Retirement Life

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Senior sisters open their own café in retirement

<p>Stepping into Sue Wright and Nicky Brindle’s Greytown café is like walking into the stylish living room of a long lost friend. The two sisters, who have a combined hospitality experience of over 120 years, are warm and inviting, much like the light and airy contemporary surroundings of their café “2 Short Whites”… the name a humorous play on their stature and a nod to their hair colour.</p> <p>The café located in the The Hub’ a new retail development in the centre of Greytown, a pretty colonial village only one hour’s drive from Wellington, is the latest chapter in the varied and interesting working lives of these two dynamic sisters.</p> <p>“We tried retiring but to be honest got bored,” laughs Nicky. “We realised at this age no one else was going to employ us, so we decided to employ ourselves.”</p> <p>Nicky and Sue have boundless energy and have been behind several well-known businesses in New Zealand’s Wairarapa region over the years.</p> <p>Nicky is Le Cordon Bleu trained andused to own Masterton based wedding venue and catering company Toad’s Landing while Sue along with husband Andrew established the Mela fruit juice brand, which is now run by her daughter Sarah and son in law Brian Belluomini. The couple were also involved in the award-winning Lighthouse Gin and Sue owned the popular, funky giftware store Mondo for almost 10 years.</p> <p>“Nicky and I did our own thing for years then decided to come together and set up this café and restaurant. We’re both serious about food and great hospitality so it was a bit of a no-brainer,” says Sue.</p> <p>"We came along, two old ladies, and gave The Hub developer Steve Pilbrow our concept for a café … and he loved it. We want people to feel welcome here and enjoy our menu which offers seasonal, rustic and wholesome food.”</p> <p>The smell of freshly baked bread, which is fermented for 24 hours, greets visitors and depending what time of day free-range bacon can be smelt cooking. There is a terrific range of baking and sweet treats to tempt all ages while the sister’s range of preserves are neatly displayed on colourful shelves.</p> <p>Since opening their doors, Nicky and Sue have run cooking classes, such as bread-making; had themed dinner evenings and even played Fairy Godmother running a series of successful Singles Dinners (for ages 35 years to 50 years and for the 50-plus years) for those looking for love and friendship.</p> <p>“We were directors of the night serving up an incredible two-course meal and helping make introductions between people. We wanted them to come here, feel relaxed and enjoy great company, great wine and great food,” says Sue. “We all know that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”</p> <p>Unfortunately, <em>2 Flat Whites </em>is no longer in business. The cafe has since changed hands and is now known as <em>Brasserie 74.</em></p> <p>Have you started your own business in retirement? Share your experience with us in the comments below.</p> <p><em>For more information about 2 Short Whites or the Wairarapa visit, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.wairarapanz.com" target="_blank">www.wairarapanz.com</a></strong></span>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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The holidays you need to try in retirement

<p>Gone are the days of waiting for your annual vacation and dragging yourself back to work when it’s all said and done – you’re a retiree now!</p> <p>If you’re reading this, you probably love to travel and are looking for the dreamiest places to escape to now you’ve escaped employment.</p> <p>Whether you’re seeking solitude and rest, or excitement and crowds, luxury or trips on a budget – we’ve found the best places for you to enjoy. </p> <p>Swipe through the gallery above and tell us if you would like to visit any of these breathtaking destinations. Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><strong>Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina </strong></p> <p>This 490-mile drive pulls together Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North California being billed as “America’s Favourite Drive”.</p> <p>The ribbon of road allows you to explore the most vibrant life and history of Virginia and North California, weaving together in one gorgeous landscape to feast your eyes on while you travel.</p> <p>For more information head to Blue Ridge Parkway’s website.</p> <p><strong>Rocky Mountaineer, Canada</strong></p> <p>If you’re a lover of wild beauty, rolling pines and sights you’ve quite never experienced before, then a Rocky Mountaineer vacation might just be what you’re needing.</p> <p><strong>Sicily, Italy</strong></p> <p>With miles of gorgeous coasts and beaches, stunning architecture, delicious and fresh handmade food are just a few of <em>many </em>reasons to visit the city of Sicily. It’s the island right at Italy’s toe with exciting ancestral towns just waiting to be explored.</p> <p><strong>River cruise, South-east Asia</strong></p> <p>In this part of the world, the stunning rivers and views are just too hard not to pass up. If you ever find yourself longing for ancient temples, colonial architecture and mind-blowing limestone rock formations, then a cruise in the Southeast Asia area will suit you perfectly.</p> <p>The major river cruise companies offer excursions and side trips of various lengths and itineraries.</p> <p>Take a look through the gallery above to see some of the beautiful destinations on offer for you in your free time. </p> <p>Would you like to travel to any of these destinations? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

Retirement Life

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Changing the way we think about retirement

<p>Retirement now is seen as a reward for being productive and working hard your whole life – a bright light at the end of the tunnel. However, ageing and eventually ‘handing the torch’ over has not always been perceived this way by people.</p> <p>When retirement was first introduced, it was considered a way of forcing people to get out of the workforce and permanently stay unemployed. It was the way industries forced out people who were no longer ‘useful’ or ‘productive’ to their employers.</p> <p>The connotation now is much more of a celebration, something adults can look forward to. However, as life trudge’s on for retirees, the harsh truth is retirement can in itself become a punishment.</p> <p>Eric Brotman, author of <em>Retire Wealthy </em>and <em>Debt-free for Life, </em>believes true fulfillment in retirement comes from understanding it’s a ‘graduation’ rather than a retirement from life.</p> <p>He says understanding that retirement is not an ‘end’ to working but a ‘graduation’ from having to work.</p> <p>“Working because you have to make ends meet and working because it fulfils you are two very different concepts,” he wrote in <span><em><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericbrotman/2019/01/28/changing-the-way-we-view-and-practice-retirement/#65b9ce3c49ca">Forbes.</a></em></span></p> <p>The author explains retirement is an opportunity to ask yourself what you want to be “when you grow up”.</p> <p>“Retiring does not mean it’s too late to decide or change your mind; it means you now have the financial independence and time to find and pursue the true answer,” he explained.</p> <p>For those looking for a successful and healthy retirement, Mr Brotman encourages people to reconsider how they want to live out the next phase of their life.</p> <p>“Maintain your talents and skills, continue pursuing your passions and never stop figuring out what you want to be after you graduate.</p> <p>“Because if you don’t continue to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, eventually you’ll stop getting out of bed in the morning,” the author wrote.</p> <p>What do you hope to achieve during your retirement? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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Are you ready for retirement?

<p>Choosing an age to retire can be a tricky decision when there are so many factors to take into consideration. When deciding what time is best for you to officially dust off the suitcases and clean out your ‘work drawer,’ it is important to keep in mind what is also best for your well-being.</p> <p><strong>Your bank account </strong></p> <p>When you retire, most likely your life savings and/or superannuation become your main source of income. A sign it’s time to retire is when you’re sure your bank account is up to the task of providing your daily necessities and weekly wants.</p> <p><strong>Your goals</strong></p> <p>What are your goals in retirement? Is it to retire early? Do you want to live large? Are you hoping for a dreamy seascape for the rest of your golden years, or are you hoping to manifest a relaxing lifestyle in the comfort of the home you have always lived in? Some people choose to move in with their children at an age that is suitable for everybody.</p> <p>Understanding your goals and how you want to achieve them is paramount in getting just that one step closer you might need to achieve retirement status.</p> <p><strong>Your health</strong></p> <p>More older Australians are intending to work for longer, according to research done by the ABS. Out of those who do choose to retire, most of them claimed it was based off financial security, personal health or physical abilities.</p> <p>If your lifestyle is beginning to lean towards retirement and days of relaxation it is important to consider whether you might be ready to retire.</p> <p>Experts say people who retire tend to be happier and enjoy their time more, according to the Age and the Ageing journal.      </p> <p>“People have a different experience when working after retirement,” California State University professor of psychologist Kenneth Shultz explained.</p> <p>“You don’t have to deal with the pressure of a career job, and people tend to not be emotionally invested in it.”</p> <p>Are you considering retirement? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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How much do you need to live comfortably in retirement?

<p class="p1">When thinking of the golden years, it’s nice to picture ourselves relaxing on a sun lounge on a yearly holiday or living near the grandkids and being able to treat them once in a while. That’s retiring comfortably. But how much do you need to do that? Here are the things you should to consider.</p> <p class="p3"><strong>How much do you need to live comfortably in retirement?</strong><br />It’s a common question but one that can be quite difficult to answer. How much you will need in retirement depends on many things including the lifestyle you choose, any unexpected costs that crop up, and how long you live.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Living longer</strong><br />Due to medical advances, Australia’s population is ageing. And, living longer means there’s more time to be spent in retirement.</p> <p class="p1">With more time in retirement, you’ll need to have a plan in place not only to make sure you can do the things you want, but to ensure that your money lasts as long as you do.</p> <p class="p2"><strong>Did you know... </strong><br />A woman aged 65 years could expect to live another 21.8 years while a man aged 65 years could expect to live another 18.9 years. </p> <p class="p1"><strong>What lifestyle will you choose?</strong><br />Many people don’t put a retirement plan in place because they think they can rely on the age pension. However, the age pension is unlikely to provide the lifestyle that you’d choose for yourself. For example, the age pension payment is equivalent to $421.40 per week for a single person and $635.30 per week for a couple. </p> <p class="p3"><strong>What does your retirement dream look like?</strong><br />Do you want to be able to afford and maintain a reasonable car, a wardrobe of nice clothes and the latest electronic equipment? Or what about being able to participate in a range of leisure and recreational activities or treating yourself to domestic, or occasional overseas holidays?</p> <p class="p3"><strong>How much is enough?</strong><br />The answer depends on what you want to do in your retirement. As a guide, a couple needs around $58,444 a year (assuming they own their own home) for a ‘comfortable’ retirement that allows a broad range of leisure and recreational activities, electronic and home appliance upgrades, occasional dining out and travel. In comparison, the maximum age pension amount for a couple is only $33,717 – or just over half. <br />Which amount of income would you prefer to receive?</p> <p><strong>Super strategies to help</strong><br />Because of the concessional tax treatment that superannuation receives, it is one of the most tax-effective ways you can save for your retirement. If you are over age 50 your concessional contributions cap will be $35,000 and for anyone under 50 it will be $30,000. It’s important to maximise your limits each year in the lead up to retirement.</p> <p>There are many super strategies you can use to boost your super. A salary sacrifice strategy, for example, will not only boost your super, but reduce the amount of tax you pay. If you are making money after tax contributions while the annual limit is higher, following the ‘bring forward’ rule can contribute up to three times the annual limit.</p> <p><em>This article was republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/how-much-do-you-need-to-live-comfortably-in-retirement.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p> <p> </p>

Retirement Life

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What the Queen really thinks of Prince Philip's driving

<p>Despite his car accident last week where Prince Philip crashed into a vehicle carrying two women and a nine-month-old baby, the royal continues to drive.</p> <p>Just a few days after the accident, the Prince was seen allegedly driving without wearing a seat belt in his replacement Land Rover.</p> <p>Thoughts are sure to race when it comes to wondering what his wife, the Queen thinks about his driving.</p> <p>Well, according to the author of <em>My Husband and I</em>, by Ingrid Seward – a biography detailing the 70-year marriage between the two royals – the Prince has always taken pleasure in driving fast.</p> <p>“He bought a brand new sports car in August 1947, three months before they got married,” Seward told <a href="https://people.com/royals/what-queen-elizabeth-really-thinks-about-prince-philips-driving/"><em>People</em></a>.</p> <p>“He always drove really fast, and she hated it, and he would say, ‘If you don’t like it, you can get out.’”</p> <p>A rare letter by Queen Elizabeth to author Betty Shaw that was sold at auction in 2016 details her husband’s love of driving fast. This letter was auctioned alongside other royal memorabilia.</p> <p>"Philip enjoys driving and does it fast," she said. "He has his own tiny M.G. which he is very proud of ... he has taken me about in it, once up to London, which was great fun, only it was like sitting on the road, and the wheels are almost as high as one's head."</p> <p>The car crash in Sandringham on January 17 involved Prince Philip driving his Land Rover into a Kia driven by a 28-year-old woman alongside Emma Fairweather and a nine-month-old child in the backseat.</p> <p>The woman suffered cuts to her knee while Fairweather broke her wrist. The baby was uninjured the local police confirmed in Norfolk last Friday.</p> <p>“I’m sure she’d be telling him now to stop,” Seward said. “He will listen — but whether he will take any action, I don’t know.” </p> <p>Do you think Prince Philip should stop driving? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

Retirement Life

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5 top tips if you’re 5 years from retirement

<p>That final five years before you take the leap into retirement is a vital time to take a serious look at your lifestyle and to make some realistic projections about what retirement life will be like. To help you take full advantage of the opportunity here are a few easy tips to help you hit the ground running.</p> <p><strong>1. Face the fact that retirement will happen<br /></strong>In the hustle and bustle of working life it can be hard to give serious thought to what retirement will actually be like. It tends to remain as a nebulous concept that will always be in the future. Going blindly toward retirement like this can result in a real shock once you actually get there.</p> <p>The first step in the years leading up to retirement, therefore, is to really come to grips with what retirement means. How will your daily life change? What adjustments will you need to make personally, socially and financially? Our working lives can end up forming so much of our identity that it may be difficult to break out of that mould, but it is a challenge we need to face. Sooner or later we will need to stop working – and for some of us it may even come sooner than you think, given the prevalence of redundancies in some industries.If you want to live the remainder of your life without regrets, then take the time out to visualise your retirement life right now and identify the changes that will need to be made.</p> <p><strong>2. Put your budget under the microscope</strong><br />One of the planning priorities in the run up to retirement is projecting and adjusting your personal budget. Of course some expenses, such as school fees and mortgage repayments may be tailing off as you get closer to retirement, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a hard look at your other living expenses to find ways you can trim things down. Remember you may be retired for around a third of your total lifetime and life expectancy is on the increase, so controlling the expense side of your retirement is vital to ensuring you don’t ‘outlive your money’.</p> <p>Consider some of the luxuries of life that you could cut back on, such as eating out, downsizing your monthly phone plan to something and shopping smarter for things like clothes, groceries and appliances. Become familiar with online second hand and classified ad sites - they can save you hundreds. Get used to working within a budget for everyday living costs and start doing it well before you retire, so you can test how realistic your expectations are. This can also help you plan the income side of your retirement and whether you need to make adjustments to retirement savings or perhaps considering extending your retirement age by moving to part time work.</p> <p><strong>3. Get smart about your retirement saving strategy</strong><br />With five years to go until retirement, there is really no time to lose in projecting how much you need in retirement income and the savings you will need to achieve it. You can then attack any shortfalls by boosting your super or other investment plans. One of your greatest allies in this respect is the tax system. Significant concessions may be available if you want to make large contributions and if you are employed salary sacrificing may enable you to accelerate your super accumulation with help from the taxman.<br />Special opportunities may also open up in the years leading up to retirement through what is known as a ‘transition to retirement’ strategy. This involves gaining limited access to some income from your super before you retire, while at the same time re-directing more of your earned income into your super. It may sound a bit of a juggle, but the net tax benefits can be surprisingly attractive.</p> <p>This is where a financial planner can be of invaluable assistance. There are so many issues and opportunities to consider that it really can help if you have the trusted counsel of an adviser who ‘knows the ropes’ and can direct you to take full advantage of the system.</p> <p><strong>4. Good health is one of your greatest assets</strong><br />Approaching retirement can be a time when we start to realise our own mortality. Perhaps a friend or two has passed on suddenly or are struggling with diabetes or cancer – it can make us realise how fragile life can sometimes be.</p> <p>Fortunately it is never too late to take positive steps toward improving health. If you are a bit overweight, take some action on diet and exercise – it doesn’t need to be drastic, just ease into a healthier routine. Walk instead of driving the car. Enjoy good food, but cut down portion sizes. Take regular check-ups with your GP. Start playing tennis, swimming or some other gentle sport. Getting into such habits now will set you up both physically and socially for making the transition to retirement.</p> <p>The benefits not only relate to longevity and enjoyment of life, they can also have a significant financial impact, since health care costs can be a major expense in retirement. Staying healthier is good for the waste line and the bottom line.</p> <p><strong>5. Rationalise your assets and debts</strong><br />The years running up to retirement are a good time to take a close look at your asset and debt situation. For example, the family home may be a little emptier than it once was and it may be time to consider downsizing in advance of retirement. This may enable you to clear a mortgage, pay off other debts and free up equity to invest for capital growth and future income generation.</p> <p>It is also a good time to look at your other personal debts like credit cards and personal loans. They may be cluttering up your financial position and there may be opportunities to pay some off so that you can simplify your situation and gain clarity about your real budgetary position. Leaving such things until after retirement can add undue stress when you already have enough to cope with, so make the decision to rationalise well before you retire.</p> <p><strong>Help is at hand</strong><br />There are so many issues to consider that sometimes it can be helpful to gain an objective insight into making the retirement transition. A financial planner is well placed to not only assist with the investment side of things, but can also help with all of the issues discussed here to help you gain a holistic picture of you retirement lifestyle.</p> <p><em>What do you feel is the biggest adjustment you will need to make in the run up to retirement? Share your thoughts below.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Bridges. Republished with permission of<a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/5-top-tips-if-you%E2%80%99re-5-years-from-retirement.aspx"> Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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How to manage back pain from sitting

<p>We all know that heavy lifting or a sudden jolt can trigger back issues, but did you know even sedentary behaviour such as watching TV or sitting at the computer can result in chronic back strain?<span> </span><br /><br />In fact, the number one cause of back pain according to the Australian Rheumatology Association is related to prolonged sitting or standing.<span> </span><br /><br />We chat to physiotherapist Sharon Richens about how sitting causes back pain, and the specific exercises and stretches that may prevent it altogether.<span> </span><br /><br /><strong>What factors cause lower back strain?</strong><br />Prolonged sitting affects the back because it places increased pressure along the lumbar region, specifically the discs, says Richens.<span> </span><br /><br />These intervertebral discs are the cushions in our lower back that separate the vertebrae, or bones, of the spine. Normally, the discs protect our spine by absorbing shock and allowing for everyday movement. However, we lose this cushioning if the discs become damaged from certain activities, or lack thereof.<span> </span><br /><br />This is particularly a concern when you factor in the ageing process, explains Richens. “One of the natural occurrences as people age is that you decrease the fluid that’s in the disc – and combined with accumulative sitting, that’s not a good thing.”</p> <p><strong>Should we simply stand more?</strong><br />Richens says the key is to move more. “People that stand all day, they have achy bodies as well. What our body and our posture really needs is the change from sitting to standing,” she says.</p> <p>“When people are working on decreasing their sitting time, it’s about having short intervals of standing and walking.”</p> <p>She says while standing desks are great, the underlying principle of using these desks is to encourage movement. But what if you don’t have access to a standing desk at work or your home office?<span> </span><br /><br />“Simple strategies like standing up while talking on the phone, moving the rubbish bin away from your desk so you have to get up when you need to throw something out, or it might be that you move your home laptop to your kitchen bench so that you are standing for 15 minutes instead of sitting.” </p> <p>Sitting affects our core muscles, too. “One of the problems that happens when we’re sitting, especially if we’re sitting poorly or in a slumped position, our core muscles are disengaged or turned off,” says Richens.<span> </span><br /><br />These core muscles are the muscles in the back and the deep abdominal muscles that protect your back and keep your whole body stable and balanced.</p> <p>That’s why many physiotherapists recommend core-strengthening exercises to ease or prevent lower back strain. Regular stretching and increasing flexibility are also important.</p> <p>“Prolonged sitting causes the muscles in the front of our hips to get very tight, so sometimes people need to learn how to stretch their buttock muscles and the muscles in the front of their hips. And then learn to use their core and abdominal muscles as well.”</p> <p><strong>So, what are the best exercises for this region?</strong><span> </span><br />Richens says you should avoid traditional sit-ups or crunches, which can aggravate the back, and instead opt for a series of simple and subtle exercises that build strength and encourage safe movement.</p> <p>The plank exercise is great for the core, however Richens says many people hold this exercise incorrectly and end up working the exterior abdominal muscles as opposed to the deep core area. She recommends seeing a physiotherapist to learn the correct technique.<span> </span><br /><br />She also suggests a simple squat, or half squat, exercise that engages your core, your back muscles, your quadriceps and glutes.<span> </span><br /><br />When performing a half squat, keep your chest and torso upright, gently push your bottom back and knees out into a half squat position. Place your hands on a back of a sturdy chair or bench for support.<span> </span><br /><br />You can do this from a three-quarter squat position, with your knees slightly less bent.<span> </span><br /><br />A standing hip flexor stretch, either performed with your front foot up on a small box or stool, or with your back leg bent up behind you, is another useful exercise to counter the strain caused by prolonged sitting or standing.  <br /><br /><strong>When to seek advice</strong><br />Richens says if you have persistent pain or are unable to relieve symptoms from walking or changing posture, this is a sign to seek further advice from a GP or physiotherapist.<span> </span><br /><br /><em><strong>Do you suffer from back pain? Let us know in the comments section below.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Read more:</strong></p> <ul> <li><span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/health/could-osteopathy-be-a-secret-weapon-to-help-curb-back-pain.aspx">Could osteopathy be a secret weapon to help curb back pain?</a><br /></span></li> <li><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/health/treating-back-pain-without-medication.aspx"><span>Treating back pain without medication</span></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/health/everything-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-d-from-how-much-sunshine-and-supplements-you-need.aspx"><span>Are you getting enough vitamin D?</span></a></li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Mahsa Fratantoni. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/exercise/how-to-manage-back-pain-from-sitting.aspx"><span>Wyza.com.au</span>. </a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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End-of-life care: How to make the tough times easier

<p>Expressing your end-of-life wishes involves legal, pragmatic and emotional choices, but it is a topic that shouldn’t be avoided. While<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://dyingtotalk.org.au/discussion-starter/" target="_blank"><span>82 per cent of Australians</span></a><span> </span>think it is important to speak to their family about how they would want to be cared for later in life, only 28 per cent have done so. So what’s holding us back?</p> <p>A recent article in<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/everything-dies-and-its-best-we-learn-to-live-with-that-59384" target="_blank"><span>The Conversation</span></a></em> discussed why many people try to avoid talking about death – one of the key reasons being that we fear it.</p> <p>Clinical psychologist James Kirby writes that this anxiety can be categorised into four areas: ‘loss of self or someone else; loss of control; fear of the unknown – what will happen after death (nothingness, heaven, hell); and pain and suffering of dying’.</p> <p>We hope for longevity, but dying at an older age comes with the realisation that our minds and bodies will be more vulnerable to sickness and possibly a serious disease or condition. With this in mind, Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt says that palliative care for older Australians is becoming more important than ever.</p> <p>“When we require palliative care this should become the centre of comfort and passion towards people, their families and the wider community,” says Minister Wyatt.</p> <p>Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients with chronic and generally incurable illnesses and, with the growth and ageing of Australia's population, the number of people requiring palliative care has increased. In 2014–15, there were about<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.aihw.gov.au/palliative-care/admitted-patient/" target="_blank"><span>65,000 palliative care-related hospitalisations</span></a><span> </span>reported from public and private hospitals in Australia (a 19 per cent increase from 2010–11), and just over half of these were people aged 75 and over.</p> <p>For those approaching the end of their life – or their adult children – there are decisions to be made about planning support for life and death in different care settings.</p> <p>Here are some helpful resources on where to start.</p> <p><strong><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.palliaged.com.au/" target="_blank"><span class="bigger-text">palliAGED.com.au</span><br /></a></span></strong>This newly launched online resource offers support and up-to-date information for people and their families, health professionals and aged care staff on palliative care. Head over to the ‘For the Community’ tab to find practical material including information on the models of care, guides on symptoms and treatment decisions as well as planning tools to allow you to better discuss the options available.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/resources" target="_blank" class="bigger-text"><span><strong>Advance Care Planning Australia</strong></span></a> <br />ACPA have an extensive library of resources, such as forms and information kits for support in the decision-making process in advanced care planning. The organisation also has a national advisory service hotline where you can speak with a Specialist Advance Care Planning staff.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://end-of-life.qut.edu.au/" target="_blank" class="bigger-text"><span><strong>End of Life Law in Australia</strong></span></a><span class="bigger-text"> </span><br />A bit confused about the legalities relating to death, dying and decision-making at the end of life? This website gives a simple overview on the laws that address questions such as 'Can a dying patient or their family refuse or demand medical treatment needed to keep the patient alive?' or 'What happens if family members disagree with a person’s decision to donate their organs when they die?'. It is a useful resource to learn about your legal rights and responsibilities.</p> <p class="bigger-text"><strong>Other helpful links include</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a rel="noopener" href="http://palliativecare.org.au/directory-of-services/" target="_blank"><span>National Palliative Care Service Directory</span></a><span> </span>– where you can access information about the palliative care services in your area</li> <li><a rel="noopener" href="http://dyingtotalk.org.au/download/2579" target="_blank"><span>Discussion starter kit</span></a> </li> <li><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.carergateway.gov.au/" target="_blank"><span>Carer Gateway</span></a> – support services and information for carers</li> <li><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/96305/cancer-information/general-information-cancer-information/advanced-cancer-general-information-cancer-information/end-of-life-advanced-cancer-general-information-cancer-information/providing-emotional-support-for-someone-dying-with-cancer/" target="_blank"><span>How to provide emotional support for someone dying with cancer</span></a></li> </ul> <p>Begin the conversation with your loved ones and care providers, reflect on what’s important to you (or your parents) and document these wishes in an advanced care plan – ensuring that a will and enduring power of attorney are in order.</p> <p><em><strong>Have you approached your loved ones about end-of-life care? Share your experiences below.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Read more:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/wellbeing/6-dementia-apps-to-try.aspx" target="_blank"><span>6 dementia apps to try</span></a></li> <li><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/nutrition/onions-the-hidden-health-food.aspx" target="_blank"><span>Onions: the hidden health food</span></a></li> <li><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/6-sleep-myths-you-can-put-to-bed.aspx" target="_blank"><span>6 sleep myths you can put to bed</span></a></li> </ul> <p><span><em>Written by Maria Angela Parajo. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/end-of-life-care-how-to-make-the-tough-times-easier.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a> </em></span></p>

Retirement Life

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Why making time for yourself is important

<p>When did you last make time to breathe? We mean really fill your lungs up, let it all out and find time to just be still and present in the moment. Sadly, in this modern age, even the most intrinsic parts of us are taking a back seat.</p> <p>We can become so overwhelmed and focussed on our finances, our material possessions and even our ‘screen lives’ that we forget about our own health and wellbeing. We feel guilty, selfish even, for sparing ourselves a moment here and there to savour experiences and indulge in mindfulness.</p> <p>Too often, embracing moments of stillness, ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’ – staying an extra few minutes in bed in the morning or continuing onto the next chapter of an enticing novel – is perceived as laziness.</p> <p>This myth needs to be dispelled, and making time for yourself should no longer be seen as a guilty pleasure, but rather an essential part of your daily existence. Enjoying the bliss of simply being should be made a priority in your life.</p> <p><strong>Who needs to make more time for themselves?</strong></p> <p>While we should all be locking in daily moments of quiet and stillness, there are a few key candidates who need to make the move towards mindfulness an absolute imperative for their improved health and wellbeing. It’s not just high-flying corporate workers that are feeling frazzled, part-time workers transitioning into retirement are worried about their financial futures.</p> <p>With rising day care costs, many older Australians are caring for their grandchildren and the needs of their own children, but aren’t implementing self-care. Ultimately, you know you need to make more time for yourself if you…</p> <ul> <li>Check your emails or switch on the television before you say good morning to your partner</li> <li>Are living in clutter – your home, car and spaces you exist in for extended periods of time are far from organised or tidy</li> <li>Find yourself stressed and depleted before you’ve even started your day</li> <li>Are constantly multitasking rather than dedicating your full attention to a single task</li> <li>Find it hard to sleep, and rarely get 7-9 hours a night</li> <li>Are constantly on autopilot – sometimes you don’t even remember driving from one place to another</li> <li>Can’t list at least a few creative and physical outlets you enjoy</li> </ul> <p><strong>How to make more time for yourselves </strong></p> <p>Taking small steps to introducing mindfulness into your day can be the best way to maintaining your inner peace and a renewed sense of calm. Here are some simple ways to get into mindful mode:</p> <ul> <li>Wake up earlier – give yourself a bit of time before your day begins to stop and breathe deeply, take a walk or enjoy your morning coffee</li> <li>Be kind to yourself and others – practising kindfulness has incredible psychological benefits and is great for our physical health, plus you’ll find it attracts other like-minded and happy people</li> <li>Get active – not just physically; secure some quiet time and space to do mindful activities such as <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/puzzles.html#/games/crossword">crossword puzzles</a></li> <li>Embrace imperfection – what makes us unique is what makes us special so rather than waste time obsessing on insecurities, fill your time with self-love</li> <li>Put your fears in their place – worrying won’t help a situation, so give the issue at hand a few short moments of mental energy before setting it aside and continuing your day</li> <li>Listen deeply – really listen to what someone is saying and give them your attention and consideration</li> <li>Be open to the good – these include small experiences that make you feel good – such as a smile from a friend or the feeling of stretching your body after long periods of sitting</li> </ul> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/why-making-time-for-yourself-is-important.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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How puzzles enchant your mind

<p>In today’s digital age, we log on more than log off. We are constantly sliding from one screen to another with our minds often switching to autopilot. Our brains are no longer being challenged because information is served straight to us, often so quickly we hardly have time to even process it. So it's probably a good time to take a step back and engage in some mindful activities that will not only stimulate your brain but help boost memory retention.</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">The benefits of solving puzzles</strong><br />Puzzling is hardly a newfound pastime. In fact, crossword puzzles originated in England in the 19th century. There’s a reason it continues to be a beloved hobby for people of all ages.</p> <p>Puzzling is incredibly fun – almost downright addictive for the daily indulgers. It’s also a great practice to share with others, forming a creative and competitive bond between friends.</p> <p>Most importantly, puzzling has been proven to boost your health. In fact, a large-scale and robust online trial, as reported by Science Daily, has found that the more regularly people do word puzzles such as crosswords<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.wyza.com.au/puzzles.html#/games/crossword" target="_blank"></a>, the better their brain function in later life.</p> <p><strong class="bigger-text">The puzzle instinct</strong><br />The simple world of black and white puzzles – from crosswords and wheel words, to sudoku and brainteasers – were once confined to the pages of magazines and newspapers but now devotees are able to head online to interactive websites like youplay.com to fulfil their puzzling cravings.</p> <p>However, the classic art of puzzling by hand is making a comeback as people start to prefer holding physical paper in their hands instead of playing on a computer screen. This all comes down to personal preference.</p> <p>Puzzles can enchant your mind in a few ways, which include:</p> <p><strong>1. Using both side of your brain.</strong> When you puzzle, you use both the left and right side of your brain. Although the concepts seem simple, there is an underlying mental component to puzzles.</p> <p><strong>2. Challenge your brain to a workout. </strong>There are a variety of puzzles available that boost verbal skills, improve memory and brain function, encourage creative and strategic thinking, develop problem-solving skills as well as distracting and keeping your mind busy. The best thing about puzzles is that they offer a sense of achievement upon completion.</p> <p><strong>3. Boost your self evaluation skills. </strong>It can be initially hard to see why puzzles would increase your self evaluation skills. However, trying to figure out what pieces fit where and why that one doesn't go there is a good exercise in checking and re-evaluating your choices. This can be carried into your every day decision making processes.</p> <p>With the classic art of puzzling getting such a fresh makeover and mindful activities being embraced as essential, more people are turning to puzzling to stimulate, educate and reward themselves in their daily practices. Regardless of whether they are seasoned crossword connoisseurs or simply keen to dip their toes into the puzzling realm, smart never goes out of style.</p> <p><em><strong>What puzzles do you enjoy doing?</strong></em></p> <p><em>Written by Editor. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/ways-to-enchant-your-mind.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Retirement Life

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Why are humans such avid collectors?

<p>From the time we were cave dwellers exploring our surroundings, there has always been something intrinsic about human nature that makes us love to collect things.</p> <p>Centuries later, as we ventured forth to discover news lands, as did Captain Cook to these parts, collecting became the norm — as a matter of record — but also to reflect individual passions and a sense of place.</p> <p><strong>Status and nostalgia</strong></p> <p>In some circles, collecting has come to represent wealth and prestige, or in cases of largesse, philanthropy. In 2016, for example, French billionaire Francois Pinault announced he would donate his large private art collection worth more than $1.4 billion to a new museum in Paris.</p> <p>For us more budget-conscious folk, whether it’s stamps, porcelain dolls, rare records, coins, fine china, or vintage t-shirts, many of us are drawn to collecting items that say something distinctive about who we are or a time in our lives where our identities were forged. It's not hard to imagine a punk rocker who collects Doc Martens boots to pay homage to the 1980s.</p> <p>Indeed, collectibles are often steeped in nostalgia. They can be a link to our past, people we love, a bygone era we admire, or they may represent a hoped-for rags-to-riches find.</p> <p>There is something gorgeous about seeing a casual collector discover that something they bought for next to nothing could now fetch them a handsome sum. Who hasn’t heard the story of someone buying a work of art in a quaint old shop in the middle of nowhere, only to later have it valued and find it is worth a bomb?</p> <p><strong>Gathering and observing</strong></p> <p>The great thing about collectibles is that we can act as both gatherer and observer. Some of us love to do the gathering and some of us prefer to look at what other people are fascinated by.</p> <p>Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of TV programs which scratch that itch, from The Collectors to Antique Roadshow to the late Peter Wherrett’s Torque, which was ostensibly about motor cars but one could argue it was about a collection of snazzy and not-so snazzy vehicles Wherrett wanted to show off.</p> <p><strong>The psychology of collecting</strong></p> <p>Such is our fascination with collectibles that some psychologists have asked why we have this urge. Those in the field of psychology seem keen to find the answer, and depending who you talk to, they will either assert that they have a pretty clear idea or that it’s still a subject for hot debate.</p> <p>Even Sigmund Freud had a theory about why we love collecting things — he thought it had to do with our need to feel like we have control over our environment, and that starts when a child begins potty training.</p> <p>Others psychologists agree collecting can start early in life. Psychologist Dr Rebecca Spelman says our fascination with collecting objects begins when we’re young. A fluffy blanket or favourite teddy bear teaches us that it is possible to have an emotional bond with an object. We then develop a positive relationship with the idea of holding on to and amassing material things.</p> <p>A more worrying theory about collecting is that there is a fine line between it and hoarding. Some people collect to deal with grief or a sense of loss in their life, which can turn into hoarding as this acts as a comfort and a way to keep the world out.</p> <p><strong>A collecting community</strong></p> <p>In Australia today, collecting takes many forms and there are many communities to support it — some strait-laced, some more outrageous — which mirror and support these passions.</p> <p>However, it can also sometimes be difficult to find out important details or a valuation about a prized object.</p> <p>WYZA’s General Manager Scott-Bradley Pearce says a “fantastic old teapot” which belonged to his partner’s grandmother was rather a mystery for quite some time.<br />“We had very little information about the teapot and it took quite some research for us to find out where it came from and about the maker,” he says. “The problem was that it was made in the UK and there were no local specialists in Australia I could find to value it.”</p> <p>If you could access an online collecting community, which included valuations, would you use it? And what other things would you need? Let us know in the comments below?</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Robin Hill. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/why-are-humans-such-avid-collectors.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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5 ways to earn more stable investment income

<p>Fixed interest investments have traditionally been an attractive option for investors who are looking for a steady income stream. There are many types to choose, each with varying risks and benefits, so you need to be careful in choosing which is right for you.</p> <p>The summary below may help you compare the merits of various fixed interest options and we also take a look at a “new kid on the block” that is catching the eye of many investors looking for healthier returns.</p> <p><strong>Government bonds</strong></p> <p>Government bonds have long been a mainstay for fixed interest investors, thanks to the attraction of their high security. A government bond is effectively a loan you are making to the government with an agreed interest rate and fixed term. The fact that the government guarantees the return of your principal at maturity makes them safe and reliable, but the interest rates are generally quite modest. Government bonds usually need to be purchased through your broker.</p> <p><strong>Peer-to-peer lending</strong></p> <p>Peer-to-peer lending is a relatively new concept in Australia and holds appeal to investors who are looking for new fixed interest opportunities. The big attraction in comparison to the other alternatives described here is that they offer investors attractive returns by providing them direct access to the previously hard-to-access asset classes of consumer and business credit.</p> <p>Peer-to-peer lenders match people who have money to invest directly with people who are looking for a loan. This is done using an online platform, which effectively bypasses the need for a traditional financial institution.</p> <p>Investors get the potential to achieve higher returns while being able to control the level of risk they take on. They can specify parameters on the use of the funds they invest, such as nominating the interest rate, loan period and on some platforms the credit criteria of the loans to reflect their risk appetite.</p> <p>By opening up the market and connecting lenders and borrowers more directly, there is no need to rely on a bank to set the borrowing terms. The transparency, efficiency and control inherent in the concept is driving the popularity of peer-to-peer as an option for fixed interest investors and the fact that platforms open to retail investors are well regulated and must conform to ASIC rules is adding to their acceptance. </p> <p>Peer-to-peer lending is already well entrenched in the UK and USA and is now entering the mainstream in Australia. Of course there are still risks involved, but P2P lending platforms place a strong emphasis on control and transparency, helping investors choose the platform and assets that match the risk level they are comfortable with, rather than relying on the whims of a monolithic institution.</p> <p>Some also provide a Provision Fund which can help protect investors against borrower late payments or defaults.  It could be a clever option for those investors looking for a new way to earn competitive fixed interest rates.</p> <p><strong>Corporate bonds</strong></p> <p>Corporate bonds bear some similarity with government bonds in that they involve lending money (in this case to a company) at an agreed interest over a set term, but there are important differences. Bonds can vary greatly in the amount of capital security they offer.</p> <p>Generally speaking, corporate bonds are less risky than buying shares in a company, but their ability to pay interest and to pay back your capital at maturity can be compromised if the company goes out of business. Bondholders take a higher priority than shareholders if this eventuates, but the risk of capital loss still exists.</p> <p>Corporate bonds can also be traded prior to maturity on a market such as the Australian Securities Exchange. The market value of a bond on the market may differ up or down from its face value, based on current economic conditions.</p> <p>Take for example if you were selling a 10 year bond that was paying 5% p.a. interest. If market interest rates had slumped to, say, 2.5%, then the interest income from your bond would be very attractive to buyers and the bond could be sold for a higher price than its face value. Conversely, if market rates had jumped above 5%, then the value of the bond could go down.</p> <p><strong>Mortgage schemes</strong></p> <p>Mortgage schemes are a type of managed fund that lends to borrowers to buy property or to undertake property development projects. On the surface these may seem safe and have attractive interest rates, but there are potentially higher risks. Mortgage schemes are often used to raise capital by developers who may not be able to secure loans from banks, due to the higher risks of borrowers defaulting or a property development project going bust.</p> <p><strong>Hybrid securities</strong></p> <p>The term ‘hybrid security’ is a catch-all name that covers a range of investments with odd sounding names, such as ‘capital notes’, ‘convertible preference shares’ and ‘subordinated notes’. These can be highly complex investments that are issued by institutions like banks, but this doesn’t mean that they offer the level of security that you would normally associate with bank investments, (such as term deposits).</p> <p>Rates can be attractive but in certain circumstances your investment could be converted to shares in the bank and leave you with less capital than you initially invested.</p> <p>Do you have any investments? Have you branched out into P2P lending? Let us know in the comments!</p> <p><em>Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/investment/what-are-your-options-on-fixed-interest-investments.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></span></em></p>

Retirement Life

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Australia Post boycott: Why this Aussie grandmother drove her Christmas presents across Australia

<p>A woman so fed up with the services of Australia Post has decided to deliver her grandchildren’s Christmas presents herself by driving across the country, after making a decision to boycott the postal service.</p> <p>Mandy Hickman has relied on the delivery company for a long time, but after a bad experience that occurred recently, she has sworn off Australia Post completely.</p> <p>A month prior, Mandy was anticipating a delivery from the US which contained important supplements and vitamins, but instead of receiving her parcel, she had gotten her hands on another one.</p> <p>“A parcel came to my place, addressed to the wrong address. I opened it, then I got my glasses and realised it wasn’t my parcel,” Ms Hickman told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9now.com.au/a-current-affair/2017" target="_blank"><em>A Current Affair</em></a>.</p> <p>After contacting the number on the package, she discovered that the intended recipient lived a few streets away.</p> <p>The two women spoke on the phone, and the other woman confirmed that Ms Hickman’s parcel was delivered to her by accident, but when she went to exchange parcels, the woman took her own package but never gave Ms Hickman hers.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="/media/7822353/lady.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f0797886484e4103b65d09edf53350f7" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo: <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/2018/12/06/16/01/queensland-grandmother-boycotts-australia-post-over-dodgy-delivery">A Current Affair</a></em></p> <p>Australia Post gave confirmation that the two parcels had been mixed up.</p> <p>The addresses had the same home number, same suburb but different street names.</p> <p>Australia Post has made five attempts to retrieve the parcel but has not been successful so far.</p> <p>Ms Hickman has also asked the lady multiple times to hand over her parcel but has had no luck.</p> <p>But despite the drama surrounding her package, Ms Hickman was more furious over the fact that Australia Post only offered to pay $50 compensation for goods that cost $650.</p> <p>“You don’t get any compensation for what the goods are worth, what they actually cost and that’s not fair,” said Ms Hickman.</p> <p>Now, after being so exasperated with the delivery service, Ms Hickman is ready to drive from Queensland to Victoria to deliver her grandchildren’s presents herself.</p> <p>And turns out, she isn’t the only one who has complained.</p> <p>Australia Post has proved to be so unreliable that <em>A Current Affair</em> is constantly being bombarded with emails about those who have been left empty handed due to the service.</p> <p>One delivery driver was accused of throwing packages over the fence, squeezing oversized parcels through mail boxes and leaving packages that required signatures.</p> <p>Australia Post has now decided to fully compensate Ms Hickman after being contacted by <em>A Current Affair</em>.</p> <p>In a statement, they said:</p> <p>“It is always disappointing in any instance when we fail to deliver for a customer. This year our hardworking posties and delivery drivers will deliver more than 3 billion parcels and letters effectively and on time, including millions of items in time for Christmas.</p> <p>“We've spoken to both customers to express our disappointment in the way their complaints were handled and apologised. We're working with them on prompt resolutions, with full compensation being organised for the lost international parcel.  </p> <p>“On our busiest day this Christmas we will deliver close to 3 million parcels across the country and we've hired almost 3,000 additional workers to make sure this Christmas is a success.</p> <p>“We encourage customers with any enquiries about their mail delivery to contact us on 13 POST or online."</p> <p>Have you had any bad experiences with Australia Post? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life

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How I found strength on my long walk to recovery

<p>On the phone, her voice is calm, clear and full of positivity. You wouldn’t guess that six years ago, Kathleen Jordan was lying in a hospital bed at Royal Melbourne Hospital after suffering a major right haemorrhagic stroke – one of the most severe and deadly forms of stroke.</p> <p>“It was a major bleed,” Kathleen explains, “In fact, one doctor said they’d never seen such a big bleed in anyone that had survived.”</p> <p>The doctors had warned her family to prepare for the fact that she may end up in an aged care ward for the rest of her life, or worse, she could be in a permanent vegetative state.</p> <p>“They actually said to my daughters that they should probably consider an NFR. An NFR means a ‘not-for-resuscitation’ order, but the girls said, ‘No, that’s not gonna happen. She’s going to be fine.’”</p> <p>And Kathleen proved her daughters right. “I’m back doing all the things I used to do. I see my grandchildren, I go to the ballet and the opera, I see my friends, I’m living in the most wonderful retirement complex in Carlton … and I’ve got lots and lots of friends,” she says. “A lot of it is good and I’m very grateful for the life I’ve got.”</p> <p>Prior to the incident, Kathleen led a busy life, running her own leadership coaching business which sent her travelling around Australia and across the world. By contrast, having to spend almost two years recovering in hospital was a huge adjustment.</p> <p>Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability. While Kathleen says her blood pressure was under control and there was no clear cause for the stroke, she recalls her doctor warning her to take it easy.</p> <p>“My doctor had been saying to me, ‘You need to slow down a bit, you’re doing a lot.’ And I would always say, ‘But I’m loving what I’m doing.’ I guess it’s when your body is in resolves with your mind really.”</p> <p>Sharon McGowan, CEO of the National Stroke Foundation, says 80 per cent of strokes can be prevented. “The advice is to know your blood pressure and maintain it within normal range, eat well, keep a healthy weight, don’t smoke, keep blood pressure down, exercise regularly and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.”</p> <p>“Stroke doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any age, however risk factors do increase with age,” she adds.</p> <p><strong>Recovering after a stroke</strong><br />For Kathleen, the haemorrhagic stroke resulted in partial paralysis on the left side of her body. She is unable to use her left hand and will have to continue doing physiotherapy, probably for the rest of her life.</p> <p>“Every single day is a struggle day, but I’m not going to give up that struggle because – even six years later – I’m still making improvements,” says Kathleen.</p> <p>“It’s still very hard. Some silly things are difficult, like I was trying to get something out of a package before – and trying to do it with one hand. I was just getting very cross because I couldn’t do it.”</p> <p>The operation to stop the significant bleed in her brain damaged some neurons, sometimes causing Kathleen to search for words when speaking – pausing mid-sentence or often repeating herself.</p> <p>“It’s called aphasia,” explains Kathleen. “However, when I say that to my friends, they all just laugh and say, ‘But we all have trouble finding words!’”</p> <p><strong>Overcoming adversity</strong><br />Kathleen’s resolve and tenacity following her recovery is inspiring, despite her initial fears of being unable to live a normal life again.</p> <p>“I had to just rely on thinking about [my] strengths, and every time I made a little bit of progress, my family and my friends [would] help me celebrate that progress.</p> <p>“For a long time, I couldn’t really walk or sit up without falling over but, with physio and determination, I am now walking around my apartment.”</p> <p>Kathleen actually set in place what she calls her ‘Hope Team’, made up of her close friends and family members. “Whenever I was feeling low, I could ring one of the people in my Hope Team and say, ‘Help me, what do I need to do?’ and they would very quickly give me some encouragement. So, my Hope Team helped me tremendously. They just wanted to support me, even more than what was perhaps expected of them.”</p> <p>In her book, <span><em><a href="http://t.dgm-au.com/c/185116/69171/1880?u=https://www.booktopia.com.au/standing-up--kathleen-with-steggall-vicki-jordan/prod9781925384024.html">Standing Up! My Story of Hope, Advocacy &amp; Survival after Stroke</a></em></span>, Kathleen shares the tools that helped her progress during her stroke journey, and how she achieved resilience and happiness by reframing issues.</p> <p>“I wrote the book for stroke victims and their loved ones. I want to give people hope that they too can recover from stroke, from other illness, by really focusing their minds ... [with] the belief that you can.</p> <p>“Have hope that you can recover and work hard on your physio,” she suggests. “Surround yourself with positive people – perhaps create a ‘Hope Team’ that will help you feel strong and focussed on your recovery.”</p> <p>While the road to recovery can be an uphill battle, there are platforms for the Australian stroke community to discuss and seek support. The <a href="http://www.enableme.org.au/">enableme</a> website is a good place to start. It provides a forum for stroke survivors, carers and loved ones to share their experiences, set recovery goals and gain further knowledge about stroke.</p> <p>“Setting personal recovery goals and self-directed rehabilitation continues to play an important role in Kathleen’s journey after stroke,” says Sharon McGowan of the Stroke Foundation. “[She] is a true inspiration and her experience demonstrates the determination, vital support and services stroke survivors need to live well after stroke. Kathleen shows that there is life after stroke.”</p> <p>Although Kathleen has been able to return to semi-normality, she will have carers for the rest of her life. “Sometimes I got a bit miserable about that,” says Kathleen. “And then I thought, ‘Kathleen, just be grateful for the fact there are carers available, and that they want to do a good job and look after you.’ So that made me feel a lot better. Rather than feeling miserable, just think, ‘What have you got?’”</p> <p>“I am just so happy that my life is back on an even keel,” she adds. “I can’t do everything I used to do – for instance, I can’t drive a car anymore, but I’ve got people who look after [me] and who care for me. I’m just blessed really.”</p> <p>Have you had to overcome a major trauma in your life? How did you find the strength?</p> <p><em>Written by Maria Angela Parajo. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/how-i-found-strength-on-my-long-walk-to-recovery.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></span>.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Combating loneliness: How to meet new friends 

<p><span>Many of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. It’s that sadness that comes from being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the people around you. For some it’s fleeting, for others it becomes entrenched and damaging.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Several recent studies indicate loneliness is set to reach epidemic proportions by 2030. Experts say it’s as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Britain has even appointed a minister for loneliness. A </span><span><a href="https://www.jocoxloneliness.org/pdf/a_call_to_action.pdf">report published by the Jo Cox Commission</a></span><span> showed nine million people “always or often feel lonely” and 200,000 older people in the UK have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Here at home, we have the </span><span><a href="http://endloneliness.com.au/">Australian Coalition to End Loneliness (ACEL)</a></span><span>. Inspired by the work of the </span><span><a href="https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/">UK’s Campaign to End Loneliness</a></span><span>, the ACEL aims to address loneliness in Australia.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>The good news is that feeling lonely is nothing to be ashamed of – the research is </span><span>clear that </span><span>millions of people are in the same boat.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need,” says one of the most prominent researchers in the field, Julianne Holt-</span><span>Lunstad</span><span>, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in the United States. “It is crucial to both wellbeing and survival.”</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>“Help, I’m lonely!"</strong></span><span> </span></p> <p><span>A community member recently asked if we have any suggestions on how to overcome loneliness.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>“I'm a young 50s and love doing things but I'm lonely. I have lost close friends due to them moving away. I have lost the contact with people. I think I'm a loner – help me. What groups could I join to meet people?”</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Here are some ideas for meeting new friends:</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>1. Volunteering</strong></span><span></span><br /><span>Volunteering is all about helping others, but it also benefits you personally – it offers the chance to make new friends, try a different career field, and explore your local area.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>Organisations</span><span> that help refugees, the homeless, people with disabilities, disadvantaged youths or the elderly are numerous. Such </span><span>organisations</span><span> include </span><span><a href="http://mealsonwheels.org.au/">Meals on Wheels</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/">The Smith Family</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/">The Salvation Army</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://youthoffthestreets.com.au/">Youth Off The Streets</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.midnightbasketball.org.au/">Midnight Basketball Australia</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.sacredheartmission.org/">Sacred Heart Mission</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/">Black Dog Institute</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="http://guidedogsaustralia.com/">Guide Dogs Australia</a></span><span>, and </span><span><a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline Australia</a></span><span>.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>The State Emergency Service (SES) in your state and </span><span><a href="http://stjohn.org.au/">St John Ambulance Australia</a></span><span> often put a callout for volunteers.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Wildlife rescue groups, such as </span><span><a href="https://www.wires.org.au/">WIRES </a></span><span>in NSW, and animal welfare </span><span>organisations</span><span> like the </span><span><a href="https://rspca.org.au/">RSPCA</a></span><span>, always appreciate an extra pair of hands – check the parks and wildlife service in your state. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, for example, is seeking volunteers for historic and cultural heritage tours, and for their threatened species and bush regeneration programs.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>If you enjoy working in customer service, try the local </span><span><a href="https://shop.oxfam.org.au/volunteer">Oxfam Shop</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.redcross.org.au/get-involved/connect/volunteer">Red Cross</a></span><span> or </span><span><a href="https://www.savethechildren.org.au/take-action/volunteer">Save the Children op shop</a></span><span>. Libraries need volunteers to help with </span><span>stocktake</span><span> to maintain the toy library and to deliver books to library customers. For music lovers, community radio stations are often run by volunteers – you might even have the chance to host your own show.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Major events also provide exciting opportunities for volunteers, so keep an eye out for big events that are coming to your town or city. Film, music and fashion festivals are often looking for volunteers.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>For more information, contact your local council or visit </span><span><a href="http://www.volunteering.org.au/">Volunteering Australia</a></span><span>.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>2.</strong> </span><strong>Fitness classes</strong></p> <p><span>If you’re into group exercise, you have a potential social network right in front of you. Try golf, tennis, dragon boat racing, rowing, squash, salsa classes, ballroom dancing, badminton, ocean swimming, sailing, aqua aerobics or yoga — or find a walking group via the </span><span><a href="http://walking.heartfoundation.org.au/">Heart Foundation Walking network</a></span><span>.</span><span></span></p> <p><span><strong>3.</strong> </span><strong>Hobbies</strong></p> <p><span>Do you like gardening, films, model airplane flying, bird watching, photography, chess, creative writing, clay target shooting, knitting, bridge, quilting, cooking or reading? Look in your local area for groups, clubs or classes that you could join.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>Car fanatics could join a club, such as a classic car club. For motorcyclists, the </span><span><a href="http://www.ulyssesclub.org/">Ulysses Club</a></span><span> is a social group for people aged over 40 years. Its motto is “grow old disgracefully”.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>For the community or politically minded, you could attend local council meetings. And don’t forget your local </span><span><a href="https://mensshed.org/">Men’s Shed</a></span><span>, which provides a space to work on practical projects while enjoying some good old-fashioned </span><span>mateship</span><span>.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>4.</strong> </span><strong>Faith-based groups</strong></p> <p><span>Churches and religious </span><span>organisations t</span><span>end to host a lot of social gatherings outside of their regular services, offering golden opportunities to meet people with similar beliefs.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>5.</strong> </span><strong>Virtual spaces</strong></p> <p><span>Facebook, Instagram and other social networks can be used as a way to connect with old friends, make new ones, and keep up with what’s happening in your community.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>If you want to learn more about computers or social media, ask at your local library or visit a local computer club. The </span><span><a href="http://www.ascca.org.au/">Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association</a></span><span> lists over 130 clubs for older Australians – one might be in your area.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><strong>6.</strong> </span><strong>Meetups</strong></p> <p><span><a href="http://www.meetup.com/">Meetup.com</a></span><span> is a nifty site that offers users the chance to join groups, known as Meetups, based on their location and interests. Examples of groups you can join include “Monopoly Players”, “More Bakeries Than Cycling Touring Club”, “Women’s Social Club”, and “French Movie Group”. If you can’t find a group that interests you, create your own!</span></p> <p><strong>7. Online dating</strong></p> <p><span>The major online dating sites are </span><span><a href="https://www.rsvp.com.au/">RSVP</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.eharmony.com.au/">eHarmony</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://au.match.com/">Match</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.oasisactive.com/">Oasis Active</a></span><span>, </span><span><a href="https://www.pof.com/">Plenty of Fish (POF)</a></span><span>, </span><a href="https://www.zoosk.com/"><span>Zoosk</span></a> <span>and </span><span><a href="https://tinder.com/">Tinder</a></span><span>.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>A good place to start might be with eHarmony, as it caters for a large number of older users. Billed as “Australia’s most trusted online dating site”, it offers specific dating advice for seniors. Of course, there are scams out there, so keep your wits about you.</span><span> </span></p> <p><strong>8. Lions and Rotary Clubs</strong></p> <p><span><a href="http://lionsclubs.org.au/">Lions </a></span><span>and </span><span><a href="http://rotaryaustralia.org.au/">Rotary </a></span><span>do a lot of good in their local communities and further afield. Lions’ motto is “where there’s a need, there’s a Lion”. Rotary is made up of members “who strive to make the world a better place”.</span><span></span></p> <p><strong>9. Returning to work</strong></p> <p><span>Working doesn’t have to be about the money. If you are in need of an outlet for mingling, going back to work could be the answer. Perhaps you could ask your former workplace about casual work or approach your local Bunnings Warehouse – the hardware chain encourages older workers back in to the workforce.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>Former teachers might register for substitute teaching and pet lovers could advertise pet sitting or walking services. If you love weddings, why not become a marriage celebrant?</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Adore children? Ask parents you know if they need babysitting or someone to pick their kids up after school. Crafty? How about a market stall? Too many veggies in the garden? Try selling them at a farmer’s market. A spare bungalow, caravan or room could be decorated and listed on </span><span><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb</a></span><span>.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>Other ideas include freelance writing, consulting or selling your photos on a </span><span>microstock</span><span> site such as </span><span><a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/">Getty Images</a></span><span>.</span><span> </span></p> <p><strong>10. Pets</strong></p> <p><span>They are known as man’s best friend but having a dog can help you socialise more with people. A study by the University of Western Australia found “pet owners were significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighbourhood whom they didn’t know previously, compared with non-pet owners”.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>Published in <em>PLOS ONE, </em></span><span><a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122085"><em>The Pet Factor – Companion Animals as a Conduit for Getting to Know People, Friendship Formation and Social Support</em></a></span><span><em> </em></span><span>concluded that dog owners were more likely to get to know people in their community than owners of other pets, such as cats or birds.</span><span> </span></p> <p><strong>11. Reconnecting with old friends</strong></p> <p><span>Make a list of people that you remember fondly and reach out to them by phone, email or Facebook. If they live nearby, invite them out for coffee, and if they are interstate or overseas, send a short email – who knows, one day you might take a trip and meet up with them.</span><span></span></p> <p><span>Don’t assume old friends have forgotten about you just because they haven’t been in touch – they may have been juggling work and parenting in their 30s and 40s, making it hard to stay in touch. Most likely, they will be pleased to hear from you.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span>What have you done to combat feeling lonely? Share you experiences and ideas below.</span><span> </span></p> <p><span><em>Written by Leah McLennan. Republished with permission of </em></span><span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/combating-loneliness-how-to-meet-new-friends.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au</em></a></span><span><em>.</em></span><span> </span></p>

Retirement Life

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The most misused word in the English language

<p>A traffic jam when you’re already late.<br /><br />A free ride when you’ve already paid.<br /><br />The fact that the King James Bible is the most shoplifted book in the United States.</p> <p>One of these three things is an example of irony – the reversal of what is expected or intended.<br /><br />The other two (no offense to Alanis Morissette) are not.<br /><br />The difference between them may be one of the most rage-inducing linguistic misunderstandings you’re likely to read about on the Internet or hear about from the determined grammar nerds in your life.<br /><br />“Ironic” does not, technically, mean “unfortunate,” “interesting” or “coincidental,” despite these terms often being used interchangeably. And that frequent misuse has not escaped linguists.</p> <p>According to the editors at <span><a href="http://WWW.DICTIONARY.COM">Dictionary.com</a></span>, “We submit that ironic might be the most abused word in the English language.”</p> <p>That’s a tough claim to prove, but it’s clear that confusion over the definition of irony is persistent and decades old.<br /><br />“Irony” makes Harvard linguist Steven Pinker’s <span><a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-58-most-commonly-misused-words-and-phrases-a6754551.html">list</a></span> of the 58 most commonly misused words in English, and ranks in the top 1 percent of all word lookups on Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary.<br /><br />Even Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald got it wrong, some say, when he claimed in 1939, “It is an ironic thought that the last picture job I took yielded me five thousand dollars five hundred and cost over four thousand in medical attention.” </p> <p>So what does irony mean, really, and where does the confusion come from?<br /><br />Part of the ambiguity probably stems from the fact that there are no fewer than three definitions of irony depending on which dictionary you use.<br /><br />There’s Socratic irony (an ancient rhetorical move), and dramatic irony (an ancient theatrical move), but the definition of irony we care about – and the kind that’s most bitterly debated ­– is situational irony.<br /><br />Situational irony occurs when, as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it, “a state of affairs or an event… seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result”. </p> <p>The trick, according to purists, is the deliberately contrary part – for a situation to be ironic, it must be the opposite of what is expected, not merely an amusing coincidence.<br /><br />A traffic jam when you’re already late may be an undesirable coincidence, but it is not the opposite outcome one would expect when leaving for work late (especially if that person lives in a major city).<br /><br />In an article titled <span><a href="http://www.collegehumor.com/post/229130/lines-from-alanis-morissettes-ironic-modified-to-actually-make-them-ironic">Lines From Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic,” Modified to Actually Make them Ironic</a></span>, College Humor writer Patrick Cassels corrects the situation like this: “A traffic jam when you’re already late… to receive an award from the Municipal Planning Board for reducing the city’s automobile congestion 80 per cent.” Now that’s irony.</p> <p>Not every linguist goes by this limited view, though.<br /><br />Ever the champions of fluid language growth, Merriam Webster <span><a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irony">argues</a></span> that Mr. Fitzgerald, Ms. Morissette, and anyone else who uses “ironic” to mean “coincidental” isn’t actually wrong, but is actually just trailblazing.<br /><br />“The word irony has come to be applied to events that are merely curious or coincidental,” the editors write, “and while some feel this is an incorrect use of the word, it is merely a new one.”</p> <p>Now isn’t that something.</p> <p><em>Written by Brandon Specktor. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/most-misused-word-english-language">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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9 words that will immediately make you sound old

<p>Want to close the generational gap? You’ll need to strike some of these out-of-date words from your lexicon.</p> <p><strong>1. Pocketbook</strong></p> <p>This European word dates way back to the 1600s, when it was used to describe a small bag used to carry coins.</p> <p>The name comes from – you guessed it – a small book that used to be carried in one’s pocket, and also held bank notes and money.</p> <p>While your grandmother might still use the term, younger women tend to call their bags “purses” or “handbags”.</p> <p>You are more likely to hear the term pocketbook these days when it refers to an app or a handheld touchscreen computer. Seem confusing? Bone up on <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/4-most-confusing-computer-technology-terms-explained">today's computing terms</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>2. Whippersnapper</strong></p> <p>This word, which is an alteration of the term “snippersnapper,” first appeared in the 1700s, making it abundantly clear that even our earliest ancestors were easily annoyed by petulant children.</p> <p>In its more modern form, the term relates to an overconfident child or young person who acts more important than he or she actually is: “That clueless whippersnapper doesn’t know a darn thing about life!”</p> <p>Let's face it – kids can be a challenge sometimes. Here's 7 ways they can really get your goat and <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/drama/7-ways-kids-are-annoying-and-how-you-can-deal-it">how to manage them</a></span>. </p> <p><strong>3. Tape</strong></p> <p>If you came of age in the 1980s, chances are you still use the word “tape” when it comes to recording your favourite music or TV shows, as in, “I’m not going to be home tonight to watch ‘Knight Rider.’ Could you tape it for me?”</p> <p>With the advent of digital media, there’s obviously no longer a need to record anything on magnetic tape, but still, old linguistic habits die hard.</p> <p>Speaking of old habits dying hard, is the convenience offered by technology making us lazy, forgetful and <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/Deskilling-in-the-Age-of-Digital-Amnesia">unable to solve basic problems</a></span>?</p> <p><strong>4. Xerox</strong></p> <p>Xerox launched its first commercially available copy machine in the 1960s.</p> <p>Due to its rapid success, the brand name Xerox soon became interchangeable with the word “copy,” much like the brand Kleenex has become synonymous with “tissue”.</p> <p>Today, there are many new printing companies on the market, and most workers refer to making copies as … making copies.</p> <p>Therefore, if you ask a younger co-worker to “Xerox” a document for you, you might be met with a blank stare. </p> <p>You may need to school up on how to deal with the onslaught of tech in the home and workplace by <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/3-Survival-Tips-for-the-Digital-World">reading this survival guide to the digital age</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>5. Floppy disk</strong></p> <p>If you used a computer in the 1980s and ’90s, chances are, you used a square floppy disk for file storage.</p> <p>As CDs became more ubiquitous, the need for floppy disks faded away, so much so that computers stopped manufacturing computers with built-in floppy disk drives.</p> <p>Asking a colleague to save something on a disk will certainly make you sound old, as tiny “thumb” or “flash” drives have since replaced bulkier storage media … for now.</p> <p>Perhaps you just <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/In-Praise-of-Technology">need to embrace technology</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>6. Stewardess</strong></p> <p>In the early days of air travel, a woman who attended to her passengers’ needs was called a stewardess.</p> <p>As years went on, the term took on a negative connotation, because of the restrictive emphasis put on the way women looked.</p> <p>As more men entered the profession, and as women fought back against gender bias in the 1960s and 1970s, the term was replaced with the more gender-neutral title of “flight attendant”.</p> <p>Travelling is stressful as it is so look after yourself if taking a long-haul flight and take note of the <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/10-things-you-should-never-do-airplane">10 things you should never do on an airplane</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>7. Icebox</strong></p> <p>Before people had refrigerators, they used to keep food cold by placing them in iceboxes, which, quite literally, were insulated metal or wood boxes that held large blocks of ice.</p> <p>Once home refrigerators became more commonplace in the 1930s and ‘40s, iceboxes were no longer necessary.</p> <p>For those older folks who grew up without mechanical refrigeration, however, the word “icebox” is forever etched in their vernacular.</p> <p>Does anyone still use the term icebox today? It's certainly not the <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/most-misused-word-english-language">most misused word in the English language</a></span>. </p> <p><strong>8. Dungarees</strong></p> <p>Today, we call them “jeans,” but people once referred to pants made out of heavy denim as “dungarees”.</p> <p>The name comes from a cheap coarse type of cloth imported from Dongari Kilda, India.</p> <p>The word “dungaree” eventually transformed into “jeans” when clothing manufacturers began importing the cloth from Genoa in Italy, which is referred to as “Genes” in French.</p> <p>Despite its antiquated terminology, you still might periodically hear old-timers referring to heavy work pants as dungarees.</p> <p>Got some old dungarees or other vintage clothes you can't bring yourself to throw out? Here are <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/4-steps-keep-treasured-vintage-clothing-its-best">4 steps to keep treasured vintage clothing looking it's best</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>9. Groovy</strong></p> <p>The origins of this word date back to the jazz age of the 1920s, when it started as a slang term for good music – found “in the grooves” of a vinyl record.</p> <p>It gained widespread prominence during the 1960s and ’70s, when it was used as a synonym for “excellent” or “cool.”</p> <p>By the 1980s, the word was pretty much out of fashion.</p> <p>Today, if you refer to someone or something as “groovy” (without a hint of sarcasm, that is), you’ll sound anything but hip.</p> <p>Fancy yourself a bit of a wordsmith? Never at a loss to find the right word? <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/quiz/test-your-vocabulary-obscure-words-quiz">See if our quiz can stump you</a></span>.</p> <p><em>Written by Jennifer Brozak. This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/10-words-will-immediately-make-you-sound-old?items_per_page=All">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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Does a smartphone make us smart?

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><em>Barbara Binland is the pen name of a senior, Julie Grenness, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is a poet, writer, and part-time English and Maths tutor, with over 40 years of experience. Her many books are available on Amazon and Kindle.</em></strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><u>Does a smartphone make us smart?</u></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Once upon a childhood, we recall that we lived in a different world. On Saturday</p> <p style="text-align: left;">afternoons, our parents would drive us to a far-flung suburb, where our maternal</p> <p style="text-align: left;">grandparents lived. The adults loved us dearly, but believed that children should be seen</p> <p style="text-align: left;">and not heard.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We would arrive punctually at 2pm. After a brief pit stop, our Nanna would say,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">“Go for a walk!” Our mother would add, “Come back at four o’clock.” So that is exactly what</p> <p style="text-align: left;">we did.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In an unfamiliar suburb, with no street directory, or no GPS, or no watches to tell</p> <p style="text-align: left;">the time, not even a modern plastic bottle of water for refreshment, three young</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Australians would “Go for a walk!” Thus, we walked, past front yard gardens, along strange</p> <p style="text-align: left;">streets. We would walk for approximately one hour, then we turned around and walked</p> <p style="text-align: left;">back to our grandparents’ home. My elder sister must have had a good sense of geography.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Upon reflection, I do wonder what the current parent police would say now, to such</p> <p style="text-align: left;">child-raising habits. As every reader is aware, these days, there are smart phones employed</p> <p style="text-align: left;">to supervise children’s adventures in society. Such smart phones had not been imagined</p> <p style="text-align: left;">once, let alone invented.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Our oldies collectively had no idea where we were walking to, or even if we would</p> <p style="text-align: left;">return let alone at the correct time. Somehow, we just knew it was nearly four o’clock in</p> <p style="text-align: left;">the afternoon. Maybe we all lived in a safer world, where we were mostly a lot more naïve</p> <p style="text-align: left;">than folk and children are today.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Times change. These days, in the digital world of the 21<sup>st</sup> century, if children go for</p> <p style="text-align: left;">a walk, the parent police phone their offspring up every five minutes on their smart phones.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">As passers-by, we can hear some very strange conversations, in shopping centres or railway</p> <p style="text-align: left;">stations. Here is one I heard, not long ago.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The parent police must have asked, “Where are you now?”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Teenager on phone: “I am at the shops, Mum.”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Mum must have inquired, “Where are you going?”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Teenager’s response: “I am going to the loo!”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Mum’s next question, “What are you doing now?”</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Teenager, sounding slightly exasperated, “I’m in the loo, having a wee! Mum!””</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Well, really. I wondered if it was really necessary to share with society, including</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Now there is someone calling on my smart phone! Whoops missed call. I must cease</p> <p style="text-align: left;">everything and return the call. It seems everyone I see is either gazing at a smart phone, or</p> <p style="text-align: left;">chatting on one. Are we so scared to be alone?</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Are we all like the teenager in the shopping centre loo, with her mother calling her</p> <p style="text-align: left;">incessantly on her smart phone, the modern parent police? Would parents in these modern</p> <p style="text-align: left;">days even say, “Go for a walk!”, to send their children off for two hours, with no time pieces,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">or smart phones to monitor them? These days the parents must check for the location of</p> <p style="text-align: left;">their children, and for potential predators.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">So, the world is no longer as safe as it once appeared to be. There was the famous</p> <p style="text-align: left;">case of the Beaumont children. “Go for a walk, go for a swim!” Those three children have,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">unfortunately, never been seen again.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Amazingly, the three young girls we once were never disappeared, got lost, and</p> <p style="text-align: left;">always arrived back by four o’clock, unmolested. These days, our mother would have</p> <p style="text-align: left;">phoned us every five minutes on our smart phones, so we were not feeling apart. The smart</p> <p style="text-align: left;">phone is a great invention, but if everyone has to relate every action on a smart phone, has</p> <p style="text-align: left;">the smart phone really made us smart? Food for thought. “See ya!” (The great Australian</p> <p style="text-align: left;">smart phone farewell.). Yeah, “See ya!”</p>

Retirement Life

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Good news: The change Centrelink has just announced

<p>After 48 million calls were left unanswered in the last financial year, Centrelink has announced that they will be employing 1500 extra staff to keep up with the demand.</p> <p>According to the figures, 47,950,425 million calls to the welfare organisation had to deal with a busy line, while 5,313,954 were abandoned.</p> <p>Those wanting to reach out were left flustered and angry as complaints increased by 237,000 in the last year, which was an extra 68,000 than the year before, according to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/contractors-found-to-be-more-efficient-for-centrelink-call-centres/news-story/423ecf3686184b563f341fd821f6ef6a" target="_blank">The Courier Mail</a></em>.</p> <p>The government organisation is in charge of providing and keeping track of welfare payments throughout the country, and one major age bracket that has been affected are the elderly.</p> <p>Those wanting an update on their pension applications and payments were left on hold for hours and after the long wait, failed to receive adequate answers.</p> <p>To improve the service and minimise complaints, the Federal Government revealed that it would be adding an increased amount of call centre numbers as the demand was increasing per year.</p> <p>In the first four months of 2018, a massive 10,986,832 calls had to deal with the busy signal.</p> <p>Michael Keenan, the Human Services Minister, announced in a press conference that Centrelink plans to hire 800 staff members who have extensive experience working in Australian-based call centres.</p> <p>“We will be putting on an extra 1500 people within the department of human services to improve processing times and to improve our performance on our telephone services,” he said.</p> <p>“This announcement is on top of the 1250 staff we’ve already announced that we will be putting on.”</p> <p>Mr Keenan believes the extra hands will help keep up with the amount of calls Centrelink receives in a day.</p> <p>“It’s very important that when people need the support of the government they know that they can contact us in a reasonable timeframe and they are going to be dealing with someone who knows exactly what they are doing,” he said.</p> <p>And even though the abundance of complaints has forced the government to add an increased amount of staff, Mr Keenan hopes that digital communication will be introduced to the welfare service in the near future.</p> <p>“Over time I certainly would much prefer that people interact with us through digital channels and we’ve got a very significant transformation program within my department that is going to make accessing those channels as easy as possible.”</p> <p>He said that hopefully, it would result in a “significant reduction in telephone calls".</p> <p>“Because it’s much more convenient for people to interact with us when they feel like it.”</p> <p>Rachel Stewart, the acting Co-Deputy Leader of the Greens, said that the government made the right decision in hiring more staff, but it’s disappointing it took them this long to take action.</p> <p>“While it’s welcome that the department has started to focus on reducing unanswered calls, I’d hazard a guess that it’s because they keep getting called out for the millions of calls going unanswered, estimates after estimate,” she said in a statement.</p> <p>“There have been significant staff cuts and this year we have seen reports of students going an entire semester without their payment being processed and pensioners going months waiting for the claims to be processed.”</p> <p>Miss Stewart believes that the staff cuts were not a wise decision, and with the increased amount of calls, it was a decision made due to bad judgement.</p> <p>“We need a stable, well trained workforce and the Government should commit to reinstating the nearly 1200 jobs cut from the Department of Human Services in the 2017-18 Budget,” she said.</p> <p>“Older Australians, single parents, students and those looking for work should not have to be put through these significant hurdles just to reach Centrelink and get a payment they are entitled to.”</p> <p>How do you feel about the new changes Centrelink is implementing? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Retirement Life