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Aging Wisely February 2016 - Aging Wisely

What the Tuck?


working out at pure barre clearwater

What the Tuck?

Is tucking part of your workout?  Can you stand straight, push your navel into your back and tighten your abdominal muscles – if the answer is yes – you know how to tuck!  I recently had the opportunity to attend a Clearwater Pure Barre class, and wow!!  (Thank you to my daughter-in-law Lauren, owner of the Pure Barre studio).  It was a workout as well as an education.  I loved it!

I have to admit, I was a little nervous walking in to the class as it appeared most of the other participants were under 40 (I haven’t seen the 40’s for years :-).  And while it took me a few minutes to catch on I very quickly joined in and started making some moves that were new to my body!  I couldn’t complete every exercise, the instructor said give it time and I will eventually be able to make it the entire hour.  I enjoy the challenge and for now will make this a part of my weekly exercise, at least 3 times per week.  It is one hour that flies by!

Working out has never been fun for me – I have to make myself do it.  I’ve tried everything and the only exercise I come close to loving is snow-skiing – and of course I live in Florida.  I do know from all that I read and from the many clients I have met that moving is vital to healthy aging.  I want to be healthy, it’s just sometimes I don’t use my discipline to stay focused.

Two times per week I meet with an incredible personal trainer who has taught me the proper way to stretch and strength train.  Sometimes the goals are simple, balance on one leg, jump rope without missing.  Often we focus on real life skills, for example the ability to get up off the floor safely while lifting my grandchild’s weight.  She also works each week on my posture – what a challenge that has been.  Between a curvature of my spine (Kyphosis – inherited from my father’s side of the family) and my many years of sitting in front of a computer my body has been trained NOT to stand straight.  The daily stretching of the tissue is helping enormously as well as the strengthening of the weakened muscles. I had no idea how many different ways there are to stretch.  I can’t imagine life without a foam roller.

working out with foam roller

I was shocked initially to see how poor my balance actually was.  Not that I am falling or losing my balance, but how I was unable to bend over on one leg and pick something up?  What year did I stop being able to do that?  I’m not really certain how I quit moving certain directions but since my children have left home I have often let work get in the way and become my grand excuse not to exercise.  Clients and their problems often gain my full attention in the goal of providing great service and solutions (can you hear my justification for not exercising).  While clients are important, many of them have stressed to me how important it has been to them to concentrate on their health and staying fit.  Their reward is less pain and maintaining independence – I want both of those!

Along with getting my Exit Strategy organized this year I am making my health a priority.  Come back and check out Linda’s Journal as I work through my exercise, eating habits, and medical screenings.  I’m happy to share my tips and struggles – I would love to hear all about yours.  Please email me at Linda(at)

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Legal Zoom or Lawyer?


Legal Zoom or lawyer?

One of the best consultations I have ever had with clients went as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Martin came to see me to inquire about what sort of planning they should do since they are now retired. They were concerned about long term care costs and what they could do to plan for care if and when it was needed. We reviewed their current situation, the home was paid for, they had recently sold their business, and Mr. Martin had just been diagnosed with treatable cancer.

The consultation allowed them the opportunity to think through who they could name to pay their bills and manage their money if they were unable to do so. It provided the opportunity to review which of their children could navigate the health care system, converse with health care providers and insurers, and would truly take the time to understand when “enough is enough” with their treatment. It helped the two of them talk frankly about how much they were willing to spend on “staying in the home” before they would consider moving to an assisted living or nursing home without impoverishing the well spouse. Legal documents were drafted and signed stating their wishes and then a full family conference was coordinated in my office to review the legal plan and care desires with all of the children present.

While the legal documents fully state their wishes and authorizations, the key to completing the documents appropriately was the consultation, conversations regarding options with plenty of time for questions and answers, and guidance in how the long term care system works. I was so proud of this couple for taking the time to think through their fears, wishes, and concerns and to make the decisions they needed to make.

One of the most difficult conversations to have with a family is telling them they have no legal authority to pay Mom’s bills and to access her financial accounts to take care of her because she never completed any legal documents to provide them legal authority to help her. And then have to state that their next step is to go to court and seek legal guardianship over Mom, thus removing all of her rights. It’s even worse to tell them how easy and inexpensive it would have been to prevent this situation from occurring.

The Florida Durable Power of Attorney statute allows each of us to appoint an Agent to manage our financial affairs. It is a big decision to determine who you would like to name as your Agent. The Agent is allowed to manage your bank accounts, savings accounts, stocks, brokerage accounts, and your real property and has authority to do whatever you authorize in the Durable Power of Attorney.

Choosing your Agent is the most important decision. Who is the person who will actually pay your bills on time, help you manage your home, get repairs done, and manage your accounts to ensure you will be able to pay for everything? Naming a child who has financial issues, has not been able to hold down a job, or has filed bankruptcy may not be the best choice. Your lawyer will help you review your choices for your Agent, and help you determine who is the most appropriate for you to name.  If you do not have anyone to name, the lawyer can suggest a professional Agent for consideration. The consultation reviewing selecting an Agent and then determining what authority to include in your Power of Attorney is the value you receive when meeting with a lawyer versus completing a document online. Do you want your Agent to be able to make gifts? To others? To themselves? These are just a few of the questions your lawyer will ask you.

Did you know that the State of Florida has named a Health Care Surrogate Proxy to make health care decisions for you in case you didn’t name one yourself? Your Health Care Surrogate provides medical informed consent for accepting or denying treatment. You can designate in your Health Care Surrogate document who should make your medical decisions, what decisions you would like made and authorize your doctor to disclose your protected health information (PHI) to your surrogate. In the ever changing world of health care it is vital for you to name someone to be your surrogate that will take the time to understand your wishes and manage your care with the professionals you have chosen.

“Terri Schiavo” is the only name you need to say in Florida to understand why you want to sign a Living Will and state your end of life choices. Thinking through how you want to experience your “end of life” is not cocktail conversation. Understanding how the medical system works and interacts with the legal system is important for you to know when deciding what treatment you may or may not want. What is even more important is to ensure your loved ones know what you want and that they will support your decisions.

A Will determines what happens to your property upon your death. Many folks try to avoid probate by using “POD” payable on death accounts recommended to them by the friendly bank customer service agent. While this sometimes works, it often presents a quandary for the Agent under the Durable Power of Attorney when determining which funds to utilize to pay your bills. For example, should they pay the bills out of the POD account for their sister, or should they pay the bills out of the POD account for them?  This is not a situation you want to put your family into.

Often Trusts are utilized to state how you want your money to be spent if you become incapacitated as well as how you want it distributed upon your death. If you have a beneficiary with special needs, a mental health issue, an addiction, or perhaps someone who just can’t manage money, you can set up parameters within the trust to ensure the funds are protected and managed within your guidelines.

Join me on Tuesday, March 1 for our free workshop “Legal Documents Everyone Must Have.” 

We will review how to prepare for your legal consult, decisions to think through prior to meeting with your attorney, and how to “choose” the best person to name on your documents. A Free Tool “Questions you must ask your Attorney” will be provided to all attendees. You will not want to miss. Limited to first 20 attendees.

Call 727-447-5845 today to reserve your seat.

Please share your best/worst Legal Zoom or lawyer story with me and send to Linda(at) I look forward to hearing from you.

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Benefits of Crossfit and Challenging Workouts: Fitness Over 50


benefits of crossfit

Can Seniors Crossfit?

A common misconception is that certain types of exercise are appropriate only for certain age groups and that when we get older, it’s time to take it easy. Well, older adults today are breaking the mold and doing amazing things with fitness over 50 (and 60, 70, 80!). Obviously, at any age if you have medical conditions, you need to check with your doctor before starting a fitness routine. But, there is no fitness routine that should be inaccessible to any age group. Just check out these inspirational older adults who are proving you can gain ultimate fitness over 50 and beyond: “Fit at 102”, Video: Seniors Using the Crossfit Method, and Crossfit Grandma’s Video Diary After Losing 79 Lbs.

What is Crossfit?

Crossfit™ is a strength and conditioning program which is designed for overall fitness (versus a specialized program). CrossFit is focused on “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement” and brings in various types of exercise. There are many Crossfit gyms across the country and there are also competitions held for Crossfit athletes.

Fitness Over 50: Research

“Exercise is almost always good for people of any age,” says Chhanda Dutta, PhD, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging, stated on WebMD. Some older people will worry that they might fall/hurt themselves if they exercise when in fact exercise has been shown to prevent falls: it can prevent bone loss, make you you stronger, improve balance, boost your memory and mood, and ease symptoms of many chronic conditions associated with aging.

Unfortunately, according to the National Institute on Aging, just over half of adults 65+ are inactive and only 11% of people 85 and over engage in any regular exercise. Evidence shows that most could work out safely, especially if shown how.

Maria Fiatarone Singh, who’s been studying strength exercise in older adults at the University of Sydney for many years concludes, “If I had to do only one thing for the frail older person, it would clearly be weightlifting exercises.” She has done studies with frail elderly in nursing homes and post-hip fracture patients showing the benefits of relatively intense strength training. Even if Crossfit isn’t for you, the concept of incorporating strength training and a well-rounded fitness routine should be part of most older adults’ lifestyles.

Benefits of Crossfit for Older Adults (Even if you don’t Crossfit!)

Here’s a great post from one older adult who saw many benefits of Crossfit in her daily life. She noticed obvious improvement in balance and strength: being able to regain balance if she trips over something, climbing stairs and opening jars with ease. Little things that can become harder with age (and lack of fitness) like getting up and down from chairs and the toilet or in and out of the car suddenly became easy. Her endurance for all kinds of activities improved. We often accept the aches, pains and limitations of an aging body as part of getting older but her story shows how some challenging exercise can really turn that around. The strength training benefits of Crossfit style workouts can be perfect for reversing muscle mass and strength.

Crossfit and other exercises that challenge the body can also give you a new sense of confidence. The group nature of Crossfit can make it more fun and inspiring.

Another one of the benefits of Crossfit for older adults is the increase in core strength. This helps you maintain balance and more easily handle a stumble or trip.

The benefits of Crossfit for fitness over 50 can apply to other types of routines. The important point is to build strength and endurance, especially to make up for the muscle loss that comes with aging, and to enhance balance. Fitness classes or working out with a personal trainer can motivate you and ensure you benefit and stay safe. We have a whole host of fitness ideas for you!

What’s your fitness over 50 secret? Have you experienced the benefits of Crossfit or started a new routine later in life and found success? Come over to our Facebook page to share more!

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Could the Key to a Long Life Be In These Little Devices?

wearable fitness tracker for healthy long life

Could the key to a long life be in these little devices?

Knowledge is power, but action is necessary to put that knowledge to use. We know the keys to a long life from research on the world’s longest-living populations. Meanwhile, modern life is pulling us further away from these healthy habits. Fortunately, a modern solution may also help us truly take action towards living a long life.

Wearables are seen by many as a great possibility for building healthy habits into our daily lives. A wearable device incorporates technology into something you wear such as clothing or an accessory (think Apple Watch, Fitbit or Google glass). They always make me think of James Bond!

A PWC study found that consumers see great potential with widespread use of wearable health technologies for long life and better health:

  • 56% believe life expectancy will grow by 10 years because of wearables
  • 46% believe they will decrease obesity

And, the potential for these devices being integrated into a healthy, long life is amazing! Cisco estimates the number of wearable devices in use will jump to almost 177 million by 2018.

The advantage of wearable health technologies is the ability to get real-time data that we can use to change behaviors and prevent disease (before we see symptoms, when reversing damage becomes much more difficult). Seventy-one percent of Americans claim that wearable technologies have improved their overall health. By bringing the data right into our daily lives (it can’t get much more convenient than wearing it), people tend to be more accountable for their personal health and fitness, all of which can lead to a long life and less illness. There are devices that remind you to take medicines or keep up with healthy habits (fitness especially), help track nutrition, monitor/correct posture and more.

Wearable technology has the potential for a big impact on healthcare. Right now, a doctor’s interaction with patients is mostly limited to the office visit which gives the doctor a very small window into the daily life of the patient. Wearable technology can monitor key vital signs and send measurements of important data to the patient, caregivers and medical providers. Wearables also have enormous potential for research purposes.

The Best Fitness Wearables for a Healthy, Long Life

The Jawbone is a reasonably priced option that covers the basic measurements and features you’d want in a fitness tracker. Simply slip it on your wrist and track: activity (steps, calories burned and bursts of activity), sleep mode (tracks sleep time and quality and offers a smart alarm to wake you more easily during the best part of your sleep cycle) and a stopwatch you can set for timing exercise.

The Misfit Flash is a great option for first-timers and the budget-conscious, coming in at about $25-30. This wearable offers all the typical tracking you’d expect (sleep, steps/activity) but also does well timing various types of activity such as swimming and even sports. The Xiaomi Mi Band has gained incredible popularity in China, and is now available outside of China, as an ultra-affordable option. Get it on Amazon for as little as $18-27.

For those who want to monitor their heart rate, the Fitbit Charge HR is a great option. While covering the usual activity tracking, this one also does a great job as a heart rate monitor/tracker (and has a nice app with the ability to set challenges for yourself). You can also log food with a bar code scanner, food database and calorie counter.

Garmin also has a range of sophisticated options.

Stay tuned for more about all kinds of unique wearable health technologies and ways tech is changing healthcare, caregiving and our access to a healthy, long life. Sign up for our newsletter so you never miss out!

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Fun Fitness for a Long, Healthy Life


fun fitness yoga on beach

Sure, we all know it’s important to exercise. It’s one of the keys to living a long life but also one of the best ways to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and feel great. Some of us have our exercise routines pretty well locked in, but might lose motivation or get bored at times. For others, it’s always been hard to commit to exercising on a regular basis. So, today we bring you FUN fitness ideas: unique programs (and help for specific “problem areas”), cool ways to take advantage of the outdoors, and free ways to work out and find fitness partners.

FREE Fun Fitness Resources

  • Find exercise buddies with Checking our local Meetup groups for fitness activities we quickly found a walking challenge group in Brandon, “Happy Healthy Living in St. Pete” which has had meditation meetups, sunrise runs, and co-working days for a holistic approach, paddleboarding groups, kayakers, and any number of running groups, bootcamps and more. Joining Meetup is free and it’s a great way to find exercise buddies, try different types of exercise, and meet people with similar interests.
  • Check out the many Pinellas County community fitness centers and “free fitness zones”–outdoor areas with special fitness equipment (free/no membership required). Fees are involved for some of the community fitness centers but they tend to be quite affordable and may offer senior discounts.
  • Find videos online to workout at home. Youtube has an endless selection of exercise videos, as well as experts demonstrating techniques.

Unique Fun Fitness Ideas

Try a completely new form of fitness (some specially targeted at concerns you might have):

  • The Feldenkrais method (which is taught at Largo’s community center) “uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning” to help break rigidities. It has been shown to improve back and neck pain, balance and functional mobility.
  • Yoga or pilates can be very beneficial to creating strength and flexibility. There are so many types and options. Suncoast YMCA offers yoga classes for the beginner, yogalates, Hatha yoga, chair and senior yoga free for members. Hot yoga can bring a new challenge (but, like all other forms of exercise, check with your doctor first) if you’re ready to heat things up a bit! And, for us lucky residents of Tampa Bay…take advantage of the beautiful environment with beach yoga (check out Meetup for more beach yoga and exercise groups). You can find Pilates classes at various fitness centers and specialized studios for reformer Pilates. There is quite a bit of research on the positive effects of Pilates on postural alignment, body composition, back pain, and balance.
  • DancePure Barre is an increasingly popular program that uses the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fun music. It is considered a total body workout and people tend to see great results…plus it’s fun and different (and can bring you back to your ballet days!). For those who love to dance, you might also want to try Zumba (there’s also aqua Zumba and a more low-key version called Zumba Gold) or many other dance-cardio classes. An evening out ballroom or line dancing is great for you too!
  • Tai chi and qi gong are great for body and mind. The Taoist Tai Chi society offers classes at the Dunedin Hale Center and several locations throughout Pinellas County (and the U.S.). Tai chi’s benefits for balance and reducing the likelihood of falls as you get older are well-documented. It is also a great stress reducer. Qi Gong an “ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.” It heals body and mind, due to its focused attention on breathing and movement. Both of these are offered at a number of community centers in Pinellas County.

Fun Fitness in the Great Outdoors

Getting outside and exercising in the fresh air is one of the best things you can do! If you live in Tampa Bay, there’s nothing better than a walk on the beach; walking, running or biking on the Pinellas Trail (and others); joining a friend for a stroll across a bridge for a sunset view; or hiking around one of our many parks. What about trying paddleboarding or kayaking? Bring a friend or your EasyLiving companion, join a meetup or just get out and enjoy some quite time by yourself.

  • Make a goal to do one active outdoor activity/week, especially checking out new areas (there’s probably places you haven’t explored within 5 minutes of home).
  • Add simple outdoor activities to your regular routine: do some gardening, take a quick stroll after dinner, attend festivals where you spend time walking around, park further away when shopping, or walk for your local errands.

Ok, you’ve got no excuse now! There’s something for everyone (and every budget) on this list so get out there and get active. Join us on our Facebook page for ongoing fun fitness tips and to share your success stories.

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Our goal is to enable every individual we work with to live the most fulfilling life possible, with utmost dignity, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial wellbeing.