Recognizing the Need for outside Help in Caregiving

Caregivers often don’t recognize when they are in over their heads, and often get to a breaking point. After a prolonged period of time, caregiving can become too difficult to endure any longer. Short-term the caregiver can handle it. Long-term, help is needed. Outside help at this point is needed.

A typical pattern with an overloaded caregiver may unfold as follows:

  • 1 to 18 months – the caregiver is confident, has everything under control and is coping well. Other friends and family are lending support.
  • 20 to 36 months – the caregiver may be taking medication to sleep and control mood swings. Outside help dwindles away and except for trips to the store or doctor, the caregiver has severed most social contacts. The caregiver feels alone and helpless.
  • 38 to 50 months – Besides needing tranquilizers or antidepressants, the caregiver’s physical health is beginning to deteriorate. Lack of focus and sheer fatigue cloud judgment and the caregiver is often unable to make rational decisions or ask for help.

It is often at this stage that family or friends intercede and find other solutions for care. This may include respite care, hiring home health aides or putting the disabled loved one in a facility. Without intervention, the caregiver may become a candidate for long term care as well.

With the holiday season upon us, caregivers feel even more stress — with planning, shopping and participating in holiday activities. This is a perfect time for family and friends to step up and provide some respite time and caregiving help. Whether it is provided personally or arranged as a gift of services to be provided by a professional respite company or home care provider, it is a welcome gift.

An article in “Today’s Caregiver” states:

“Nearly one in four caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provide 40 hours a week or more of care. Seventy-one percent sustain this commitment for more than a year, and 32 percent do so for five years or more. One of the best gifts you can give someone caring for Alzheimer’s is something that relieves the stress or provides a bit of respite for the caregiver.
The Gift of time: Cost-effective and truly meaningful gifts are self-made coupons for cleaning the house, preparing a meal, moving lawn/shoveling driveway, respite times that allow the caregiver time off to focus on what he/she needs.”

It is also important to note that hiring professional care provider services can provide valuable ongoing support to an overloaded caregiver. A financial planner, care funding specialist or a reverse mortgage specialist may find the funds to pay for professional help to keep a loved one at home. A care manager can guide the family and the caregiver through the maze of long term care issues. The care manager has been there many times — the family is experiencing it for the first time.

An elder law attorney can help iron out legal problems. And an elder mediator can help solve disputes between family members. There are also cash benefits for Veterans, who served during a period of war, that pay for home care or assisted living.

If you are the one providing daily care for a loved one, you owe it to yourself to seek help.
Take care of yourself and your needs, both physically and mentally. Seek out professional help that will ease your burden and look for community service organizations that offer respite help.

The National Care Planning Council’s website contains hundreds of articles with tips and advice for caregivers and their families. Take a few minutes to find the help you need and enjoy this holiday season.

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The Perfect Holiday Caregiver: It’s all a state of mind

It’s all a state of mind. The holidays are always a wonderful time of year for family gatherings, reflection on what we have and the spirit of giving. The television is packed with specials showing relationships and families coming together for the holidays.

But the holidays can also be a time of stress and sadness for those who are caring for family members that are struggling with health problems, frailty, dementia and loss. Those who care for these individuals may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed or resentful as they watch “perfect” families enjoying the holidays. There are many surveys and documents that show that caregivers are highly susceptible to these feelings. If you are a caregiver, there are measures you can take to avoid this.

First; Remember, that you are not alone.

If you are new to caregiving or have been caring for someone for a very long time, remember that the perfect family on television is not reality for many Americans. You are not the only one with these challenges. A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 44.4 million Americans age 18 or older are providing unpaid care to an adult. In fact according to the survey provided by the National Family Caregivers Association:

  • The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old Baby Boomer woman with some college education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring for her mother who lives nearby.
  • Female caregivers provide more hours of care and provide a higher level of care than male caregivers.
  • Almost seven in ten 69%) caregivers say they help one person.
  • The average length of caregiving is 4.3 years.
  • Many caregivers fulfill multiple roles. Most caregivers are married or living with a partner (62%), and most have worked and managed caregiving responsibilities at the same time (74%).

Second; Find help.

There are many resources available to a caregiver. Some of these include family members, friends, a local religious group, elder care agencies and homecare providers. The internet provides many great resources and help. The National Care Planning Council offers many articles, brochures and local referrals to help caregivers find the help that they need.

“When my husband’s stepfather was released from the hospital in December of 2009, he called us to give him a ride home. Once he was home, we quickly realized that he was not able to care for himself at all. He lived alone and we found ourselves driving back and forth three or four times a day to assist all of his needs. It was overwhelming and frightening to suddenly become a caregiver to a man we weren’t even that close to. With my husband working full time days, I became his primary caregiver. I would pack up my two little girls every day to come with me to take him to the doctor, do his laundry and feed him his meals, do his grocery shopping and help him with his bills. I had no idea what his finances were like or how to pay his medical bills. He was too sick to care or even understand what I was saying to him. I quickly realized I was going to have to find help. First I called his children. They were sympathetic, but gave all kinds of excuses as to why they could not help. Next, I went to the internet. I went to the website for National Care Planning Council and found and contacted a Care planner in my area. The Care Planner came to my stepfather’s house and met with the two of us. They helped me get organized and set up time to meet with someone to explain his Medicare services and what my next steps would be. It was such a relief to have a plan and to know what to do.” MH- Salt Lake City, Utah

Most family members are willing to help, but just don’t know what to do. Many caregivers feel that they are the only one who can give the best care. It is important to communicate with other family members about what kind of help you need and let them know specifically what they can do.

A number of organizations and private companies will give you advice and guidance — many for free. If your care recipient has a very low income, you might get free help from your local Area Agency on Aging. A lot depends on available funds. Click here for a nationwide list of agencies.

A good source for professional advice is the rapidly growing business of non-medical home care companies. Most will offer free consultations and will provide paid aides to help you with your loved-one with such things as bathing, dressing, shopping, household chores, transportation, companionship and much more. These people may also help you coordinate adult day care or other community services.

You may wish to pay for a formal assessment and care plan from a professional geriatric care manager. Even though it may cost you a little money to hire a care manager, this could be the best money you will ever spend. Care managers are valuable in helping find supporting resources, providing respite, saving money from care providers, finding money to pay for care, making arrangements with family or government providers and providing advice on issues that you may be struggling with.

Lastly; it is important to take care of yourself first in order to give effective and loving care.

Stephen Covey tells a story in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about a man who is sawing a tree. A woman approaches and asks the obviously exhausted man how long he has been sawing the tree. He tells her that he has been there for hours.

She says “Well, I see that your saw is dull, if you would just sharpen your saw you would be able to saw it much faster and with less effort.”

He replies, “I don’t have time to stop and sharpen my saw, I need to chop this tree down now!”

It seems pretty silly that the man just doesn’t stop for a few minutes to make the work easier. It is common for caregivers to do the same thing. They focus on caring for their loved one and run themselves down instead of stopping to “sharpen their saw”.

Covey states that “sharpening the saw” is to take care of yourself by keeping your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self balanced. There is joy and respite in balancing all of these areas in our life. This is what makes us efficient and happy. Here are some ways for you as a caregiver to sharpen your own saw:

  • Maintain a positive attitude. Take time to be grateful for everything that is good in your life. There is always something. Adjust your expectations for the holiday season. If you aren’t expecting that perfect holiday family picture, then you won’t be angry and frustrated that it isn’t something you have right now. It is always possible to change your attitude and perceptions, but it is not always possible to change your circumstances.
  • Eat healthy food and be sure to get some exercise. Do this in small increments if it is too overwhelming to plan menus. Drink more water, cut down on sugary snacks, pick up some vegetables and fruit to grab. Walk or do marching in place. Run or walk up and down stairs if that is all the time you have right now.
  • Forgive and let go of frustrations, anger, resentment and guilt. These are common feelings for caregivers. The best thing a caregiver can do for their own emotional health is to clear out these negative thoughts and feelings. Get counseling, talk to a friend or family member or simply write down the negative feelings to get them out of your system. Never take your anger and frustrations out on those you care for.
  • Take time to do something you enjoy and give yourself a little bit of rejuvenation everyday. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Find something funny to read or get on the internet and find a funny video to watch.
  • During the holidays, be easy on yourself. If you enjoy holiday activities, then get out there and do them. Ask someone to help with your caregiving duties even if it is just for an hour or two to shop or to see a concert or movie. There are day care facilities or home care services available for short term care. See for a service in your area.

Being a “perfect” caregiver during the holidays does not have to look like the perfect on-screen holiday family. How you handle your circumstance will be the key to creating your own peace, happiness and cheer during the holiday season. The holidays can be a time of reflection on good things. Your attitude and a little care for yourself can make a big difference in the care that you give in the coming year.

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Invisible Heroes

family caregivers

They live in your city, perhaps on your street or even next door.

They serve with courage, perseverance, patience and love. Some give 24 hours a day, with days blending into weeks, months and years.

They are family caregivers; heroes quietly caring for loved ones at home.

There are over 66 million family caregivers in the United States, taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia or who have physical inabilities. The overwhelming responsibility can be very difficult and emotionally wearing on the caregiver. Without some type of support the caregiver may end up with his or her own health failing. Stress, guilt, anger, depression and withdrawal from family and friends are some of the emotional feelings that leave these people feeling helpless. Many caregivers give up employment to attend to their loved ones’ needs, causing financial stress as well.

National Family Caregivers Month was established in November to draw support for caregivers across the nation. In addition, November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. In the United States alone, there are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers.

Emphasis from support organizations is put on helping caregivers by educating them on resources available to them to help provide care to their loved ones and in the process take care of themselves. Government and private companies have added many programs that help caregivers. By providing education, services, health counseling and respite care for caregivers they are making available the helping hand that is very much needed.

The Area on Aging Caregiver National Caregiver Support Program extends throughout each state to provide local services.

“The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), established in 2000, provides grants to States and Territories, based on their share of the population aged 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible.”

Medicare’s website offers education and resources for caregivers offered through Medicare.

“Medicare toolkit offers informational resources that can be printed directly from this Web site and provided to caregivers. The resources are designed to help caregivers address challenging issues and work effectively with Medicare to ensure their family members and friends receive the best possible care.”

Whether it is senior centers, local church groups or community groups that reach out with hands-on support; volunteers are found in every community. Private care providers can also help caregivers with the day-to-day responsibilities, enabling them to have time to spend on their own needs. There are large numbers of Home Care companies across the nation that provide medical and non-medical care as needed by the family caregiver.

Whether it is senior centers, local church groups or community groups that reach out with hands-on support; volunteers are found in every community. Private care providers can also help caregivers with the day-to-day responsibilities, enabling them to have time to spend on their own needs. There are large numbers of Home Carecompanies across the nation that provide medical and non-medical care as needed by the family caregiver.

The National Care Planning Council of which I’m a member provides a website of resources for caregivers.

National Care Planning Council and our web site ““, the most comprehensive resource for Eldercare (Senior Care) and Long Term Care Planning anywhere.”

Become a Member of the National Care Planning Council

Join the NCPC

Seniors and caregivers search online everyday for eldercare services and frequently find our web site. Last year, averaged over 60,000 unique visits per month. We have become an important resource for people looking for help.

We invite you to become a member of the NCPC. Your membership will include an advertising listing(s) on our site, your own personal sales (web) page, and access to the member section.

Eldercare Services

Long Term Care

The National Care Planning Council is dedicated to helping the American public with senior care and long term care planning. Use the following link to locate eldercare services & help in your area.

Some of these services include Care Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Funeral Planning, Home Care, Medicaid Planning, Placement, Reverse Mortgage, and Veterans Benefits.

Books on Eldercare, Veterans Benefits, and Long Term Care for Seniors

The National Care Planning Council is a leader in providing books on timely subjects for long term care planning. Below are five of our popular books.

How to Apply for the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit

The Aid & Attendance Handbook for Professionals & Consultants

The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning

Protect Assets from Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets

Veterans Benefits Consultants Package

National Care Planning Council

  • The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning and to helping implement that planning. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for those who are in need of (or may need) long term care are at the heart of our services.
  • Our Statement of Purpose:
  • (1) To promote a public awareness of the need for long term care planning(2) To provide materials to educate the public on how to plan for long term care(3) To provide support to member eldercare experts who help the public plan for long term care

    (4) To promote the services and expertise of our members

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In Which Community Do I See Myself Living in Older Age?

A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that “people who reach age 65 will likely have a 40 percent chance of entering a nursing home.  About 10 percent of the people who enter a nursing home will stay there five years or more. This year, about nine million men and women over the age of 65 will need eldercare. By 2020, 12 million older Americans will need eldercare.  Most will be cared for at home; with family and friends as the sole caregivers for 70 percent of the elderly”.

The Fact is with the technology available today living in one’s home with help is a completely viable option. However I had to laugh at the retiree who exclaimed” no way I’m staying put with family under foot. I just can’t bear it I’m nobody’s burden. “

Other retirees may be motivated by a need for change, adventure and excitement . Today the choices are many. I personally found assisted living to be a good solution for many. My Aunt Ethel moved to an assisted living community at age 94 and found it ideal. She had her independence, new friends, old friends, precisely as much care (help) as she needed and drivers to get her around town. She especially enjoyed her visits to the senior center twice a week helping out the older folks. However what worked for my Aunt Ethel will likely not work for my generation. Generationally speaking it’s a whole new ball game.

A few options worthy of consideration:

Active Adult Communities – These are being developed all over the country. I visited the Del Web Community in New Mexico and I must admit I was impressed. Plenty of things to do, groups to be a part of, cultural performances, field trips and plenty more. The care and health services are scalable and exceptional.

Senior Adult Communities – These communities are challenged with meeting the needs of future retiring Boomers. In the past a resident would rent an apartment or condo, have a place to go for meals, and van shuttle services. Today a boomer would likely need more to be persuaded to move in. I visited one located right on the beach in La Jolla California, extremely expensive, full service, fantastic ocean view but frankly not particularly appealing to a boomer.

There are plenty of communities around the country that are not age exclusive but offer opportunities that appeal to retirees. Perhaps living on a golf course is your cup of tea, in the desert or maybe living on a lake. Assuming cold weather is not a problem perhaps a condo development near a ski resort or near a national forest. Enjoying a mix of people at varying ages in these types of communities is a positive experience for most retirees.

Today there are communities aimed at attracting single boomer women (Golden Girls Housing) and folks that want to live in a college towns. There are also communities downtown in our cities typically high-rise condos, my grandmother lived in one in Sarasota Florida and was happy in that community.

Other options include living on cruise ships, and the RV lifestyle. Regardless of which community you decide to live in older age, even if it is your current residence and current community, I encourage folks to research and visit different communities. This is especially important if you are certain you know exactly what you are going to do. The market is a quickly changing and growing in various directions all over the country. Friends can also be great sources of leads on different types of communities.

I believe you owe to yourself to perform exhaustive research on this important topic. This approach ensures wherever you choose to live you won’t be faced with wonder if’s, shoulda’s, coulda’s, and potential regrets. The best time for research is in your 50’s and early sixties. There is real peace of mind knowing you will be living in the right place at the right time. Excluding what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want and can afford.

Typically at some point in a retirees life one is required to make this important decision. Family and friends will have good intentions but ultimately one’s freedom and happiness is in one’s own hands. Having a thorough understanding of exactly what one’s options are and what community one wishes to live in before one’s asked; is priceless.

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No Wonder I’m So Happy in Retirement!

According to a recent study reported by Susan Turk Charles , PhD, of the University of California, Irvine, at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, emotional happiness improves with age.

Laura Carstenson:  Happiness improves with age

Video: Laura Carstenson: Happiness improves with age

“We know that older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter,” said Charles. “They want to make the best of it, so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy. They have also had more time to learn and understand the intentions of others which help them to avoid these stressful situations.”

Research shows that older adults exert greater emotional control than younger adults, meaning that older adults are more likely to actively avoid or limit negative, stressful situations than do younger adults. “Life expectancy changed because people changed the way they lived,” said Laura Carstensen, PhD, psychology professor at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity . “Now that we’re here, we have to keep adapting. We are in the middle of a second revolution and it’s up to us to make adulthood itself longer and healthier.

How to Achieve Happiness all Throughout Retirement
New Information From Multiple Studies May Shock You!

AS Seen in “AARP THE MAGAZINE” November 2011 Issue
“The American Psychological Association, recently published an analysis of multiple studies. Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand analyzed questionnaires from 420,000 people in 63 countries. “Having the freedom to change careers or pursue our passions makes us happier than does a hefty bank account.” “So while wealth can provide you with more choices; it is really having the ability to realize your dreams that leads to greater happiness,” says study coauthor Ronald Fischer, Ph.D.”

As a young boy I was privileged to live in various colonies of retired Americans all throughout Mexico. I learned early on the importance of performing creative work in retirement for compensation or not. In my view discovering one’s passion (s) and making it one’s life’s work all throughout retirement is personally meaningful; sometimes profound. This notion has now been validated in these recent studies.
Lifestyle Is Main Influence on a Sharp Mind
A study, conducted by research teams in the UK and Australia, combined DNA analysis with data from around 2,000 participants who were asked to take intelligence tests at age 11, and again aged 65 to 79. The study, funded by the charity Age UK, is published in the journal, Nature.”

Study Conclusion
“The way
in which a person’s mind ages, is largely down to lifestyle factors, not genetics. Researchers found genetic factors only account for 24% of changes in intelligence, suggesting environmental factors have the biggest influence on whether a person’s mind remains sharp in old age.”

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Veterans and Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes for Veterans

Click here for a list of VA Nursing Homes

Nursing home coverage for veterans is available from two sources within the Department of Veterans Affairs — the veterans health care system and the state veterans homes system.

Nursing Home Coverage through the VA Health Care System

Nursing home coverage along with other long-term care services such as home care and assisted living as well as geriatric care management are available through the Veterans Health Administration for qualifying veterans.

In order to get into the veterans health care program, the veteran must have service-connected disabilities, or be below a qualifying income level or be receiving Veterans Pension income. Once in the system, veterans are not guaranteed long-term care services, including nursing home care, unless they meet specific requirements. Here is a list of these requirements for nursing home coverage.

Who is Eligible for Nursing Home Care

  • Any veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran who is rated 60 percent service-connected and is unemployable or has an official rating of “permanent and total disabled;”
  • A veteran with combined disability ratings of 70 percent or more;
  • A veteran whose service-connected disability is clinically determined to require nursing home care;
  • Nonservice-connected veterans and those officially referred to as “zero percent, noncompensable, service-connected” veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria; or
  • If space and resources are available, other veterans on a case-by-case basis with priority given to service-connected veterans and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.

VA’s nursing home health system programs include VA-operated nursing home care units and contract community nursing homes. Many VA hospitals operate nursing home care units located in or near the hospital. Other hospitals, without adequate nursing home beds, contract with approximately 2,500 community private nursing homes nationwide to provide services.

State Veterans Homes

State veterans homes fill an important need for veterans with low income and veterans who desire to spend their last years with “comrades” from former active-duty. The predominant service offered is nursing home care. VA nursing homes must be licensed for their particular state and conform with skilled or intermediate nursing services offered in private sector nursing homes in that state. State homes may also offer assisted living or domiciliary care which is a form of supported independent living.

Every state has at least one veterans home and some states like Oklahoma have a number of them. There is great demand for the services of these homes, but lack of federal and state funding has created a backlog of well over 130 homes that are waiting to be built.

Unlike private sector nursing homes where the family can walk in the front door and possibly that same day make arrangements for a bed for their loved one, state veterans homes have an application process that could take a number of weeks or months. Many state homes have waiting lists especially for their Alzheimer’s long-term care units.

No facilities are entirely free to any veteran with an income. The veteran must pay his or her share of the cost. In some states the veterans contribution rates are set at a certain level and if there’s not enough income the family may have to make up the difference. Federal legislation, effective 2007, also allows the federal government to substantially subsidize the cost of veterans with service-connected disabilities in state veterans homes.

State Veterans Homes Per Diem Program

The Veterans Administration pays the state veterans homes an annually adjusted rate per day for each veteran in the home. This is called the per diem. The 2008 nursing per diem amount is $74.42 and for domiciliary care it is $34.40. Adult Day Health Care – up to one-half of the cost of care — cannot exceed $66.82 per day. The goal of state veterans homes is to get Congress to increase the per diem rate for nursing care to 75% of the state private nursing rates. In most states the per diem falls well short of this goal.

The per diem program and construction subsidies mean that State veterans homes can charge less money for their services than private facilities. Some states have a set rate, as an example $1,400 a month, and they may also be relying on qualified veterans receiving the Pension benefit with aid and attendance plus the per diem to cover their actual costs. Other states may charge a percentage of the veteran’s income but be relying on other subsidies to cover the rest of the cost. Some state homes can receive Medicaid support as well.

Most of the states with income-determined rates are selective about the veterans they accept. These states may rely on a variety of private and public sources to help fund the cost of care.

Eligibility and Application Requirements for State Veterans Homes

From state to state, facilities vary in their rules for eligible veterans. And even in the same state it is common, where there is more than one state home, for some homes to have very stringent eligibility rules and others to be more lenient. These differing rules are probably based on the demand for care and the available beds in that particular geographic area.

Some homes require the veteran to be totally disabled and unable to earn an income. Some evaluate on the basis of medical need or age. Some evaluate entirely on income — meaning applicants above a certain level will not be accepted. Some accept only former active-duty veterans, while others accept all who were in the military whether active duty or reserve. Still others accept only veterans who served during a period of war. Some homes accept the spouses or surviving spouses of veterans and some will accept the parents of veterans but restrict that to the parents of veterans who died while in service (Goldstar parents).

Federal regulations allow that 25% of the bed occupants at any one time may be veteran-related family members, i.e., spouses, surviving spouses, and/or gold star parents who are not entitled to payment of VA aid. When a State Home accepts grant assistance for a construction project, 75% of the bed occupants at the facility must be veterans.

Domicile residency requirements vary from state to state. The most stringent seems to be a three-year prior residency in the state whereas other homes may only require 90 days of residency.

All states require an application process to get into a home. Typically a committee or board will approve or disapprove each application. Many states have waiting lists for available beds.

A current contact list of all state veterans homes is available at

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Retirement– Trading One’s Time, Saving a Dime

One of the eye openers of retirement is that one’s life is not really different just because one retires. One wakes up the morning after one’s retirement party to discover the only real change is that one is not required to punch the clock at work. Consequently after a lifetime of working at the job one has some real-time on one’s hands. What one does with it more often than not determines one’s happiness.

Initially one benefits from taking an honest look at what condition one’s condition is in and doing things to improve it. This belies another reality of retirement. All too often one needs to do something to do something else. When younger one simply does what one wishes to do. Climb a tree, just do it!

In retirement one discovers the importance of doing certain things necessary for one to do the other things one wishes to do. This two-step process is an eye opener. Yes, one has more time and more things to do just to do the things we are used to doing. One’s metabolism slows down 3-5% in one’s 50’s, and in one’s 60’s and 70’s. When one reaches the age of 75 it is evident that one has slowed down a bit, clearly a bit less energy but everything is still manageable given the proper focus and effort.

Yet another eye opener is that saving properly for retirement does not diminish the importance of trading one’s time. Retirees rejoice in one’s new found time, time to do things they love to do.

If one is a retired passionate golfer and has budgeted this expense properly then it’s time to hit the links regularly. If one is a retired passionate golfer and is looking for ways to reduce expenses over-all long-term, then trading one’s time for green fees is a great opportunity.

Whether trading guitar lessons for Spanish lessons, youth officiating duties for passes to the community recreational center, ski resort duties for ski passes, travel duties for complimentary travel, theater and music venue duties for free tickets, it’s all good.

As a young boy I learned how to shoot billiards (no pockets) and Fronton (Jai Alai) Jai alai – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia while living in Mexico as a kid in exchange for teaching individuals how to speak English. Free access resulted in my becoming really good at these games in a short period of time. This also enabled me to spend my allowance on things I couldn’t trade my time for.

A retiree like a kid has plenty of time. The money one has in the bank is frozen energy accumulated over a lifetime. Before one thaws out all of ones frozen energy to play today the notion of trading ones real-time for play today is worthy of consideration. One may discover that the money one has in the bank can be better spent in other ways. Retirees also get the chance to apply their wisdom, meet new people and stay connected to their passions without stressing the budget.

Some retirees have taken this concept to heart and applied it to their over-all budget by trading their time for their housing/traveling expenses. House swapping is becoming increasingly more popular.  However a retiree applies the concept to their lives it is a valuable tool providing greater opportunity and financial flexibility.

The Retired Couple  – Trading Time for Housing/Travel Expenses

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” plays softly in the background. Their new lifestyle has unexpectedly enhanced their spirituality. Rick and Liz are getting paid while taking permanent vacations in America’s most beautiful destinations. They love working and living in America’s finest scenery while enjoying their RV that features all the comforts of home. They’ve learned how to keep their living costs in check. They love the travel and adventure, being closer to nature, learning new things, helping and meeting new people.

Rick and Liz have volunteered and worked as paid interpreters, guides, campground hosts, and nature studies instructors all over the U.S. They typically give presentations for guided tours but like to do anything that keeps them learning new things. They’ve seen America’s beauty firsthand and made many friendships along the way, relationships they would never have had otherwise.

Their lifestyle also helps to keep their living costs in check. Often times the jobs they seek pay little more than minimum wage but they receive free campsites with all utility hookups for their work. Some employers provide gas bonuses to lure people to them. Rick and Liz enjoy their freedom and the means to see anyplace they want in the U.S. They’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that many employers seek seasoned employees who possess excellent work ethics. Rick loves to read, collect rocks and is an avid chess player. Liz is an avid birdwatcher, and loves to knit and do macramé.

Examples of where the Boomer Age jobs are around the U.S.:

Lodges, ski resorts, youth camps, RV parks

Campgrounds, resorts, national and state parks

Marinas, amusement and theme parks

Guest ranches, casinos, and racetracks

Examples of positions available to retired Boomers around the U.S.

Tour guides, musicians, chuck-wagon cooks

Caretakers, managers, activity directors,

Camp hosts, golf course attendants, instructors

Maintenance workers, show actors

Some camp workers choose not to camp. Instead they opt to live in housing provided by their employers, such as private cabins or employee dormitories. Sometimes they rent unique affordable properties on a short-term basis.

Others just pay for their own campsite and work independently in seasonal tourist locations. Some couples trailer their sailboat to different U.S lakes in the spring, and spend the summer working and saving. Then they head to the Caribbean for the winter, living on their boat while renting inexpensive apartments on islands from time to time.

Whether one trades one’s time for what one loves doing rarely; often or all of the time, it is a powerful tool for getting what one wants without breaking the piggy bank.

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