residences and buildings had to be removed from the area. Molter ignored repeated orders from the US Forest Service to vacate, and eventually, following a groundswell of public support, she was allowed to stay on her island as a “volunteer-in-service”, although she was forced to close her camp. This made her the last resident of the Boundary Waters.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the cessation of flights to the area, it became impossible to transport drinks, so naturally, Molter began making her own root beer. She bought flavoured syrup from the nearby town or local Boy Scout base, and blended it with sugar, yeast for carbonation, and lake water in a 30-litre crock. She bottled the resulting beverage in hundreds of empty glass bottles she had collected over the years, with nowhere to dispose of them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the quality of the drink not always being consistent, as many as 7000 visitors managed to consume around 12,000 bottles of the homemade soda, with the local Boy Scouts being particular fans.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Molter passed away at her cabin in 1986, a group that dubbed itself “Dorothy’s Angels” managed to move her buildings to the nearby town of Ely and create a museum in her honour. The Dorothy Molter Museum sits in a woodsy area at the edge of the town, offering visitors a sample of root beer and a taste of Molter’s quiet life.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Buddy Mays/Corbis via Getty Images</em></p>

Retirement Life

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A simple way to work out if you will have enough money come retirement

<p>Here's the quick answer to the age old question, how will I know if I have enough money to retire comfortably?</p> <div class="_1665V _2q-Vk"> <p>A good calculator called<span> </span><a href="https://www.superguru.com.au/calculators/super-detective">Super Balance Detective,</a> at the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA)<span> </span><a href="https://www.superguru.com.au/">superguru.com.au,</a> will show you fast.</p> </div> <div class="_1665V _2q-Vk"> <p>You simply put in your year of birth and the calculator throws up how much super you should have today. Of course, there are many underlying assumptions behind that calculation, but essentially, it is based on average investment returns (6.7 per cent before fees and taxes) and average fees (0.7 per cent of assets).</p> <p>It is also based on how much the ASFA Retirement Standard calculates you need to live on at retirement age 67, but I’ll get into that shortly.</p> <p>Just what on-track super balances are we talking? Here’s a snapshot:</p> <ul> <li>If you were born in 1985, your balance should be about $112,000.</li> <li>If you were born in 1980, it should be $164,000.</li> <li>For 1975-ers, the number today is $219,000.</li> <li>At 1970, it’s $285,000 and 1965, $360,000.</li> <li>And it’s coming down to the wire for these people… if you’re born in 1960, the figure is $449,000.</li> </ul> <p>Those numbers may or may not be a lot less scary than you had anticipated. Enjoy your comfortable retirement!</p> </div>

Retirement Life

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An expert reveals why more Australians are choosing retirement living

<p>“People want that lifestyle for a bunch of reasons,” shares the expert. “They might like the security ... there’s the low-maintenance side of it ... and there’s the social connection.”</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">While the process of selling the family home and moving into one of these communities can be daunting, it’s a challenge that’s well worth taking on, says Lane, the principal of Aged Care Gurus, and co-author of <em style="font-weight: inherit;">Downsizing Made Simple</em>.</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">“Most people procrastinate, and years go by, and then something big happens, like they lose their spouse, or have a big health scare. And they go, well, that’s it. Now I’m going to make the move. And as soon as they do, I can tell you the first words that come out of their mouth: ‘My only regret is I didn’t do this five years ago.’”</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">Here are five things people love about their retirement villages.</p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;"><strong style="font-style: inherit;">Connected communities</strong></p> <p style="font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit;">Retirement villages are communities, in which, in all likelihood, you’ll know all your neighbours, have lots of friends, and never run out of things to do with them, thanks to an activity schedule that will make you wonder how you’re going to fit everything in.</p> <p>Finding a community that’s the right fit for you – finding your people – is essential, Lane says. “It’s the number one thing ... it’s all about the vibe.”</p> <p>Aveo operates more than 90 retirement villages around Australia, all with social programs, from wellness classes to happy hours, says Aveo national sales innovation manager Marilyn Graham.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">The option to slow down</strong></p> <p>Let’s face it: at some point in life, the idea of not having to climb a ladder starts to look very appealing.</p> <p>There’s little to no maintenance in a retirement village, Lane says. “You’ve got all these, in some cases, amazing facilities – swimming pools, gyms, yoga decks – but you don’t have to maintain it,” she says. “Someone else does.”</p> <p>Aveo’s maintenance teams deal with everything from cleaning your gutters to keeping the community gardens in perfect shape.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">Helpful staff</strong></p> <p>Having supportive staff in the retirement village can help in different ways in different times, Lane says.</p> <p>“When you first move in, you might not have friends,” she says. “So having staff there that can make introductions to people that they think might be your kind of people is really important.</p> <p>“Later, if the need for care arises, having the right staff can really come into its own.”</p> <p>If you need more care as you age, most Aveo communities also offer tailored home care services, so you can stay in your home.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">Neighbours who look out for each other</strong></p> <p>Security is a big part of the appeal for retirement village residents, Lane says.</p> <p>“People like the security of knowing that their neighbours are looking out for them” she says. “They like the fact that if they want to, they can leave their home and go travelling for six months, and when they come back, it’s going be exactly as they left it.”</p> <p>Aveo villages are gated, tight-knit communities, where neighbours look out for each other.</p> <p><strong style="font-style: inherit;">A promise of peace of mind</strong><strong><br /></strong><br />Retirement village contracts are famously complex. And payment options have traditionally been limited, Lane says.</p> <p>“In many cases, it’s been a take-it-or-leave-it kind of offer ... But people have different goals ... I’m a big champion of having different payment options.”</p> <p>Lane has worked with Aveo to develop three new types of payment option: you can defer your management fee until when you leave the village (the traditional model), you can choose a discounted management fee option (by paying up front), or a no-management fee option (by paying a refundable premium entry payment and a non-refundable establishment fee on entry).</p> <p>Aveo contracts include a money-back guarantee if you change your mind in the first six months, and a guaranteed repayment time frame when you leave the village.</p> <p>And Aveo is working to make contracts more straightforward. Graham says: “We have done a lot of work to simplify our contracts so that they’re easier to understand.”</p>

Retirement Life

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Retirees, don’t worry about your health deteriorating – leaving work can be good for you

<p>A few years ago, my mother had a bit of a crisis in the lead-up to her retirement. She struggled with her self-worth, perceived value to society and fears of boredom.</p> <p>She’s not alone in her worry. The literature suggests retirees may experience the loss of <a href="http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/5/802.long#ref-38">identity</a>, usefulness, sense of purpose and <a href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100816130">social relationships around work</a>. For some people, retirement is also associated with reduced income, <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00391-016-1036-y">social exclusion</a> and <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w12123">physical and mental deterioration</a>.</p> <p>Retirement wasn’t all doom and gloom for Mum. Within months of retirement, she was busy with piano practice, dance classes, choir rehearsals, painting and reading. Today she wonders how she survived decades of working. She is one of many who reap benefits from retirement.</p> <p>Our recent study, published in the <a href="http://www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797%2816%2900045-3/abstract">American Journal of Preventive Medicine</a>, followed 27,257 working Australian adults for more than three years. During this time, more than 3,000 retired.</p> <p>After controlling for various confounding factors, we found those who retired were more likely to enjoy a healthier lifestyle than their counterparts who remained in the workforce.</p> <h2>What else did we find?</h2> <p>During the study period, retirees increased their physical activity by 94 minutes per week, compared with 32 minutes among non-retirees. Retirees also became less sedentary, with a reduction of 67 minutes of sitting per day, compared with 27 minutes among non-retirees.</p> <p>Retirees were also more likely to get a healthy amount of sleep. They gained 11 minutes of sleep per night while the non-retirees lost four minutes.</p> <p>Finally, half of the female smokers quit smoking after retirement, a cessation rate twice as high as working female smokers.</p> <p>Overall, our findings weren’t a surprise. Several prior studies from North America and Europe found retirement was associated with more physical activity in leisure time. This is likely because retirement <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186%2Fs12966-015-0186-4#page-1">reduces common barriers to physical activity</a>, such as lack of time, low energy and competing priorities.</p> <p>The reduction in sedentary time following retirement that we noted could be explained by a reduction in occupational sitting and commuting. Most office jobs involve prolonged sitting. A <a href="https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-9-128">previous study among office, call centre and customer service employees</a>, for instance, found an average of 77% of their work time was spent in uninterrupted sitting.</p> <p>There is evidence that certain types of employees, such as those in skilled occupations, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22368226">sit even more than others</a>. This may explain why, in our study, those with higher educational attainment, people who lived in urban areas and those who worked full-time experienced the most reduction in total sitting time.</p> <p>Our finding about sleep duration is in line with a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2768952/">previous French study</a>, which found people had less sleep disturbances after they retired. The mechanisms for the change are unknown, but we hypothesise that it might be due to the removal of work demands and stress, and having more time.</p> <p>Our study is the first to find that female retirees are more likely to quit smoking. Explanations may include reduced occupational stress and disposable income after retirement. Perhaps retirement also prompted smokers to rethink their lifestyles.</p> <p>The behavioural changes we observed among retirees are not trivial; they have <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001917">profound effects on health and longevity</a>. Positive lifestyle changes following retirement <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934306011855">may therefore lead to better health</a> down the track.</p> <h2>But not everyone benefits equally</h2> <p>Retirement doesn’t benefit everyone equally. Our study showed those who retired before 65, those who worked full-time prior to retirement and those who retired voluntarily benefited more from retirement in terms of lifestyle improvement.</p> <p>This is consistent with <a href="http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/3/433.short">previous research</a>, which suggests the lifestyle changes associated with retirement transition differed by various factors, such as reasons for retirement, and pre-retirement lifestyles and circumstances.</p> <p>So retirement may not automatically lead to better health, but it presents an opportunity to engineer a healthier lifestyle.</p> <h2>Window of opportunity for lifestyle changes</h2> <p>We live in a rapidly ageing society. Globally, the number of people aged 60 years and above is <a href="http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/ageing/ageing_facts/en/">expected to increase</a> from 900 million in 2015 to 2 billion in 2050. In Australia, <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/1CD2B1952AFC5E7ACA257298000F2E76?OpenDocument">15% of the population</a> is aged above 65 years and <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6238.0Main%20Features3July%202014%20to%20June%202015?opendocument&amp;tabname=Summary&amp;prodno=6238.0&amp;issue=July%202014%20to%20June%202015&amp;num=&amp;view=">40% of people aged 45 years</a> and over are retired. The health and well-being of retirees therefore plays a critical role in the health of our society.</p> <p>Retirement is a unique opportunity to interrupt previous routines and establish new habits. A number of <a href="http://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-016-0336-3">intervention programs</a> have been found to promote healthy lifestyles among adults around retirement age. These use various strategies from professional counselling to in-home and computer-based programs.</p> <p><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23758511">Other interventions</a> have offered an explicit social role, such as foster grandparents, mentors and volunteer works. These are promising options for health promotion among retirees, though the evidence is not yet robust.</p> <h2>What can you do?</h2> <p>Here are a few suggestions for those who are retiring soon.</p> <p>1) Embrace retirement. Rather than thinking about retirement as the end of a working life, consider it as the start of life after work with new freedom, opportunities and <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23199311">identities</a>.</p> <p>2) Prepare for retirement ahead of time. Plan with key concepts such as health, leisure and enjoyment in mind. Pick up new hobbies, discover new passions, or reconnect with your old interests.</p> <p>3) Find a new role that makes your life meaningful, whether it is a grandparent, teacher, volunteer or community organiser. Discover new identities within society, make new friends and stay connected.</p> <p>If you’re not retiring in the near future, don’t wait until retirement to live a healthy, enjoyable and fulfilling life. Eat well, be active, get healthy amounts of sleep and find time in your busy life to savour the moment – even just for a few minutes a day.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/54179/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melody-ding-127248">Melody Ding</a>, Senior Research Fellow of Public Health, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. </p> <p><em>Image: Daniel Lee/Flickr</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Older people slower but smarter than young’uns

<div> <div class="copy"> <p>Human intelligence is wired to peak at different stages of life – and it turns out the brain saves some goodies for the golden years, American scientists found. </p> <p>The ability to think quickly and recall information, known as “fluid intelligence”, was long thought to reach its pinnacle at around 20 years old, followed by a slow, unrelenting decline.</p> <p>But the picture’s more complicated than that.</p> <p>A pair of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital collected online IQ and memory tests from more than 48,000 participants, which measured around 30 aspects of intelligence, including digit memorisation, visual search and assembling puzzles.</p> <p>“We were mapping when these cognitive abilities were peaking, and we saw there was no single peak for all abilities. The peaks were all over the place,” study co-author Joshua Hartshorne described.</p> <p>Where raw speed in processing information peaked around the age of graduating high school, short-term memory improved until age 25 and didn’t decline until age 35.</p> <p>But the ability to evaluate other people’s emotional states didn’t peak until the 40s and 50s, the data showed. And the most stellar performers in vocabulary intelligence were participants in their late 60s or early 70s.</p> <p>“At any given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things, and you’re at a plateau at some other things,” Hartshorne explained.</p> <p>“There’s probably not one age at which you’re peak on most things, much less all of them.”</p> <p>The authors attribute these late intelligent blooms to today’s better education, more jobs that require reading and better intellectual stimulation for older people.</p> <p>How the brain rewires intelligence at a molecular level remains unclear, but previous studies indicated changes in gene expression and brain structure could play a role, the authors point out.</p> <p>“You see these lifespan patterns that we don’t know what to make of,” said study co-author Laura Germine.</p> <p>“The brain seems to continue to change in dynamic ways through early adulthood and middle age.”</p> <p>The researchers are continuing their studies using the online quizzes, now with added brain-probing tasks designed to test social and emotional intelligence, language skills and executive function.</p> <p>“We took the existing theories that were out there and showed that they’re all wrong. The question now is: What is the right one? To get to that answer, we’re going to need to run a lot more studies and collect a lot more data,” Hartshorne said.</p> <p>Want to see how your own brain stacks up? Take the team’s tests at <a rel="noopener" href="http://gameswithwords.org/" target="_blank">gameswithwords.org</a> and <a rel="noopener" href="http://testmybrain.org/" target="_blank">testmybrain.org</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/people/social-sciences/older-people-slower-but-smarter-than-younguns/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and written by Viviane Richter. </em></p> </div> </div>

Retirement Life

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Chilling reincarnation stories: meet 6 people who’ve lived before

<p>“When I was your age, I changed your diaper,” said the dark-haired boy to his father.</p> <p>Ron* (* names of boys and their family members were changed to protect privacy) looked down at his smiling son, who had not yet turned two.</p> <p>He thought it was a very strange thing to say, but he figured he had misheard him.</p> <p>But as baby Sam made similar remarks over the next few months, Ron and his wife Cathy gradually pieced together an odd story: Sam believed that he was his deceased grandfather, Ron’s late father, who had returned to his family.</p> <p>More intrigued than alarmed, Ron and Cathy asked Sam, “How did you come back?”</p> <p>“I just went whoosh and came out the portal,” he responded.</p> <p>Although Sam was a precocious child – he’d been speaking in full sentences from the age of 18 months – his parents were stunned to hear him use a word like portal, and they encouraged him to say more.</p> <p>They asked Sam if he’d had any siblings, and he replied that he’d had a sister who “turned into a fish”.</p> <p>“Who turned her into a fish?”</p> <p>“Some bad guys. She died.”</p> <p>Eerily enough, Sam’s grandfather had a sister who had been murdered 60 years earlier; her body was found floating in San Francisco Bay.</p> <p>Ron and Cathy then gently asked Sam, “Do you know how you died?”</p> <p>Sam jerked back and slapped the top of his head as if in pain.</p> <p>One year before Sam was born, his grandfather had died of a cerebral haemorrhage.</p> <h4>Is reincarnation real?</h4> <p>Today more than 75 million people in America – across all religions – believe in reincarnation, according to a Pew Forum on Religion &amp; Public Life poll; a separate survey reports that roughly one in ten people can recall his or her own past life.</p> <p>There have been many reality-TV series and documentaries on the topic such as Ghost Inside My Child, about children with past-life memories, and Reincarnated: Past Lives, in which people go under hypnosis to discover their earlier existences.</p> <p>Why this fascination? Part of reincarnation’s appeal has to do with its hopeful underlying promise: that we can do better in our next lives.</p> <p>“With reincarnation, there is always another opportunity,” explains Stafford Betty, a professor of religious studies at California State University, Bakersfield, and the author of The Afterlife Unveiled.</p> <p>“The universe takes on a merciful hue. It’s a great improvement over the doctrine of eternal hell.”</p> <p>Yet despite the popular interest, few scientists give reincarnation much credence.</p> <p>They regard it as a field filled with charlatans, scams and tall tales of having once been royalty.</p> <p>Reincarnation is “an intriguing psychological phenomenon,” says Christopher C. French, a professor of psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, who heads a unit that studies claims of paranormal experiences.</p> <p>“But I think it is far more likely that such apparent memories are, in fact, false memories rather than accurate memories of events that were experienced in a past life.”</p> <p>For more than 45 years, a team at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia (UVA) has been collecting stories of people who can recall their past lives.</p> <p>And if the professors determine that there is some merit to these memories, their findings will call into question the idea that our humanity ends with our death.</p> <h4>“Mummy, I’m so homesick”</h4> <p>Among the UVA case studies is the story of a boy named Ryan from Oklahoma, USA.</p> <p>A few years ago, the four-year-old woke up screaming at two in the morning.</p> <p>Over the preceding months, he’d been pleading with his bewildered mother, Cyndi, to take him to the house where he’d “lived before.”</p> <p>In tears, he’d beg her to return him to his glittering life in Hollywood – complete with a big house, a pool, and fast cars – that was so fabulous, he once said, “I can’t live in these conditions. My last home was much better.”</p> <p>When Cyndi went into her son’s room that night, Ryan kept repeating the same words – “Mommy, I’m so homesick” – as she tried to comfort him and rock him to sleep.</p> <p>“He was like a little old man who couldn’t remember all the details of his life. He was so frustrated and sad,” Cyndi says.</p> <p>The next morning, she went to the library, borrowed a pile of books about old Hollywood, and brought them home.</p> <p>With Ryan in her lap, Cyndi went through the volumes; she was hoping the pictures might soothe him.</p> <p>Instead, he became more and more excited as they looked at one particular book.</p> <p>When they came to a still of a scene from a 1932 movie called Night After Night, he stopped her.</p> <p>“Mama,” he shouted, pointing to one of the actors, who wasn’t identified. “That guy’s me! The old me!”</p> <p>“I was shocked,” Cyndi admits. “I never thought that we’d find the person he thought he was.”</p> <p>But she was equally relieved. “Ryan had talked about his other life and been so unhappy, and now we had something to go on.”</p> <p>Although neither Cyndi nor her husband believed in reincarnation, she went back to the library the next day and checked out a book about children who possessed memories of their past lives.</p> <p>At the end of it was a note from the author, Professor Jim Tucker, saying that he wanted to hear from the parents of kids with similar stories.</p> <p>Cyndi sat down to write him a letter.</p> <h4>The ghost hunters</h4> <p><span>Tucker was a child psychiatrist in private practice when he heard about the reincarnation research being conducted by Dr Ian Stevenson, founder and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at UVA. </span></p> <p><span>He was intrigued and began working with the division in 1996; six years later, when Stevenson retired, Tucker took over as the leader of the division’s past-life research. </span></p> <p><span>T</span><span>he UVA team has gathered more than 2500 documented cases of children from all over the world who have detailed memories of former lives, including that of a California toddler with a surprisingly good golf swing who said he had once been legendary athlete Bobby Jones; a Midwestern five-year-old who shared some of the same memories and physical traits – blindness in his left eye, a mark on his neck, a limp – as a long-deceased brother; and a girl in India who woke up one day and began speaking fluently in a dialect she’d never heard before. </span></p> <p><span>(Tucker describes these cases in his book </span><em>Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Their Past Lives</em><span><em>.</em>)</span></p> <p>The children in the UVA collection typically began talking about their previous lives when they were two or three years old and stopped by the age of six or seven.</p> <p>“That is around the same time that we all lose our memories of early childhood,” Tucker says.</p> <p>When he first learns about a subject, he checks for fraud, deliberate or unconscious, by asking two questions: “Do the parents seem credible?” and “Could the child have picked up the memories through TV, overheard conversations, or other ordinary means?”</p> <p>If he can rule out fraud, he and his team interview the child and his or her family to get a detailed account about the previous life.</p> <p>Then the researchers try to find a deceased person whose life matches the memories.</p> <p>This last part is essential because otherwise the child’s story would be just a fantasy.</p> <p>Close to three-quarters of the cases investigated by the team are “solved”, meaning that a person from the past matching the child’s memories is identified.</p> <p>In addition, nearly 20% of the kids in the UVA cases have naturally occurring marks or impairments that match scars and injuries on the past person.</p> <p>One boy who recalled being shot possessed two birthmarks – a large, ragged one over his left eye and a small, round one on the back of his head – which lined up like a bullet’s entrance and exit wounds.</p> <p>In the case of Ryan, the boy longing for a Hollywood past, an archivist pored over books in a film library until she found a person who appeared to be the man he’d singled out: Hollywood agent Marty Martyn, who made an unbilled cameo in Night After Night.</p> <p>After Cyndi spoke with Tucker, he interviewed Ryan, and then the family contacted Martyn’s daughter.</p> <p>She met with Tucker, Ryan and Cyndi, and along with public records, she confirmed more than 50 details that Ryan had reported about her father’s life, from his work history to the location and contents of his home.</p> <p>Cyndi felt tremendous relief when she was told that her son’s story matched Martyn’s. She says, “He wasn’t crazy! There really was another family.”</p> <h4>Plane on fire!</h4> <p>Tucker learned about the best-known recent reincarnation case study from TV producers.</p> <p>In 2002, he was contacted to work for and appear on a show about reincarnation (the programme never aired) and was told about James Leininger, a four-year-old Louisiana boy who believed that he was once a World War II pilot who had been shot down over Iwo Jima.</p> <p>Bruce and Andrea Leininger first realised that James had these memories when he was two and woke up from a nightmare, yelling, “Airplane crash! Plane on fire! Little man can’t get out!”</p> <p>He also knew details about WWII aircraft that would seem impossible for a toddler to know.</p> <p>For instance, when Andrea referred to an object on the bottom of a toy plane as a bomb, James corrected her by saying it was a drop tank.</p> <p>Another time, he and his parents were watching a History Channel documentary, and the narrator called a Japanese plane a Zero.</p> <p>James insisted that it was a Tony. In both cases, he was right.</p> <p>The boy said that he had also been named James in his previous life and that he’d flown off a ship named the Natoma.</p> <p>The Leiningers discovered a WWII aircraft carrier called the USS Natoma Bay.</p> <p>In its squadron was a pilot named James Huston, who had been killed in action over the Pacific.</p> <p>James talked incessantly about his plane crashing, and he was disturbed by nightmares a few times a week.</p> <p>His desperate mother contacted past-life therapist Carol Bowman for help.</p> <p>Bowman told Andrea not to dismiss what James was saying and to assure him that whatever happened had occurred in another life and body and he was safe now.</p> <p>Andrea followed her advice, and James’s dreams diminished. (His parents coauthored <em>Soul Survivor</em>, a 2009 book about their family’s story.)</p> <p>Professor French, who is familiar with Tucker’s work, says “the main problem with [his] investigating is that the research typically begins long after the child has been accepted as a genuine reincarnation by his or her family and friends.”</p> <p>About James Leininger, French says, “Although his parents insisted they never watched World War II documentaries or talked about military history, we do know that at 18 months of age, James was taken to a flight museum, where he was fascinated by the World War II planes."</p> <p>"In all probability, the additional details were unintentionally implanted by his parents and by a counsellor who was a firm believer in reincarnation.”</p> <p>Tucker says that he has additional documentation for many of James Leininger’s statements, and they were made before anyone in the family had heard of James Huston or the USS Natoma Bay.</p> <p>French responds that “children’s utterances are often ambiguous and open to interpretation.</p> <p>For example, perhaps James said something that just sounded a bit like Natoma?”</p> <p>Bruce Leininger, James’s father, understands French’s disbelief.</p> <p>“I was the original sceptic,” he says. “But the information James gave us was so striking and unusual. If someone wants to look at the facts and challenge them, they’re welcome to examine everything we have.”</p> <p>Bruce laughs at the idea that he and his wife planted the memories, saying, “You try telling a two-year-old what to believe; you’re not going to be able to give them a script.”</p> <h4>The boy who fulfilled his past life’s destiny</h4> <p>Born in Seattle in 1991, Sonam Wangdu was only two years old when he realised he was actually the fourth reincarnation of the original Tibetan lama (“lama” is the Tibetan word for “guru”), Dezhung Rinpoche I.</p> <p>The realisation was the culmination of a number of signs that had been accumulating since before the boy was even born.</p> <p>These included the visions of his mother and her own lama, as well as the words of the third reincarnation of Dezhung, himself (Dezhung Rinpoche III), who informed his acolytes in 1987 (the year of his death), “I will be reborn in Seattle.”</p> <p>In 1996, the boy, who by then only answered to the name, Trulku-la (which means “reincarnation”), left his family – forever – to be raised by monks while studying Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu, Nepal and eventually becoming the head of a monastery there.</p> <p>Arriving in Nepal, “dressed in gold and maroon robes and riding on a luggage cart pushed by his mother, the little lama smiled widely,” reported SeattleMet in a 2016 follow-up story tracing the boy’s journey over the past 20 years.</p> <p>“When asked how long he would stay in Nepal, though, the little boy was serene, almost stoic. ‘Lots of time,’ he said. ‘I’m just going to stay here a long time.’”</p> <p>And that has proven to be true. The boy is now in his 23rd year of life as the fourth reincarnation of Dezhung Rinpoche I.</p> <h4>The reincarnation of Franz Lizst</h4> <p><span>Vladimir Levinski, who was born David Secombe in England in the 1930s, had such an innate gift for playing the piano that he was able to teach himself to be a concert pianist (when asked about lessons, he remarked, “I have no time for them, I have a technique of my own.”) </span></p> <p><span>So gifted was Levinski, and at such a young age, that he came to recognise himself as the reincarnation of Franz Lizst, the German composer and pianist. </span></p> <p><span>By age 21, he was performing for packed concert halls and known as the “Paganini of the Piano.” </span></p> <p><span>Unfortunately, Levinski’s interest in Lizst at times came to border on obsession, such as when he was playing a concert on January 23, 1952, and stopped playing halfway through to talk about Lizst. </span></p> <p><span>The audience was disappointed, but Levinski, for his part, felt the concert was a “tremendous success,” in part because he experienced it as only the reincarnation of the renowned composer and performer, Lizst, could.</span></p> <h4>Long live hope</h4> <p>Tucker, too, knows that for most scientists, reincarnation will always seem like a fantastical notion regardless of how much evidence is presented.</p> <p>For him, success doesn’t mean persuading the naysayers to accept the existence of reincarnation but rather encouraging people to consider the meaning of consciousness and how it might survive our deaths.</p> <p>“I believe in the possibility of reincarnation, which is different from saying that I believe in reincarnation,” he explains.</p> <p>“I do think these cases require an explanation that is out of the ordinary, although that certainly doesn’t mean we all reincarnate.”</p> <p>Does Tucker believe that in the future, there will be a child who is able to recall his own memories?</p> <p>“Memories of past lives are not very common, so I don’t expect that,” he says. “But I do hope there’s some continuation after death for me and for all of us.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/the-children-whove-lived-before" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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You'll be happiest during these two years of your life, according to science

<p>Think you have already reached your peak in life?</p> <p>You might want to think again.</p> <p>We want to share some good news with you: Your happiest years are still ahead!</p> <p>According to new <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1229.pdf" target="_blank">research</a>, we’re happiest at two points in our lives – not just one.</p> <p>Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science asked 23,000 German volunteers aged 17 to 85 to rate their life satisfaction.</p> <p>Participants predicted how happy they would feel in five years, and then, after five years’ time, reported back on how they actually felt.</p> <p>Their results? Anything but negative!</p> <p>The study found that happiness tends to follow a U-shaped curve over an individual’s lifetime, with satisfaction reaching higher levels during the extremes of the study’s age range and swinging down with middle age.</p> <p>Plus, the researchers noted the two most important years when happiness peaks: ages 23 and 69.</p> <p>If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.</p> <p>In our early 20s, we’re energetic and excited for the changes that come along with young age: new careers, new places to travel and new people to meet.</p> <p>By the time we reach our 60s and 70s, though, we have likely retired and can now find the time – not to mention the money! – to book a holiday somewhere at a moment’s notice.</p> <p>The dip in middle age is also pretty logical.</p> <p>After all, your 40+ years are a busy time filled with “raising families, climbing the corporate ladder, and you know, life in general,” <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.brit.co/happiest-age-2/" target="_blank">Brit+Co</a> writes.</p> <p>Of course, that’s all the more reason to find easy ways to be happier without really trying, regardless of your age!</p> <p>Experts recommend prioritising small yet rewarding tasks like taking a walk or spending time with family.</p> <p>Just remember, now you have one more reason to look forward to getting older: a boost in happiness!</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published for <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/conditions/mental-health/youll-be-happiest-during-these-two-years-your-life-according" target="_blank">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Meet the woman who’s been trapping lobsters since before World War II

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Virginia Oliver, 101-year-old resident of Rockland, Maine, started trapping lobsters when she was just 8 years old, right before the Great Depression hit, and she’s been going ever since. She’s been a trailblazer her entire life: when she started, few women were trapping lobsters, and now she’s the oldest lobster fisher in the coastal northeastern state best known for its lobsters, and most likely one of the oldest lobster fishers in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She tends to her traps with her 78-year-old son Max, having learned about the business from her father, a lobster dealer. Lobsters, which used to be considered a cheap food primarily eaten by working class families, fetched 28 cents/pound when she started trapping; now, having become a delicacy, they fetch 15 times that. Perhaps most surprisingly, she isn’t sick of eating lobster yet – she enjoys a lobster dinner of her own roughly once a week. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 332.79220779220776px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7844167/gettyimages-1234361930.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/99b6ddc285094a56b437a724f25c8637" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Oliver catches lobsters by loading small fish called menhaden, or ‘pogeys’ in lobster-speak, into wire traps, and drives a boat that once belonged to her late husband that bears her name, ‘Virginia’. She said she has no intention of stopping, but she is concerned about the health of Maine’s lobster population, which is subject to heavy fishing pressure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of her decision to continue working, Oliver said, “I’ve done it all my life, so I might as well keep doing it.” Even after a scare where a crab snipped her finger, requiring seven stitches, she never considered retirement. According to family friend Wayne Gray, the doctor admonished her, asking, “Why are you out there lobstering?” with Oliver responding with a simple, “Because I want to.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I like doing it, I like being along the water. And I’m going to keep on doing it just as long as I can.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Joseph Prezioso/AFP</span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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The rise of the Grandfluencer

<p dir="ltr">While previously platforms like Instagram and TikTok were thought to be almost exclusively for young people, there’s a new wave of older influencers, or “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-13/social-media-s-70-up-grandfluencers-debunking-aging-myths/100443904" target="_blank">Grandfluencers</a>”, who are proving that isn’t the case, and doing it in style.</p> <p dir="ltr">Joan MacDonald, who goes by<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/trainwithjoan/" target="_blank">@trainwithjoan</a>, is a 75-year-old who started posting about her fitness journey on Instagram in 2017, and has amassed a staggering 1.4 million followers in the four years since. Most recently, she launched an app with her daughter, a fitness coach, that features meal plans and fitness routines for a variety of fitness levels.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to the ABC, Ms MacDonald said she was initially surprised that people would be interested in what she had to say, but that her daughter soon cleared things up for her: “She said it's what you're representing, that people can do what they think they've not been able to do, or were told that they couldn't do."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CTo-a_mrLJT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CTo-a_mrLJT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Joan MacDonald (@trainwithjoan)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Over on TikTok, a group of four gay men who go by<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@oldgays?lang=en" target="_blank">@oldgays</a><span> </span>post multiple times a week to their 2.4 million followers, primarily about their attempts to understand contemporary popular culture and contemporary gay culture, with hilarious results.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTsTbYQgBGf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTsTbYQgBGf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Old Gays (@theoldgays)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">One mum explained the appeal of these older influencers to the ABC. Grace Maier, who has two young children, said of one of her favourite Grandfluencers, @brunchwithbabs, “She's got all of these life hacks and tips that remind me of things my grandma shared with me before she passed.</p> <p dir="ltr">"She also doesn't take herself too seriously and just seems like the kind of person who would welcome you into her home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Babs, a 72-year-old grandmother who lives in Connecticut, shares delicious recipes and life hacks with nearly half a million followers, who come for the food but stay for the maternal wisdom.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTplhCwlwrL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CTplhCwlwrL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Babs (@brunchwithbabs)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">According to a 2019 survey by AARP, a US group which advocates for those over the age of 50, while most people aged 50 and over use technology to stay connected to friends and family, less than half use social media daily.</p> <p dir="ltr">The second-youngest member of Old Gays, 68-year-old Jessay Martin, said that social media had “changed his life”, allowing him to put himself out there and be much more social. “I was just sort of floating by, not being social, not putting myself out there in the gay community. And boy, has the Old Gays changed that."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @trainwithjoan/Instagram, @theoldgays/Instagram</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Nutrient supplements do no good, may do harm

<div class="copy">The only vitamins that help are the ones you get from food, a new study suggests.</div> <div class="copy"> <p>Researchers at Tufts University in the US find that vitamin and mineral supplements are at best a waste of money, and at worst are correlated with increased mortality rates.</p> </div> <div class="copy"> <p>The study, led by nutrition specialist Fang Fang Zhang and <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.7326/M18-2478">published</a> in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that adequate intakes of vitamin K and magnesium are associated with lower all-cause mortality rates, but the findings hold true only for intake from food sources, not from vitamin supplements.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">On the other hand, excess calcium intake, including from supplements, was linked to a higher rate of cancer mortality. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Vitamin D supplement intake for individuals with no vitamin D deficiency was linked to higher all-cause mortality rates. </span></p> <p>“As potential benefits and harms of supplement use continue to be studied, some studies have found associations between excess nutrient intake and adverse outcomes, including increased risk of certain cancers,” Zhang says.</p> <p>“It is important to understand the role that the nutrient and its source might play in health outcomes, particularly if the effect might not be beneficial.”</p> <p>The study is based on data from 27,725 adults who had answered a range of health and nutrition questions and completed at least one 24-hour food log for the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2006 and 2011.</p> <p>More than half of the participants had used at least one dietary supplement within the previous 30 days, with over 38% using a multivitamin or mineral product.</p> <p>Supplement users were more likely than the rest of the population to get nutrients through their food.</p> <p>They were also disproportionately older, wealthier, whiter, more educated, physically active, and female.</p> <p>They were less likely to smoke, drink heavily, or be obese.</p> <p>In other words, they were people with the resources and inclination to take care of their bodies.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements,” said Zhang. </span></p> <p>“This study also confirms the importance of identifying the nutrient source when evaluating mortality outcomes.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/nutrient-supplements-do-no-good-may-do-harm/" target="_blank">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Samantha Page.</em></p> </div>

Retirement Life

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Inside the world’s first midlife wisdom school

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When retirement age hits, a whole new set of challenges are presented. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From health insurance, funeral plans, superannuation and everything in between, the transition into retirement can be trickier than originally thought.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to help with this uncertain time, the world’s first </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">midlife wisdom school, known as <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.modernelderacademy.com" target="_blank">Modern Elder Academy</a> (MEA) has been founded by CEO Chip Conley.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">MEA offers courses, both on-line and in person that help people to navigate midlife transitions, find purpose and reframe their mindset on ageing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">MEA attracts people of all ages and stages, from midlife and beyond to help and reframe how individuals think about retirement. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Writer Ang Galloway, who is part of the MEA team, said the program helped them restructure their thinking. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I want more from the second half of life than the societal script I inherited. I knew I wasn’t in the market for sensible, beige or elasticised anything and yet the image of ageing that society reflected back at me was at total odds with how I felt. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“MEA helped me to reframe midlife from a crisis to a calling.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Founder Chip Conley said he was inspired to create MEA after writing his book titled </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wisdom@Work: The Making of Modern Elder. </span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s a whole culture out there telling us that getting older means becoming less relevant. But MEA deems that wisdom and experience have never been more important in the workplace…or in the world.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said, “At MEA we believe in making ageing aspirational. It’s about creating a life that is as deep and meaningful as it is long.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">MEA runs a series of online courses, including “Navigating Midlife Transitions”, “The Big Reset” and “Flourish in Midlife and Beyond”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The courses have been a huge success online, with people from all over the globe saying how MEA’s message helped them redefine what retirement means for them.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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How over 60s are coping better with lockdown restrictions

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With over half the Australian population currently subject to stay-at-home orders, there is mounting evidence that older people are handling COVID-19 lockdowns better than their younger counterparts. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A recent study conducted by Macquarie University psychologists found that Aussie pensioners are experiencing better mental health and general wellbeing through the pandemic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">has measured the mental, social and physical wellbeing impacts of COVID-19 on older adults across a range of samples.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Overall, we are finding that while many older adults reported low mood and worry, it is not as severe as might be expected, and that in many cases older adults were coping well,” says Professor Viviana Wuthrich, Director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Ageing, Cognition and Wellbeing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Wuthrich says these findings are consistent with global research and further reinforces the conclusion that age is associated with greater psychological resilience in the face of crisis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this study found that older people were more mentally resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study took place in a US city in March 2020 before the effects of the deadly and highly contagious Delta variant were felt around the world. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Even though older people understood they were at greater risk if they got COVID, that they could die or have serious complications – they still reported better mental health and better wellbeing,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We've seen the same effects from studies in Spain, Canada and the Netherlands, and all found that older people were doing better than younger people.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Wuthrich did note that many studies found there was a significant increase in loneliness among the older generations, while technology was considered a ‘protective factor’ in combating feelings of isolation. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We found that living with someone else, rather than living alone, was protective,” she says.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We also found that another strong predictor of whether older people were resilient was about how much contact they had with their grandchildren.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Those older people who were maintaining contact with grandchildren, whether via telephone or video conferencing, or in some cases, still face-to-face, were experiencing better mental health,” she says.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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How a financially-savvy 29-year-old plans to retire at age 35

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michelle Ives, a 29-year-old mother of one, believes she has discovered the secret to an early and stress-free retirement. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Central Coast native is planning to retire from running her own copywriting business when she turns 35 in just six short years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By then, her family will have an impressive investment portfolio worth over $2million. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She plans to leave her job and live off between $70,000 and $100,000 a year from the money her family will make in investing. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Michelle started her first job at age 14, she said the idea of working into her 70s made her feel “very trapped”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But when she turned 21 and started working full time as a journalist, she got serious about following a strict financial plan. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Everyone followed this linear path to retirement where they work, work, work and do the nine-to-five or just have a job and then they get to 60 to 65 and retire and then potentially have a few golden years to make use of the nest egg that they have built, and that’s if they even have one,” she told </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/superannuation/how-29yearold-michelle-ives-plans-to-retire-at-35/news-story/39a07c283824f7b95d58365a54056922" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But it never made sense to me … and I didn’t feel like it was the only path to financial freedom. I was excited to work but why should I have to do that every day until I’m in my sixties or seventies and not even able bodied enough to enjoy it?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michelle follows a financial movement called FIRE (financial independence and retiring early), which began in the US.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The saving-savvy mum said the movement is primarily about saving the majority of your income and living off what’s left over. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We save around 70 to 80 per cent of our income, as the theory behind FIRE is you need to either take existing income and need to peel it back as much as you possibly can and create disposable income and start saving and investing that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Or create additional income streams, so get a raise or get a better job or have a side hustle or side business,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It brings forward the retirement age by decades than people can otherwise realistically do. For some people it’s 40 and for some people, 30 is increasingly becoming the age they can retire.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michelle documents her early retirement plans on her blog and directs many people to financial resources to share her dream of an early retirement. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Shutterstock/Facebook: That Girl on Fire</span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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5 fool-proof ways to achieve a spectacular garden

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to maintaining your garden, not everyone is a self-proclaimed green thumb.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A lot of different environmental and financial factors can alter the progress and growth of a healthy outdoor space. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But with these five tips, anyone can become an expert gardener in a few simple steps to have your garden thriving!</span></p> <p><strong>Plan your garden</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The key to a successful garden is planning and structuring before you even start.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You should know what type of soil you’re dealing with before you head to your local nursery to find plants that will work best. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You will also need to make sure you choose the right plants that will thrive in your garden outside, as well as what will work best in inside spaces. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So get planning, and talk to the professionals at your local nursery for fool-proof advice. </span></p> <p><strong>Buy plants that are difficult to kill</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are extensive ranges of low maintenance plants that are notoriously difficult to kill. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Renowned horticulturalist Mike Wells says there are many plants that are happy soaking in the sun without being regularly watered. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“People need to remember to check on their gardens and their indoor plants. Most indoor plants can last a week without watering but they need a quality potting mix,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mike says one of his go-to and easy-to-please plants is succulents, for both indoors and outdoors, as they don’t need daily watering and can be very inexpensive.</span></p> <p><strong>‘Set and forget’ plants</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some gardeners are turning to growing their own fresh produce, as they require a lot less maintenance. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These ‘set and forget’ plants are a great long-term investment, and do not need constant monitoring in larger garden beds</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs straight from your own backyard is a huge win financially, as well as for your kitchen!</span></p> <p><strong>Supercharging your plants</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to maintain a healthy, weed-free garden, mulching is a must. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mike Wells says that adding mulch to ornamental gardens can be a lifesaver by extending the longevity of all plants. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Cypress pine wood chips are best to 50 to 75mm deep. For a vegetable garden, these would be too coarse, so a chopped lucerne or fine sugar cane mulch to no deeper than 50mm is recommended,” says Mike.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For the gardeners who don’t want to fertilise often, choose a controlled release plus organics product which should only need light incorporation every six months.”</span></p> <p><strong>Self-watering plants</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the tech-savvy gardener, self-watering systems can be a lifesaver. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No more having to schedule watering your plants, and worrying if they are getting enough </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">water, as smart systems take the hassle out for you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They reduce the amount of water you need for the garden. Just set up the automatic timer and away you go.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are multiple options when deciding on an indoor or outdoor plant watering system. Some are so high tech you can operate them using a mobile phone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These systems, combined with carefully planning and maintaining your garden, are destined to have your garden blooming all year round.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Shutterstock</span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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10 long riddles to give your brain a workout

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Who doesn’t love a good riddle? Whether you prefer easy riddles, hard riddles, or short riddles, there’s just something about trying to solve these brain busters that keeps us coming back for more. Come on, is there anything better than finally solving a mind-bender we’ve been stuck on for a while?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may consider yourself a master of riddles, but remember – you haven’t seen our list of long riddles yet. Buckle up – these riddles will get your gears turning!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Can you solve these long riddles?</span></p> <p><strong>The farmer's river crossing</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A farmer went to a market and bought a wolf, a goat, and a cabbage. On his way home, the farmer came to the bank of a river and rented a boat. But crossing the river by boat, the farmer could carry only himself and a single one of his purchases: the wolf, the goat, or the cabbage. If left unattended together, the wolf would eat the goat, or the goat would eat the cabbage. The farmer’s challenge was to carry himself and his purchases to the far bank of the river, leaving each purchase intact. How did he do it?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: The farmer takes seven trips over – here are his steps:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take the goat over</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Return</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take the wolf or cabbage over</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Return with the goat</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take the cabbage or wolf over</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Return</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take goat over</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Note: The riddle doesn’t forbid the farmer from bringing a purchase back, which makes the steps above possible.</span></p> <p><strong>The suspicious hotel visit</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A woman is sitting in her hotel room and hears a knock at the door. She opens the door to see a man whom she’s never met before. He says, “I’m sorry, I have made a mistake, I thought this was my room.” He then goes down the corridor and into the elevator. The woman goes back into her room and calls security. What made the woman so suspicious of the man?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: If he really thought it was his hotel room, he would have tried to open the door – not knock on it first.</span></p> <p><strong>Man and a brick</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A man is found unconscious in front of a store at two in the morning. His head is bleeding and there’s a brick laying next to him. When the police arrive, they carry the man to jail. Why did they arrest him?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: The man was trying to rob the store. He threw a brick at the store’s bullet-proof window and it bounced back and hit him.</span></p> <p><strong>My three sons</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A father told his three sons he would die soon and he needed to decide which one of them to give his property to. He said, “Go to the market and buy something that is large enough to fill my bedroom, but small enough to fit in your pocket. From this, I will decide which of you is the wisest and worthy enough to inherit my land.” They all went to the market, and each came back with a different item. The father told his sons to come into his bedroom one at a time and try to fill up his bedroom with their item. The first son came in and put some pieces of cloth he bought and laid them across the room, but it barely covered the floor. The second son came in and laid some hay on the floor, but there was only enough to cover half the floor. The third son came in and showed his father what he bought. He wound up getting the property. What did the third son show his father?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: A box of matches. Whenever he lit a match, it filled the room with light.</span></p> <p><strong>The big family</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There’s a girl who has a large family. She has an equal amount of brothers and sisters, but each brother only has half as many brothers and sisters. What’s the correct amount of brothers and sisters?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: Four sisters and three brothers.</span></p> <p><strong>Door to paradise</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You stand in front of two doors. A guard stands next to each door. You know the following things: one path leads to paradise, the other leads to death. You cannot distinguish between the two doors. You also know that one of the two guards always tells the truth and the other always lies. You have permission to ask one guard one question to discover which door leads to paradise. What one question would you ask to guarantee you enter the door to paradise?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: Ask, “Which door would the other guard say leads to paradise?”</span></p> <p><strong>The basket full of hats</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a basket full of hats. Three are white and two are black. Three men, Tom, Tim and Jim, each take a hat out of the basket and put it on their heads without seeing the hat they selected or the hats the other men selected. The men arrange themselves so Tom can see Tim and Jim’s hats, Tim can see Jim’s hat, and Jim can’t see anyone’s hat. Tom is asked what colour his hat is and he says he doesn’t know. Tim is asked the same question, and he also doesn’t know. Finally, Jim is asked the question, and he does know. What colour is his hat?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: The hat is white. If Tom doesn’t know his hat colour then the other two men’s hats cannot be both black otherwise he would know his hat is white. When Tim doesn’t know his hat colour either, that means Jim’s hat could not be black otherwise Tim would have to know his hat was white based on Tom’s answer.</span></p> <p><strong>What word am I?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Consider this about a word: The first two letters signify a male, the first three letters signify a female, the first four letters signify a great, while the entire world signifies a great woman. What is the word?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: Heroine.</span></p> <p><strong>The lake house</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sally lives in a place where six months of the year is mild summer and the temperature drops significantly the other six months. She owns a lake where there is a small island. She wants to build a house on the island and needs to get materials there. She doesn’t have a boat, plane, or anything to transport them to the island. How does Sally solve this problem?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: She waits to take the materials over during the colder months because the lake will freeze over, so she can walk over it.</span></p> <p><strong>The old horror house</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You walk into an old horror house. It has no power or plumbing. Once inside, you see three doors. Each door has a number on it. Behind each door is a way for you to die. Behind door number one, you die by getting eaten by a lion. Behind door number two, you die by getting murdered. Behind door number three, you die by electric chair. You can’t turn back, so you have to go through a door. Which door do you go through?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: Door number three – the house has no power, which means it doesn’t have electricity. Therefore, the electric chair won’t work.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/thought-provoking/long-riddles-to-give-your-brain-a-workout" target="_blank" title="Long riddles to give your brain a workout">Reader’s Digest</a>.</span></em></p> <p><br /><br /></p>

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Vintage-loving couple shun modern day life for 1940s style

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A British couple have shunned the bells and whistles of modern life to embrace a more old-fashioned lifestyle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruth Shelley, 28, and Robert Oestmann, 27, from the West Midlands share a love of all things vintage and have redecorated their home to match. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not only do they wear old-fashioned clothing, listen to wartime music on their gramophone, and refuse to own a TV, but they even own a vintage car.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 396.6386554621849px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843042/vintage-1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/9594583e62334e3a8e6396a9aea530ac" /></p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram @vintage.robb</em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert is a keen home cook, and often experiments with recipes that date back to the 1700s when not making a living selling whiskey.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruth, a research historian, has praised their unique vintage lifestyle for having a beneficial impact on their relationship.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She said, “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert and I dress like this all of the time as we are in love with the style. Robert mainly wears a suit and flat cap whereas I may wear clothing from 1930s to 1940s.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple is intrigued with history and have been known to turn heads on the street with their distinctive style. </span></p> <p><img style="width: 400.5145797598628px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843043/vintage-2.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7270e81a6f8241299b45f917d23d95c2" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Instagram @ladyadepha</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruth said, “This style isn't something you could wear if you are shy as we do get stared at a lot. We don't mind at all and it's often positive feedback.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert said a lot of his inspiration comes from watching old films and reading old books with his grandparents as a child. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruth said, “In our spare time, we read, talk or Robert cooks and I help. We have a few original cookbooks which are interesting from a historical point of view.”</span></p> <p><img style="width: 426.497277676951px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843044/vintage-4.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d67759f81c024909bd052a62c212051a" /><br /><br /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Instagram @ladyadepha</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of Robert’s favourite dishes is Depression Era Meat Loaf from 1938, whereas Ruth likes to make Welsh cakes on a griddle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple both claim that their lifestyle has had a positive impact on their lives and forces them to live in the present.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruth said, “For us, this lifestyle works best and is beneficial for our relationships. It works for us as we are present in the moment as opposed to glued to Netflix or on our phones.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Instagram @ladyadepha @vintage.robb</span></em></p>

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Huge travel no-no: Woman tries to claim six resort sunbeds before 7am

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A TikTok user has angered</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">holidaymakers after dumping water bottles and towels on six vacant sunbeds at a resort in Hawaii to ‘reserve’ them before 7am. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The clip was shared by an American mother </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">impersonating people who shamelessly scatter their belongings across rows of sunbeds before walking away to return later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The video, which has racked up over two million views, was captioned, “We all know that one person at the resort.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the video, she walks around the poolside resort area and vigorously throws her personal belongings across the lounges, as the time stamp reads 6:55am</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The video sparked a slew of angry online comments, with many people branding the poor etiquette as the ultimate holiday sin. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One person said, “I would be moving her stuff,” while another joked, “Ahh the vacation Karen.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One commenter said they would “move their stuff” if they didn't turn up after an hour, while another remarked, “I go on vacation to get away from people like this.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the comment section being flooded with angry remarks, some people admitted they have been guilty of the same actions while on their holidays. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One person commented, “Nothing wrong with reserving a few chairs. I've done this. Early bird gets the worm - that's what you get for sleeping until 10!”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another wrote, “I think this is ok and I'm ok with other people doing it. They worked for it by waking early.”</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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