Savvy Senior Services
Anne Goldberg Motivational Speaker for Seniors

Does this sound familiar?  You get out of your car with your keys in your hand, pick up the mail, open the front door and then put everything down because the phone starts to ring, or some other distraction takes your attention.  Then, sometime later, when you are ready to leave the house again, you have no idea where you put your keys.

Whether it’s your wallet, purse, glasses, book or name your own, how much time do you spend looking for things you misplaced?  Oh the frustration. oh the fear… So many seniors worry they are losing cognitive awareness because they are always misplacing, or worse, losing things.  In most cases though, it is safe to say that you are not losing your mind.  What you have lost though is being in the present moment.  In the very moment when the phone starts to ring, if you can stay present to what is in your hands, you will most likely feel the keys and purposefully place them, rather than mindlessly drop them.  It might take a moment longer.  You might have to call the person back, or ask them to hold on while you stop and put things away. But you will know where your keys are!

Mindfulness is at play in all aspects of our health, and particularly when it comes to eating.  For example, let’s look at the simple act of eating a strawberry.  I can be aware that I am eating a strawberry and enjoy the flavor. But… when I take time to examine it first, I notice its bright pink color, the little black seeds and the contrast of the deep green stem; I savor the fragrance with its promise of sweetness and my mouth begins to water. I take my time as I bite into it and pay attention to the juice squirting into my mouth and down my chin, delicious and satisfying.  Chewing the fruit slowly and deliberately allows the flavor to fill my mouth and as I swallow I can feel it pass through my throat and down into my stomach.

You will find life a bit easier and food to be richer and more flavorful when you take time to savor the experience; when you are mindful of what is going on. And, mindful eating has the added benefit of chewing more slowly and thoroughly, which helps your stomach with digestion. And, you will likely eat less and be just as satisfied… so you could lose a few pounds as a bonus.

Be a Savvy Senior   Practice mindfulness and let me know what you discover.

Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, is a Motivational Speaker and Longevity Coach. She has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer ; with decluttering & organizing; Kitchen Coaching to reduce Inflammation and “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations.www.SavvySeniorServices.com
• (954) 536-8008

 

by Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior

Most of us fear change.  It seems to be a very normal reaction to life.  The irony is that change, like death and taxes, is inevitable.  In fact, no matter what’s going on, we can count on the fact that something will change.  People in our lives, jobs, our physical abilities, the seasons – come in and out of our experience as regularly as we take each breath.  We resist change, but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviors – no matter how bad they are.  In the long run, rather than resist change, we might be well advised to embrace it.

If I had not changed my diet last year, I would be suffering with debilitating arthritis pain, in addition to life-stopping fatigue.  Was it easy? Heck no! I did not want to give up my favorite foods. I certainly did not want to start cooking more. But when I finally gave in to the change, the reward was far greater than the pain… literally, I no longer have pain in my hand and back. So when looking at change, it’s important to assess the pain/reward ratio.  It’s also important to take your time with the changes you can control, even the lifestyle changes that will help you live longer, happier and healthier.  Rather than big chunks of change, think of little bits of change.  One step at a time wins the race.

When applying this to a major life change such as downsizing and moving to a new home, it’s important to delve into the pain and the reward and to take your time with it.   The idea of going through EVERYTHING and choosing what to keep and what to toss (give away, donate or sell) can be daunting. But, and here’s where you have choice, you can see this differently.  Choosing to think about it as a fun way to pass time is the first step.  Under the right circumstances, it’s a trip down memory lane that will leave you with renewed memories and a sense of your life and loves. 

Parting with things – a harbinger of change – can be empowering.  I like to think that it’s time for someone else to enjoy this (fill in your own… jacket, set of dishes, furniture.)  By itemizing everything you donate, you can be eligible for a significant tax deduction and the satisfaction of knowing that your things will be put to good use in the future by people who want and appreciate them.  Like the artist, you need a clean canvas in order to create something new. Downsizing and removing the clutter accumulated over a lifetime creates space for new adventures and experiences. 

Are you ready to live the rest of your life up to your eyeballs in the past, or are you ready to embrace a new future – one with the promise of new experiences, friends, learning and meaning? Be a Savvy Senior and embrace change, because change can bring a whole new adventure to this third act of life.

Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer; with decluttering & organizing; and with “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations. For more information, contact me.

Irrespective of the changing laws surrounding medical marijuana, there is still a preponderance of people who don’t now, and never will, use these drugs.  The idea of using drugs is simply out of the question.  The irony is that these same people are likely to fall into the median group of Americans who consume about 175 pounds of sugar per year.  And now, research is beginning to show an alarming connection between the effects of added sweeteners and sugars on our brains and bodies.  And the stunning conclusion is that sugar is as addictive as cocaine!

In 2007 Australian researchers gave rats a choice between water sweetened with saccharine/glucose, or cocaine.  The rats showed a distinct preference for the sweetened water!  In prior tests, they chose cocaine over plain water.  The findings were further confirmed in a 2013 study from Connecticut College in which rats were given the choice of Oreos, morphine or cocaine. The study was designed to measure expression of a protein called c-Fos, a known marker of neuronal activation in the part of the brain that controls the feeling of pleasure. The result was alarming: Oreos beat out both drugs by a significant margin! Now I understand why peanut M&Ms are so annoyingly irresistible to me!

Like illegal drugs, large amounts of sugar can be very bad for you. In addition to obesity and diabetes, sugar can deeply affect your metabolism, impair brain function and make you more susceptible to heart disease and cancer. It can even form premature wrinkles.

In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published a Harvard study showing that above-normal blood sugar is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia – with or without diabetes. Research has also proved that there are many similarities in the brains of people with diabetes and the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. The good news here is that diabetes only remains a risk factor and not a sentence. A risk factor because we Savvy Seniors understand that lifestyle choices are responsible for 80-95% of all disease.

We know from the Blue Zones research that there is statistically less dementia, heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and cancer in those areas than in the United States. It always gets back to lifestyle.  Sugar is not the enemy.  Added sugar is the enemy.   Our bodies require sugar to function normally.

Rather than be discouraged, take this information as power. Now you know just how important it is to say no to excess sugar and even artificial sweeteners.  Enjoy sweet treats such as dried fruit, or fresh fruit in season.  Flavor your water with fresh fruit.  Move your body – walk, garden, do yoga. And most importantly, connect with others… get involved… for the true sweetness in life lies not in pie and cookies, but in our personal relationships and the connections we make with each other.

 

Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer ; with decluttering & organizing; and with “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations.www.SavvySeniorServices.com  • (954) 536-8008

It’s hard to avoid the news these days. With the turmoil of the world, the arbitrariness of suffering is scary. In point of fact, we are more likely to get the Zika virus than experience a terrorist attack! Yet it tugs at the fragility of life; that, at any moment, the life we know can crack open and fall apart.

And that is the best reason I can think of to take hold of life and ride it full out with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows. The people who live the longest in the world, those in the Blue Zones, live longer in part because they don’t fret over what they can’t control.  They tend to either let these things go or seek support within their moai –family, tribe or community.

They maintain meaningful connections with others. They have purpose and they know that they matter. These qualities, along with a fresh, natural diet and plenty of exercise are the essential elements that allow them to persevere and flourish up to ten years longer than we do here in the U.S.

How do they do it? Well,  they don’t worry on and on about what might have been or what might happen tomorrow… or ten years from now. Those who live the longest are in the present moment. It’s the only thing that is real. Yesterday is gone, it’s a memory and tomorrow is a dream. Right here, right now is the moment to choose to make these years productive, meaningful and above all, filled with a sense of purpose, whatever that might be for you.

There is no time like the present to connect to the truth that every breath you take is an opportunity to be more, do more and contribute more. What are your dreams? What did you always put off “until tomorrow”? What can you do that would make you feel alive and challenged? Who can you help? Why not do it now?

Develop an awareness about what you are thinking and doing because what you think and what you do in any moment is completely under your control. You get to choose!

Be a Savvy Senior. take pen to paper (or finger to iPad) and start making a list of those dreams.

 

Life is diverse. Each millisecond is filled with sound, texture, color, movement and emotions – trauma, love, joy and sorrow – and all of these things come at us, sometimes with breakneck speed. To navigate (and stay sane), it serves us to become something of an artist, taking all the various elements and intentionally arranging them on the canvas of our daily life into something that is harmonious and pleasing.

When you can begin to look at life as art… as a way to express your important ideas and feelings, you can begin to understand that you are the artist of your life. You get to choose how you look at and think about what happens, or has happened, in your life. Mistakes can be forgiven with a splash of color- painted over never to be seen or thought of again… for all intent and purpose… gone.

The artist creates with imagination and skill. Einstein knew the value of imagination when he wrote, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” You can begin to see how imagination is critical when deciding how you want to live the rest of your life. And, as the artist of your life, you get to choose the thoughts that populate the canvas of your mind. The science of Quantum Physics is clear that everything begins with our thoughts.  “As you sow, so shall you reap” is not advice from Jesus for farmers! Voltaire wrote, “Each person must cultivate his own garden.” The colloquial expression, “What goes around, comes around” and the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are examples of the power of intention and imagination as part of our human lexicon that has been expressed through the millennia. 

The art of living longer is about creatively and intentionally choosing what you want on the canvas of your life. And, when you make choices that support your physical, emotional and mental health, your canvas is a picture of health, vitality and longevity.

Be a Savvy Senior.  Follow the Savvy Senior Credo: “I’m old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. I don’t know my expiration date and so I commit to live into my future consciously, making choices – mind, body and spirit – that will help me achieve a healthier, happier, extended lifespan.”

 

 

 

“A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

A Maryland School of Medicine study in 2005 showed that laughter is linked to the healthy function of blood vessels. It seems that laughter causes the tissue that forms the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels, to expand in order to increase blood flow.  Stress (caused by any factor) has the opposite effect, constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow.

When you laugh, blood flow increases and blood pressure rises.  When you stop laughing, blood pressure drops back to its baseline. This relaxing effect helps bring down blood pressure. This generates deeper breathing, which in turn sends more oxygenated blood through the body. The natural conclusion is that laughing more is a great way to achieve cardiac health.

There’s ample evidence that cardiac patients with a negative outlook about their recovery are more than twice as likely as optimists to die sooner. So, one of the strategies for achieving a happy, healthy longer life is to look for reasons to laugh.

In addition to all the great cardio benefits, the Mayo Clinic lists many ways that laughter helps us to be healthier. Laughter strengthens the immune system, stimulates the lungs and muscles, can naturally reduce pain through the production of endorphins by the brain, can increase memory and learning and can help lessen anxiety, fear and depression. Laughter enhances resilience. All of this and you get a good abdominal work-out when you laugh long and hard!

There are some great social benefits as well. Humor plays a huge part by fostering emotional connection. When we laugh with someone, we bond with them and this bond acts as a buffer during times of stress, disagreements and disappointments. Laughing with others is more powerful than laughing alone.

So turn the corners of your mouth upwards and feel the smile begin to grow on your face. Now allow yourself to laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Think about something amusing or a funny joke you heard. Then pay attention to how you feel. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or maybe even a little bouncy? That’s the natural wonder of laughing working its magic on your health.

An elderly gentleman was telling his friend about a new restaurant he and his wife recently visited. “The food and service were great!” he said. His friend asked, “What’s the name of the place?” “Gee, I don’t remember,” he said, “What do you call the long stemmed flower people give on special occasions?” “You mean a rose?” asked his friend. “That’s it!” he exclaimed and turning to his wife, asked, “Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to the other day?”

Be a Savvy Senior. Look for reasons to laugh every day.

Have you heard about the latest research in longevity? Maybe you know about epigenetics? Or about the Blue Zones?

Epigenetics is the science of our DNA that has proven lifestyle choices are more impactful on our health than our genetics. Yep, it’s true. All the latest studies point to the increasingly proven fact that between 80 & 95% of all disease (different research, somewhat different results) are caused by the choices we make vis a vis food, exercise, forgiveness, creativity and how much we laugh! Take a minute and digest that. 80-95% of ALL DISEASE is avoidable. The power is yours.

Then there are the Blue Zones and the work of Dan Buettner.  Dan was commissioned in 2002 by National Geographic to travel the world and find those areas in which people had the longest lifespans and why.  Dan assembled teams of demographers, epidemiologists, sociologists, and other scientists and away they went.

Some 14 years later, he has identified five spots where people live the longest and healthiest with a compelling body of evidence that supports epigenetics…  that achieving a lifespan that is ten years longer (on average) with a much greater chance of reaching 100+ is fully achievable and in your control.

While this information is thrilling, it is also a bit daunting. You mean to tell me that I am responsible for my health? Even though my family members succumbed to (cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.), that I don’t have to? Are you saying that what I eat, with whom I hang out, the way I move (or don’t) move my body actually makes a difference in my health & well-being?

Yes, that is exactly what this research is saying. In the next few months we’re going to be exploring the latest research and strategies you can employ that will empower and, I hope, inspire you to take control of your health – mind, body and spirit.

We’ll cover the Blue Zones and what it means to lead a Blue Zone life. We’ll also explore the science of Neurplasticity that details how memories are made (hint… repetition, repetition, repetition!) We’ll learn more about Epigenetics, the science that explains how genes for disease actually get “activated” (or not) by our lifestyle choices. We’ll also delve into the 8 Dimensions of Wellness and show how all of the above research dovetails with each other, creating a road map to health and wellness.

Be a Savvy Senior. Recognize that you have the power to create a healthy, happy and meaningful extended lifespan

mindfulness

It’s beautiful here in Florida this time of year. It beckons us to go outside and spend time enjoying the balmy weather.  I always feel better after a walk through the trees and suburban forests of my neighborhood. It just feels good to be out in nature. Why is that? Somehow my mind is easier to quiet. It’s as if it gets decluttered!

Our minds can get as cluttered as our lives and downsizing some of those incessant thoughts is a good idea. We all get caught up in our heads, distracted by worry or fear and that results in our not being present in the right here, right now world. Another way of saying that is that we are not clear-headed.

Mental clutter pulls us off center and disrupts our balance in a way that can get so mish-mashed that we end up lost in our own world… and it can feel like la-la land. The thing is, la-la land can feel like cognitive decline when, in point of fact, your mind is simply too cluttered to be aware of what is right in front of you. How often do you have a conversation with someone and have no idea what they said? How often do you want to leave and can’t find your keys/wallet/purse/glasses? And you begin to think you’re losing your mind when the truth is that you simply are not paying attention to your own actions. The keys are under the mail or with the jacket or in the refrigerator. That’s not cognitive decline. That is not being present; not being mindful of your actions.

Decluttering your mind allows an acute awareness of the here and now. It allows you to reconnect with the present moment. And it is in the present moment that all human connection occurs. It is in the present moment that we can hear, see, smell and taste. There is no yesterday. It is only a memory. There is no tomorrow. Once tomorrow comes, it’s today! Tomorrow is merely a dream or an expectation.

So how do you declutter your mind?  It is an act that requires you to be intentional on where you place your attention and impacts how you spend your time and energy.

Too often we do things out of habit. It’s mindless. And the point here is to be mindful. What do they say, “Stop and smell the roses”? When is the last time you admired a flower or a spectacular Florida sunset? When is the last time you took a walk in nature – at a park, the beach? When is the last time you sat in a chair and just looked and listened to the sounds around you?

Be a Savvy Senior. Be mindful of what’s around you. Being present means you consciously choose your thoughts. Taking a walk in nature. Concentrating on the colors, textures, smells and sounds around you is more than just relaxing… it’s restorative. Breathe. Look. Listen. Repeat.

Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer; with decluttering & organizing; and with “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations. www.SavvySeniorServices.com • (954) 536-8008

Not too long ago, I was on my way to a client. It was just after Noon and I was at a red light when I heard the crash. That sickening, crunching sound filled the air and I whipped my head around to see a silver minivan being pushed so hard by the oncoming blue SUV that it began to roll over… and over… and over… and over. I sat frozen as I imagined the terror the driver must be feeling and wondered if his seatbelt was holding him safely in place. And when the van finally stopped rolling over, it spun around on its hood a few times. And as I watched in horror, I saw a sea of people who were close to the scene pouring from their vehicles and I could see them retrieve the driver of the van. They got him out through the window somehow. This all happened within maybe ten seconds.

My body began to shake. I was shocked at how life can radically change in the blink of an eye. Those drivers left their homes that morning with all the casual abandon that routine brings. They were you and me, they were our brothers and sisters, our children; and in an instant… KAPOW! Life will never be the same again.

It took about 30 minutes for the shaking to stop. I was aware of every sound, every movement on the road around me. I could not shake the notion of how arbitrary it seemed. And in that moment it was so clear to me that this was a reminder to live life full out.

Why hold back? At any moment, the life we know can crack open and fall apart. It’s the best reason I know to take hold of life and ride it full out with all of its ups and downs, joys and sorrows. Do you see life as a downward spiral into old age or an upward arc into eldering? What are your dreams? What did you always put off “until tomorrow”? Why not do it now?  Right here, right now, this very moment is the only thing you have control over. You get to choose what you want to do. What about tomorrow? It’s filled with possibilities, while yesterday is a memory.

There’s no time like the present to connect to the truth that every breath we take is our opportunity to be more, do more and contribute more. Be a Savvy Senior. Take advantage of the time you have here and now. Know your passion. Know your purpose. And if you don’t know your purpose, stay tuned. There will be more posts on that in the coming weeks.

Wishing you reasons to smile,
Anne Goldberg,
The Savvy Senior

Does the thought of moving send shivers down your spine? You’re not alone. Moving is a major life event, causing anxiety for most people, especially when you consider that you will have to deal with the accumulation of a lifetime…  This experience is so universal that George Carlin did whole routines based on our stuff. “… Your house is just a place for your stuff. And… “Haven’t you noticed that everybody else’s stuff is (junk) and your (junk) is stuff?”

Carlin begs the question, do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you? Living large does not always mean living better. There are distinct advantages to downsizing. Streamlining your life saves you time, stress, money, energy and resources. A larger house beckons us to fill it with an endless array of stuff that needs to be cleaned and maintained. It requires a staff for the pool, home and lawn maintenance plus higher expenses for water, electric, taxes and insurance. And how about the upkeep? How much time do you spend taking care of things around the house? Downsizing means less time and money being spent taking care of the homestead, so there is more opportunity for travel and other recreational activities that make life sweet and meaningful.

Getting rid of our stuff though isn’t easy. There is an emotional cost. We have attachments to our stuff. It is part of what defines us. Some of it has a story to tell. If you are reading this and nodding your head, then I suggest you allow yourself the pleasure of looking around the room. What things do you see that make you smile and feel good inside?  What things are there that you don’t like? That’s where you start.

Then you make piles: One for trash; one for things to let your kids go through; another is to donate. Another pile is for those things that are sentimental. If it’s something you want to remember, take picture of it. For example, if you have a collection of tea pots, choose your favorite two or three to keep and photograph the rest for a slideshow on your computer, or make a poster to hang in your new home. Then add them to the pile to sell at a garage sale, consignment store or auction.

What’s important to remember is that stuff is just that. It doesn’t take the place of a good friend or family. It doesn’t give your life meaning and purpose. It can root you in the past, stopping you from living into a new future. Be a Savvy Senior. Downsizing has its upside! Look to the future as an exciting new adventure – at any age!