Early Bird: a Memoir of premature Retirement Review

Rothman, R. (2005). Early bird a memoir of premature retirement. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster Paperbacks.  ISBN: 1-61552-601-3. Paperback, $ 13.

I have many goals that I’m striving to achieve before my time is up.  One of the last goals on my list, is to reach retirement and live my final life chapter stress free, doing the things I enjoy.  Rodney Rothman decides to fast forward his life and skip strait to retirement, at the age of 28.  After the show Rothman was writing for was canceled, he decided to take a break from normal life and see how the other side lives.  He finds a retirement community that does not discriminate on him, due to his age, and moves into Boca Raton, which is located in South Florida.  Rothman decides to use his time to write a memoir of his experience in the retirement community.  Early Bird a Memoir of Premature Retirement is a interesting book that should appeal to all people but is intended for young adults.

Rothman has a great sense of humor that comes through in his writing.  His humor doesn’t seem forced and flows well with the story.  At times he goes off on tangents that get away from the theme of the book but are entertaining to read.  The writing is informal and it often feels as if he is talking strait to the reader.  He goes into great detail about the interactions he has with other retirees and his living situation.

Rothman remembers, as a child, visiting his grandparents in their retirement home.  He enjoyed the atmosphere and the way everyone lived.  He quickly realizes that living in Boca Raton is not be the same as visiting.  He finds the retirement crowd to be friendly but weary of him being there.  He has a difficult time meeting new people and is intimidated by the other retirees.  They have their own cliques that all newcomers, not just Rothman, find hard to become a part of.

Eventually Rothman makes a few friends and is able to become a part of a few cliques.  He enjoys interacting with the elderly but finds he can’t spend to much time with any individual.  He finds similarities and differences between how everyone lives.  He discovers that people don’t change “If they were nice when they were young, then they’re nice when they die, asshole when they were young, asshole dead” (Rothman, 2005 p.167).

Rothman hoped to find that the retiree community had wisdom and inspiration to share with him.  He’s disappointed to find that they are just normal people that happen to be old.  This is part of the reason Rothman stays so long in the retirement community, he was looking for someone to give him new inspiration.

Rothman learns a lot about himself and discovers he enjoys his old normal life.  He finds himself missing his old acquaintances.  He has a revelation that by the time he is ready to truly retire all his new elderly friends will have passed away and he will be starting over.

I relate to Rothman because of our similar age and perspectives on life.  His book isn’t trying to change the world but give its readers a view into someone else’s life. His time at the retirement community seemed to help him find perspective on life.

This book reminds the reader to take life slowly and live in the present.  While retirement may seem relaxing, Rothman finds it brings its own stress.  While one of my goals is to retire and live the retired life style, Early Bird a Memoir of Premature Retirement has reminded me to wait for my time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Cost of Death

There are very few certainties in life.  Death is something we all must face at some point.  People have started to take advantage of this inevitability by making the costs surrounding death extremely high.  If planed for correctly, it is possible to make death affordable for the loved ones left behind.

There are many costs associated with death.  The costs can vary depending on the decision the deceased has made before passing away and their families wishes.  According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) the cost of a average funeral in 2009 was $6,560 not including cemetery, monument costs, flowers or obituaries.  Funeral cost have increased at a very fast pace since 1960, when it cost just  $708 on average.  This is a disturbing trend that has been getting worst each year.

The cost can have an effect on everyone that plans for the future.  As people age they begin to worry about their final resting place and the toll it may take on their loved ones.  Knowing the costs and the burden they are leaving behind can be stressful.  The American Psychological Association explains the dangers associated with stress.  Stress can speed up the aging process and weaken the immune system, which is not good for anyone especially the elderly.

Losing a loved one can be hard enough on its own without worrying about the costs involved.  The funeral costs are is not the only bill associated with death.  While the costs of a funeral may be daunting, the hospital bills may be the largest expense.  According to Health Leaders Media the average cost of a patient that died in the hospital was $26,000 in 2007.  This number can grow quickly depending on the treatment received and time spent in the hospital.  Hospital are extremely expensive and can charge up to $10,000 a day for intensive care, according to 60 Minutes.  Patients time in intensive care varies individually, but some can spend weeks or even months fighting to stay alive.  The bills can add up quickly and have a lifelong effect on the dying patients loved ones.  If the patient does not have insurance or lacks full coverage, these cost can become a burden on their families.

No one wants to leave their loved ones in a financial hole after passing away.  There are steps everyone can take to protect their families.  Having insurance can help soften the medical bills.  Bill Newman, a 87 year old Capitola man, has taken many steps to protect his loved ones.  Mr. Newman wears a badge that reads “Do Not Resuscitate”.  He has made it clear to his family that when his time comes he does not want to fight at their expense.  This is a personal decision we must make on our own and be at peace with.  Mr. Newman also started a saving account to help with the costs of a funeral service and other expenses.

The cost of dying is getting more expensive and leaving many families in a difficult situation.  This disturbing trend will continue to get worse if we do not recognize the issue.  If we are all conscious of the problem and take the steps needed, we can make the costs reasonable.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scamming the Elderly

Discrimination is wrong in any form but when someone is discriminated against  because of their age it is especially disheartening.  Aging is a natural and unavoidable part of life that we must accept.  Too often workers are being discriminated against due to their age.  This is a problem that is getting worst not better.  Fixing the issue may take more then simply adding new laws.

There are laws in place to protect aging Americans.  In 1967 the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) went into affect, protecting individuals 40 and over from being treated less favorably because of their age.  This makes it illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire someone due to their age.  The ADEA has good intentions but is difficult to enforce, according to Gerald Emanuel a practicing attorney for over 40 years.  It can be difficult to prove that a employer fired a employee because of his age and not for an acceptable reason.  Mr. Emanuel explained that an employee can be fired for almost any reason because there are very few laws in place to protect them.  This gives employers the upper hand in the court room because all they need to do is show a reason, besides age, that the employee was terminated.

Robert J. Grossman, who published an article on age discrimination in Business Horizons, points out that the problem seems to be getting worse not better.  He sites a study from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that shows 67%, of those surveyed, had experienced age discrimination at some point.  Compared to other forms of discrimination, including race, gender and disability, age discrimination complaints are on the rise.  Between 2002-2003 age discrimination complaints increased by 14.4% according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This is a disturbing trend that needs to be turned around.

The U.S. is coming into a interesting time in its history.  The Baby Boomer generation is growing older which is creating a influx of older works.  At the same time unemployment has reached new highs.  There seems to be to many workers and not enough jobs.  There may not be a easy solution to solving this problem but we must recognize that it is a problem and not let our older population suffer for it.

Many stereotypes exist when it comes to how older workers are viewed.  Some people think that older workers can’t learn new skill and have a difficult time keeping up with technology.  This may be true for some older workers but lumping all older workers into one category can be dangerous.  Experience can be a great tool that can not be taught in a book or a classroom

Change starts with how we think.  If we can change the stereotypes plaguing older works there may be hope.  Age discrimination should be looked at as a civil rites issue the same way we look at race, gender and disability discrimination.

Aging is a natural process that plays a role in all of our lives.  We can choose to ignore the injustice that is taking place or work to find a solution.  The stereotypes of older workers needs to be broken.  The laws must do a better job protecting everyone from being discriminated on because of our age.  The power must change from the employer to the employee.  We need to protect our older workers and due what is right for everyone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Problems with Age Discrimination

Discrimination is wrong in any form but when someone is discriminated against  because of their age it is especially disheartening.  Aging is a natural and unavoidable part of life that we must accept.  Too often workers are being discriminated against due to their age.  This is a problem that is getting worst not better.  Fixing the issue may take more then simply adding new laws.

There are laws in place to protect aging Americans.  In 1967 the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) went into affect, protecting individuals 40 and over from being treated less favorably because of their age.  This makes it illegal for an employer to fire or refuse to hire someone due to their age.  The ADEA has good intentions but is difficult to enforce, according to Gerald Emanuel a practicing attorney for over 40 years.  It can be difficult to prove that a employer fired a employee because of his age and not for an acceptable reason.  Mr. Emanuel explained that an employee can be fired for almost any reason because there are very few laws in place to protect them.  This gives employers the upper hand in the court room because all they need to do is show a reason, besides age, that the employee was terminated.

Robert J. Grossman, who published an article on age discrimination in Business Horizons, points out that the problem seems to be getting worse not better.  He sites a study from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that shows 67%, of those surveyed, had experienced age discrimination at some point.  Compared to other forms of discrimination, including race, gender and disability, age discrimination complaints are on the rise.  Between 2002-2003 age discrimination complaints increased by 14.4% according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This is a disturbing trend that needs to be turned around.

The U.S. is coming into a interesting time in its history.  The Baby Boomer generation is growing older which is creating a influx of older works.  At the same time unemployment has reached new highs.  There seems to be to many workers and not enough jobs.  There may not be a easy solution to solving this problem but we must recognize that it is a problem and not let our older population suffer for it.

Many stereotypes exist when it comes to how older workers are viewed.  Some people think that older workers can’t learn new skill and have a difficult time keeping up with technology.  This may be true for some older workers but lumping all older workers into one category can be dangerous.  Experience can be a great tool that can not be taught in a book or a classroom

Change starts with how we think.  If we can change the stereotypes plaguing older works there may be hope.  Age discrimination should be looked at as a civil rites issue the same way we look at race, gender and disability discrimination.

Aging is a natural process that plays a role in all of our lives.  We can choose to ignore the injustice that is taking place or work to find a solution.  The stereotypes of older workers needs to be broken.  The laws must do a better job protecting everyone from being discriminated on because of our age.  The power must change from the employer to the employee.  We need to protect our older workers and due what is right for everyone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Exercising Your Body and Mind

 

The goal in life should not be simply to live a long life, but to live a long life with a healthy mind and body.  Having a healthy mind and body allows us to age with a higher quality of life.  While there is not one answer to achieving this goal, exercise is a important part of slowing the aging process.

The common notion is that as we age our bodies begin to break down.  This is not true according to Dr. Henry S. Lodge.  In Dr. Lodge’s article, “You Can Stop ‘Normal‘ Aging”, he explains that having our body brake down is a choice not a “normal” process (Lodge, 2007).  When people let their body become idle the aging process begins to take effect.  Our bodies learn to be active and healthy or sluggish, which leads to the body beginning to rot.

Without normal exercise our chances of having serious health issues rise.  In the research article “Exercise, Aging, and Alzheimer Disease”, Eric B. Larson breaks down many ways exercising helps the health of our body and mind.  It can help fight body related health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.  This is especially true for older people.  In the brain, exercise helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline.  Results are still mixed but exercise has shown to help fight both dementia as well as alzheimer disease.  While the results were mixed, knowing exercising may help you fight these diseases before they start could have a large impact on slowing them down.

In the United States we value our independence as individuals.  Many people worry about becoming a burden on their family and friends, as they age and are not able to take care of themselves any longer.  Exercise can help delay this process by helping us stay more self sufficient.  Staying active allows us to stay active for longer.

While the benefits of exercise on the body are more obvious the affect it has on the mind is very important.  In a research article published in Primary Psychiatry, Kennedy, Gary J. researched how exercise influences mental health.  In his article “Exercise, aging, and Mental Health” he explains that exercise helps trigger the production of endorphins, which are chemicals that have many good effects.  Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain which allows it to stay more active.

It is never to late to add exercise into your life.  Dr. Lodge describes how our body replace 1% of its cells every day (Lodge, 2007).  This leads him to the idea that after three months we have nearly a new body.  This mean our body can be changed from “broken down” to “growing” rather easily.

Everyone has a choice how they treat their body.  The choices we make have a direct affect on how we age.  Taking the time to exercise is a easy and important step to living a life both long and with a high quality.  It does not matter if you are seven or seventy, adding regular exercise into your life will benefit both your mind and body.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aging With Alcohol

 

Many people consider alcohol bad for their health, while others believe it can have its benefits.  Obviously drinking large amounts of alcohol is going to negatively effect health, but having a small amount on a regular basis may help you live longer and have a higher quality of life, according to a study publish in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In this study, lead author Julie Byles, PhD, a researcher at University of Newcastle, surveyed 12,432 women seventy years old and over for a span of seven years.  The participants were broken up into three groups: non-drinkers, rarely drink (drink less than every week) and low-intake (1-2 drinks per day, 3-6 days a week).  She then used four main categories to rate the participants health: general health, physical functioning, mental health and social functioning.  She disregarded the type of alcohol the participant drank.  Whether it was wine, beer, or hard liquor did not matter.  The quantity of liquor drunk was the important key.

The results of the study indicate that non-drinkers or rare drinkers were “more likely to die than women in the low-intake reference category, or if they survived, they had lower health-related quality-of-life”(pp. 1).  The fact that it can help people have a higher quality of life is important.  The goal should not be to live for as long as possible, but to live into old age with good mental and physical health.

Although this is a correlational study, which makes it difficult to claim alcohol is the only reason low-intake drinkers live longer, it shows clear evidence that those who choose to drink alcohol appropriately have a good chance to live a longer happier life.

So does this mean we should all start drinking alcohol as they do in the low-intake group?  Not necessarily as Julie Byles, PhD, makes it clear that there is no evidence to “suggest that nondrinkers should take up drinking”.  This leads me to believe that it is not simply the alcohol that is helping the women live longer, but the enjoyment they get from it.

In the documentary How to Live Forever, Mark Wexler interviews some of the oldest people in the world.  Many, but not all, of the interviewees continued to drink alcohol to some extent.

One of the main subjects of the documentary, Pierre Jean Buster Martin, was still a heavy drinker and smoker at the age of 104.  This would not be recommended by any doctor but it seemed to work for him.  One of the common themes between the subjects in the documentary is that they continue to do what makes them happy.  Whether that is dancing, eating, laughing, drinking, enjoying life is important as you age.

Alcohol can have positive or negative effects on health depending on how it is used.  Evidence suggests that when used properly it can help people live longer, healthier lives.  While there is no one clear answer for everyone to live a long healthy life, finding enjoyment is important.  If alcohol is that source of enjoyment you may be in luck.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment