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2020 Seniors Festival in New South Wales

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We have all heard about the alarming bushfires in Australia but readers in New South Wales will be interested to know that Wingecarribee Shire Council has announced that its 2020 Seniors Festival – www.nsw.gov.au/seniors – will be held from 12-23 February.

For those that do not know, Wingecarribee Shire is located in the scenic Southern Highlands about 120 kms/70 miles south-west of Sydney.  The area, which is extremely popular with retirees, has a total population around the 50,000 mark and includes such centres as Balmoral, Berrima, Bowral, Braemar, Exeter, Moss Vale and Sutton Forest.

Take a look at the programme for the 2020 Seniors Festival or even take a trip to the area.  You will not be disappointed.  

“Come to Australia, you might accidentally get killed”

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Every time I have a close encounter of the deadly kind with one of our wildlife, I have to think of the classic song by the Scared Weird Little Guys Come to Australia, you might accidentally get killed. A funny and ever so slightly exaggerated take on what is a daily truth for anyone living in Australia.

 

 

But now more than ever, we want you to come to Australia. In the light of the recent and still ongoing catastrophic bushfires, we need you to come to Australia. We are massively dependent on tourism at this time of year with the Chinese market being one of main sources. Unfortunately, there has been a major increase in travel plan cancellations from the Chinese market – partly due to the perceived low air quality – and it is affecting our economy. In the first week of January, our overall tourism bookings declined by an average 40% over all markets (in particular US, Asian and German markets). According to Bloomberg:

“Australia is currently not perceived as a safe destination with clean air, which is very important for Chinese visitors who are often seeking a break from their own crowded and polluted cities.”

But there are other beautiful places like Tasmania, the Northern Territory, the red centre, Margaret River wine region and many, many other areas that are not affected by bushfires or smoke pollution.

Even though most international tourists will probably not heed our economic dire straits and schedule their next visit to Australia any time soon, the domestic traveller is more likely to do so. Australians have always stuck together when the going gets tough and many people have already booked their holidays in fire-affected towns on the NSW south coast in order to stimulate the local economy. The hashtag #emptyeskies on Twitter and Instagram are finding voice amongst the Australian population, encouraging people to come with empty eskies (coolbox) and fill them up with food bought locally.

So, don’t worry about the funnelweb or redback spiders, tiger snakes, crocodiles or box jellyfish – Please people, come to Australia, you might accidentally have a great time!

Your story – Danny

First name: Danny
Age: 60-79
Gender: Male
Children: Yes. A son and a daughter.

Highest school level: College/University degree

Social background: Married, will turn 70 in two weeks. Own two homes. One in SC and one in Cashiers. We spend 50% or more of our time in the Cashiers area. We attend church. I play golf but have no golfing buddies. We like to socialize. Both of us are retired. Our second home is in the Glenville area.

Career: We are college graduates. I worked for 25 years with Amoco/BP. Did various jobs after retiring. My wife worked mainly in construction supply side of home building.

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired

Forced into retirement: No

Retirement preparation: We had a planned retirement via pensions and savings. We both had various ideas and plans for our post retirement years but not all of them panned out. In reality, we are more of the volunteer type.

Describe typical day: Doing homework, yard work, running errands, and minor traveling.

Look forward to retirement: Yes

Expectations: Play golf, travel, volunteer, and visit places that we never have been. Of course stay healthy.

Hobbies: Yes

Continue to work: We both tried back when no-one was hiring fifteen years ago. The jobs available were working weekends and holidays mostly in the food and beverage field. If at the time our skills were needed, we both would still be employed. Didn’t happen.

Retraining: No

What would you change about second career: I did a start-up business prior to retirement to give me a goal upon retirement. The reality of the economic swings from 9-11 and the 2007 recession proved that big fish eat little fish and liabilities outweighed the assets.

Encounter ageism: When we retired you had a target on your back at 50 years older and you knew it. The workplace is not like that today. Companies held manager training courses on how to eliminate aging employees back in the late nineties. I attended them.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: No

Advice for others: Make sure that you have a solid plan. The most important thing is the first years. You need enough cash on hand to maintain your lifestyle before the dividends/interest start to accumulate. Or a forty hour enjoyable job.

Happiness is a great night’s sleep

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When it comes to living a healthful life, it is important to consider the fundamentals before investigating the secondary aspects of good health.

Sleep is one of these fundamentals.

Optimal sleep is crucial to good health as it helps to support the immune system, positively affects mood and helps to regulate hormone synthesis. These hormones help to modulate blood sugar (insulin), influence appetite and satiety (ghrelin and leptin), promote the stress response (cortisol) and induce sleep (melatonin).

Disrupted or deficient sleep can lead to elevated blood sugar, adrenal dysfunction, a depressed immune system, elevated blood pressure and mood disorders. Despite these consequences, we tend to forfeit sleep in favour of work, family and social commitments and compromise sleep quality by subjecting ourselves to all manner of stimuli.

There are some simple lifestyle changes that can reap significant rewards in terms of both sleep quantity and quality. When regular sleep patterns are established, other health goals should become easier to reach.

  1. Avoid ingested stimulants: If you drink coffee, tea, or energy drinks, these are best consumed in the morning. Caffeine has a half-life of 5-6 hours, so consuming these beverages after midday can have a detrimental effect on sleep quality. Sugar is also a stimulant so is best avoided in the evening.
  2. Avoid exposure to blue light before bed: Smart phones, computers and TVs emit blue light which mimics the effect of daylight on the retina. It is ultimately the exposure of the retina to light and darkness that governs the body’s circadian rhythm, the sleep/wake cycle of physiological processes such as temperature regulation and hormone secretion. If light is detected by the retina, a signal is transmitted to the brain that energy and alertness is required for the day’s activities, so cortisol is released. On detection of darkness, as night falls, the brain sends signals for melatonin, the sleep hormone, to be released.
  3. Keep the bedroom dark and cool: In addition to the effect of darkness on melatonin production, as part of the circadian rhythm, the body’s core temperature drops slightly during sleep. It is helpful to create an appropriately cool sleep environment by donning light sleepwear, opening a window or installing a ceiling fan. Air conditioning is sometimes necessary, but not recommended as they can be very drying to the skin.
  4. Maintain regular sleep time each day: The circadian rhythm loves consistency so ideally follow a regular bed time and regular wake time each day. Once you know how much sleep is best for you, ensure you retire each evening early enough to allow for a natural rising the next morning, without an alarm.
  5. Exercise: The human body is designed to move, and sometimes sleep evades us because we haven’t exhausted the day’s supply of energy.It is not ideal to exercise shortly before bed, however, as exercise itself can be stimulating.

Your story – Michael

First Name: Michael
Gender: Male
Age: 60-79
Children: Two sons

Highest school level: College/University degree

Social background: Born in London just before the “blitz”. As a result moved around a lot in early years.
Graduated from College of Estate Management in London with equivalent of land economics degree.

Early adult life rowed very seriously for five years until moving to Canada with employer, soon after marrying in 1965. Later moved with same employer to Australia in 1972. Moved back to UK for several years before returning to Australia in 1981.

Career: Majority of working life involved with property investment, management and development at a senior level mainly on commercial, industrial and retail real estate. Final position was managing director of the small local subsidiary of a large private UK real estate group (for 16 years).

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired

Forced into retirement: Yes

Retirement preparation: Took up a semi professional wood working course.. Also investigated possibility of taking on a new career.

Describe typical day: Retirement: Varies from day to day. Mixture of keeping up to date with mainly Australian and UK news and events; domestic chores and maintenance; managing own pension fund; keeping in touch with small group of friends. Furniture making and finer woodworking. At least one overseas trip a year mainly to see family and old friends in the UK and Europe. Regular interaction with grandchildren

Look forward to retirement: I was ambivalent about stopping full time work as I felt I had more to offer. On the other hand I was happy not to continue with a routine which i found was very repetitive.

Expectations: That I would undertake a mixture of part time consulting work and pursue other interests.

Hobbies: Mainly wood working.

Continue to work: Part time work..see above

Encounter ageism: Was expected to retire at 60; see above. The company rationale was that this would allow younger executives to move up in the organisation. With hindsight it is a fairly negative policy given the collective experience of people who had been in the organisation for many years. Today I suspect it would be regarded as a form of ageism.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: Yes

Advice for others: Firstly consider at what age you wish to retire. With longer life expectancy there is an argument to work well into one’s late 60s or early 70s, as much as anything to maintain full cerebral activity. Also plan ahead for retirement and ensure you maintain mental and physical activity.. Maybe consider a fresh calling or further education. Also ensure that one’s partner is comfortable with retirement and agree on how it will work for both of you.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/

Your story – Elizabeth

First Name: Elizabeth
Gender: Female
Age: 80 or older
Children: No

Highest school level: Some High School but no diploma

Social background: I retired to Spain some 30+ years ago and have lived there ever since.

Career: I have undertaken some low-key property management tasks for friends wishing to lease out their holiday homes.

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired

Forced into retirement: No

Retirement preparation: I did not really prepare for my retirement but I was attracted by the lifestyle available in Spain and I have not been disappointed.

Describe typical day: Slow mornings, coffee with friends and attending to personal chores. I always seem to be very busy and I’m never able to reach ‘zero inbox’.

Look forward to retirement: Yes

Expectations: To enjoy a warmer climate. To stay healthy and not be obliged to return to my country of birth due to declining health.

Hobbies: No

Continue to work: No

Retraining: No

What would you change about second career: Nothing at all.

Encounter ageism: I did not really encounter any problems but I feel I have become more ‘invisible’ to some younger people as I have grown older.

Did you relocate: Yes

Live near family: Yes

Advice for others: Do it as soon as you reasonably can but keep busy during your retirement.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/

Your story – Peter

First Name: Peter
Gender: Male
Age: 80 or older
Children: No

Highest school level: None of the above

Social background: Completed Year 12 at Holy Cross College. Attended Macquarie University studying Accounting.
Worked in Accounts for Telstra for 40 years.

Career: Worked my entire career with Telstra in Accounts. Did many different tasks including debt collection, enquiries, disputes and negotiation.

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired

Forced into retirement: Yes

Retirement preparation: Retirement came one year earlier than expected as the result of redundancy. I was well prepared for retirement, as I have been researching and writing 19th century history articles and books – part time – for many years.

Describe typical day: Arise at 8ish am. Watch the news to see what’s happening in the world. Visit my 93-year old mother to make sure she is doing well. Have lunch with her and attend to any immediate needs. Spend most afternoons writing or researching via the internet.

Look forward to retirement: Yes

Expectations: Write and publish as much as I can over the next 10 – 20 years. (Or however long I have left.)

Hobbies: Yes, see above.

Continue to work: No

Retraining: N/A

What would you change about second career: Nothing. I love what I am doing now – researching and writing and publishing history articles and books full time.

Encounter ageism: Was often seen to be a nuisance to management as I has seen it all and seen many “changes” fail previously. Telstra was more interested in employing young staff or off-shoring jobs as they received no “push-back” from those staff on previously failed initiatives.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: Yes

Advice for others: Plan well financially and make sure you have hobbies, or goals to achieve to give your retirement some structure and purpose.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/

Your story – partially retired male

Gender: Male
Children: Yes, son and daughter

Highest school level: High School diploma

Social background: Male, 64 years of age. Married, two adult children. Grandfather. Experienced B2B marketing manager. IT and financial background.

Career: Started in the financial services industry. Moved to the IT-sector after a couple of years and became a technical IT-professional. After a few years I rolled into management. At first as a project and departemental manager, later in my career as an MD of several IT-companies. My last job for retirement was marketing director of an IT product and services company.

Retirement plans: Already partially retired

Forced into retirement: Yes

Retirement preparation: Didn’t plan for retirement. No specific plans.

Describe typical day: Approx. two days a week I’m working as a freelance marketing consultant. I’m learning how to develop apps. Just to keep my brains working and be active.

Look forward to retirement: Yes

Expectations: Free time, No stress

Hobbies: No not really.

Continue to work: Yes, but for a period of 12 months from now.

Retraining: No retraining required

What would you change about second career: Nothing. I’m not pursuing a second career.

Encounter ageism: Very well. No problems.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: Yes

Advice for others: Stay active. Don’t sit down and do nothing.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/

Your story – Jill

First Name: Jill
Age: 60-79
Gender: Female
Children: Yes, 3

Highest school level: College/University degree

Social background: I love to live in the moment, my family and then friends are the most important thing in my life. I assist in running Adventure camps for teenage kids. I sing in a choir and play ukulele. I am very happily married.

Career: I was a kindergarten teacher for twenty-five years and then a primary school relief teacher until retirement.

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired.

Forced into retirement: No

Retirement preparation: No, I did not have a plan but had not worked full time.

Describe typical day: Play ukulele, singing practice, exercise, volunteer work.

Look forward to retirement: Yes

Expectations: Time to travel and please myself.

Hobbies: Yes, singing.

Continue to work: No

Retraining: No

What would you change about second career: N/A

Encounter ageism: No problem, I was very well respected in my work.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: No

Advice for others: Be prepared with interests to fill your day, you need to want to stop work. I just make decisions for myself, most other people thought I was retiring too early, 55, but it was the best thing I ever did.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/

Your story – 60-79 year old retrained male

Age: 60-79
Gender: Male
Children: Yes

Highest school level: College/University degree

Social background: After secondary school I served two years as an officer in the army. Upon graduation in physics I joined a major oil company (see below) until my (early) retirement when I was fifty. This gave me an excellent opportunity to fulfill an old desire and I studied astronomy, which I completed with a doctorate. Now, at 76, I still enjoy working in astronomy and spend time on my other hobbies. I am still married and have the occasional pleasure to assist the children of my two sons while they prepare for their school exams.

Career: Started in research in a team which developed automated warehousing and automated lube-oil blending and then helped with disseminating these concepts to the group’s operating companies and assisted with the design and realisation thereof in various countries. To get more ‘field’ experience I became distribution manager for lubricants (packed and bulk) of a major operating company. Then followed a period in another major operating company, where I was first responsible for health, safety and environment and then became the manager for its domestic natural gas interests, where I worked closely together with the national gas distribution company, the government and another oil company. Finally I joined the company’s central office as a member of the major projects division and worked among other activities on the realisation of a (joint venture) oil refinery in China. During my period as an astronomy student, I became the “spiritual father” of a new, all digital, receiver for radio pulsar signals and as project scientist I served on the team which designed, built and installed the machine at a national radio astronomy obervatory.

Retirement plans: Already wholly retired.

Forced into retirement: No

Retirement preparation: I did not prepare for my retirement. During the China project there was an excellent opportunity to leave the company with a very attractive early retirement scheme.

Describe typical day: I enjoy working on my astronomy, electronics and computing hobbies.
At present I am working on new methods for detecting very weak signals from radio pulsars, designing and building (and sometimes repairing) radios and amplifiers and programming computers for fun.

Look forward to retirement: No

Expectations: See above

Hobbies: Yes, computing and electronics, as well as sailing, hiking, camping and hunting, and spending quality time with my family and dogs.

Continue to work: Only in the astronomy part of it.

Retraining: It was my idea to study astronomy upon my retirement. As a PhD-student I did not have to pay for my tuition. It took me more than four years to get my PhD.

What would you change about second career: Nothing.

Encounter ageism: Judging from my career path and increasing seniority, I guess that I did alright in that oil company.

Did you relocate: No

Live near family: Yes and No

Advice for others: Assuming that you have enough attractive hobbies or other (planned) challenging activities and the means to support yourself: DO IT!

I couldn’t have done any of my work and studies without the invaluable help of my wife, family, friends and co-workers.

Share your story with us: https://www.thesilverlife.com/to-retire-or-not-to-retire/