Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Having Trouble Sleeping?

If you or your spouse is having difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep during the night this information should help.
Poor sleep habits are not well understood and are often the cause of insomnia, not being able to stay asleep or awakening too early in the morning. Many Americans stay up too late and get up too early. Taking various kinds of drugs and chemicals (too much caffeine), working late, watching TV and other late evening or night activities overstimulate ourselves and result in sleep problems.
Suggestions that help most people fall asleep, sleep better and sleep longer.
Fix a bedtime and an awakening timeDo not be one of those people who allows bedtime and awakening time to drift. The body "gets used" to falling asleep at a certain time, but only if this is relatively fixed. Even if you are retired or not working, this is an essential component of good sleeping habits.
Avoid napping during the day. If you nap throughout the day, it is no wonder that you will not be able to sleep at night. The late afternoon for most people is a "sleepy time." Many people will take a nap at that time. This is generally not a bad thing to do, provided you limit the nap to 30-45 minutes and can sleep well at night.
Avoid alcohol 4-6 hours before bedtime. Many people believe that alcohol helps them sleep. While alcohol has an immediate sleep-inducing effect, a few hours later as the alcohol levels in your blood start to fall, there is a stimulant or wake-up effect.
Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate, so be careful.
Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.
Use comfortable bedding. Uncomfortable bedding can prevent good sleep. Evaluate whether or not this is a source of your problem, and make appropriate changes.
Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. If your bedroom is too cold or too hot, it can keep you awake. A cool (not cold) bedroom is often the most conducive to sleep.
      Block out all distracting noise, and eliminate as much light as possible.
Reserve the bed for sleep. Don't use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room. Let your body "know" that the bed is associated with sleeping.
Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
Practice relaxation techniques before bed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension. 
Don't take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed. Problem solving or even thinking of disturbing things can keep you awake. If you must think of something pick relaxing and fun things to think about—even phantasies can help you sleep.
Establish a pre-sleep ritual. Pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath or a few minutes of reading, can help you sleep.
Get into your favorite sleeping position. If you don't fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, get up, go into another room, and read until sleepy.

Getting up in the middle of the night
Most people wake up one or two times a night for various reasons. If you find that you get up in the middle of night and cannot get back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, then do not remain in the bed "trying hard" to sleep. Get out of bed. Leave the bedroom. Read, have a light snack, do some quiet activity, or take a bath. You will generally find that you can get back to sleep 20 minutes or so later. Do not perform challenging or engaging activity such as office work, housework, etc. Do not watch television.
Many people fall asleep with the television on in their room. Watching television before bedtime is often a bad idea. Television is a very engaging medium that tends to keep you up, particularly if the programming is stimulating.. Some people find that the radio or music helps them go to sleep.
Physical, psychological and medicinal factors
  • Several physical factors are known to upset sleep. These include arthritis, acid reflux with heartburn, menstruation, headaches and hot flashes.
  • Psychological and mental health problems like depression, anxiety and stress are often associated with sleeping difficulty. In many cases, difficulty staying asleep may be the only presenting sign of depression. A physician should be consulted about these issues to help determine the problem and the best treatment.
  • Many medications can cause sleeplessness as a side effect. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if medications you are taking can lead to sleeplessness.
  • To help overall improvement in sleep patterns, your doctor may prescribe sleep medications for short-term relief of a sleep problem. The decision to take sleeping aids is a medical one to be made in the context of your overall health picture.
Follow the advice of your physician and other healthcare professionals. The goal is to rediscover how to sleep naturally.
  • For more information or to arrange for a sleep consultation for adults call 410-706-4771. For children, call 410-706-3285.

Primary Content source:
University of Maryland Medical Center

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seasonal & Temporary Jobs

Many boomers and retirees are now working temporary and seasonal jobs as well as project assignments.

There is a big demand in this area as employers generally do not have to pay benefits. Any time employers find hiring from a certain demographic is more cost effective you can be sure this will be given a great deal of attention.

Research has shown that the profitability per employee has risen substantially during the past five years and much of this is due to employers increased hiring on a temporary or project basis.
The percentage of the workforce that is temporary has increased from around 17% in 2009 to 25% in 2014. Because of this increase, there are many more temporary jobs or project assignments available to job seekers of all ages. These kinds of jobs are particularly attractive to older workers as benefits are not as necessary as they were when these workers were still raising a family and before some could take advantage of Medicare.

Click here
for more information on how to find temporary jobs and project assignments along with a list of the temporary jobs most in demand.

Seasonal/Winter, Summer Jobs

In addition to temporary jobs many boomers and retirees are now working seasonal jobs. These kinds of jobs are often misunderstood and when RetiredBrains asked readers to identify a number of seasonal jobs most could only point to holiday jobs; mostly in retail or jobs for accounting professionals during tax season.

If you are interested in checking out what kinds of seasonal jobs might work for you, click here.

Where should I retire? Questions to ask

What are the 3 most important questions to ask and discuss with your spouse prior to deciding where you might retire?

1. How is your health and the health of your spouse?
2. What is the state of your finances and financial commitments?
3. What is your desired lifestyle; what’s important to you and your family?

If the location you are thinking about does not address these three areas of concern, then you should consider staying put. Of course there are many other factors that could be taken into consideration but concentrating your efforts in these three areas will make it easier for you and your spouse to find the best alternative.  Of course you can always relocate if you find you have chosen the wrong place or your needs change. That being said it is generally better to rent as opposed to purchase to test out your selection.
Things to consider when choosing a location in which to live during your retirement years:
  • Live within walking distance of basic amenities, such as health facilities, drugstores, supermarkets and banks.
  • Live within short driving distance of a hospital that has specialists in any area where you have major problems, such as heart, kidney, vision, arthritis, Alzheimer's, etc.
  • If volunteering is of interest to you, pick a community where there are opportunities.
  • If continuing your education is important to you, check the opportunities before moving.
  • If the arts are important, check the availability and locations of symphony, ballet, art museums, etc.
  • Check the crime rate.
  • Check the availability of public transportation so you can easily reach stores and the many other places you need to visit as you may not always be able to drive.
  • Choose a place that is on one level, has halls wide enough for wheelchair access, doorways at least 36 inches wide and has an outside entrance without steps.
  • Choose a place that has nonskid floors
Remember that what seems great for you and your spouse when you are in your early 60s may very well not work at all later in your retirement years.
More and more Americans are choosing to stay in or near the place where they currently live. There are financial, lifestyle and medical advantages to do so. For details on some of these advantages and modifications to your home you should consider review our information on aging in place.

If your health or the health of your spouse is or is likely to be a problem, aging in place should be given strong consideration. In any case chose a location that is convenient to appropriate medical care.

For more information on retirement locations check the resources here: http://www.retiredbrains.com/senior-living-resources/retirement-locations which include:

Identity Theft & Avoiding Scams

Best tip to avoid many identity theft problems
If you are not planning on opening new sources of credit or obtaining new credit cards place a credit freeze on your account with the three main credit agencies listed below. This will prevent the identity thief from obtaining new credit  in your name.

Identity theft and scams that target older Americans are much more common than those against younger Americans. According to a survey by the Investor Protection Trust, one out of every 5 citizens over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam, and according to the Better Business Bureau 10% of the U.S. population fall victim to consumer scams annually. This information is intended to assist those who have been scammed as well as to provide information and resources to help you avoid being scammed in the future.

First the obvious: If you have been scammed or are a victim of credit-card fraud, notify all credit card companies and tell them to issue you a new card. Place a credit-card freeze on your account with the three main credit agencies. You must also remember to place a credit freeze on the account of deceased persons. If you fail to freeze their credit a thief can steal their identity and apply for credit in that person's name. The companies and their contact numbers are Equifax, 800-525-6285; Experian, 888-397-3742 and Trans Union, 800-680-7289. 

For more resources go to http://www.retiredbrains.com/identity-theft-scams where you will find information on:
·  Craigslist Scams   

To read a MarketWatch article on avoiding scams and getting help if you are scammed go to: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avoiding-scamsand-getting-help-if-youre-scammed-2013-02-27?pagenumber=1

Visit the RetiredBrains Website

If you're looking for a job, caring for an aging parent, are worried about memory loss, have arthitis pain, planning a vacation or even want to continue your education, the information you need is at RetriedBrains.com.