$70 increase: Senior Lifetime National Parks Pass

 

Seniors! Shop now for your Lifetime National Park pass before the increase.

Important Information:  Senior Lifetime Pass for National Parks increases from $10 to $80 August 27, 2017.  If you are 62 or older, buy your pass before August 27, 2017.  The lifetime pass increases from $10 to $80 in one month.

If you have a current lifetime Senior Pass, you may continue to use. If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee.

Best way now to get the Senior Pass

The increase announcement has caused a backlog of mail and online purchases.  The ideal way to obtain the pass before the increase is to visit your nearest Federal park facility.  Follow this link to find your nearest National parks by states.  You will need to provide a photo ID, driver’s license or passport.

 Question:   How much does a National Park pass for seniors usually cost?

National Parks offer Majestic Adventures

The Senior Pass is available either by mail or in person at many federal recreational sites. The mail-in application requires an extra $10 document-processing fee. To find site locations or mailing information, Web users can click Buy Recreation Passes at USGS.gov. 

At vehicle-fee sites, Senior Pass holders and their passengers in non-commercial vehicle can enter for free. At sites that charge per person, the Senior Pass allows up to three other people in the pass holder’s vehicle to enter the site for free.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents of age 62 or older are eligible for a senior pass. The pass provides access to over 2,000 sites. Pass holders are eligible for discounts on other amenities, including guided tours and campsite fees. The pass comes in the form of a hang tag, which can be displayed on the dashboard or rear-view mirror of a closed vehicle or as a decal for use in open-top vehicles.

To repeat; If you have a current lifetime Senior Pass, you may continue to use. If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee. So hang on to it!

Question:  How do you get a senior discount pass for state parks?

National Park Babbling Brook

Policies on senior discounts for state parks vary by state. In most states, a discount pass is available to those age 62 or older. Usually these passes can be purchased by mail or through the state’s Parks and Recreation website.  Check this link to ensure that the quoted amounts are still valid.

As an example, in California, seniors can get discounts at state parks simply by showing their valid photo ID. The “Golden Bear Pass” is available to seniors receiving SSI or CalWorks aid. This pass costs only five dollars for each calendar year and allows the bearer and their spouse entry to most state parks without having to pay a vehicle usage fee.

Vermont’s “Green Mountain Passport” is available to seniors who are Vermont residents for only two dollars. This pass provides free day use for life to seniors aged 62 or older and to honorably discharged military veterans.

Seniors aged 65 or older in Missouri only need to show their valid photo ID at campsites to get a discount of two dollars per night.

Find additional questions and answers about the increased fee.

For more questions and answers on the new fee increase follow this link, USGS Update

Questions about why the fee jumped and information about other benefits included with the Senior Pass are discussed.

My recent story about National Park passes

J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel, Florida

We are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park at the end of the summer.   I checked back to my previous National Park article, went to USGS and was surprised to find the increase.

I visited the National listing for parks in each state (link above) and found the nearest location to me in Florida. Called the number to confirm that Senior passes were available, what they required for identification and their hours.

We drove to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and purchased our passes in the Nature Gift Store. They looked at our photo drivers licenses took our $10 per pass and issued us our cards.

In Summary

The transaction took five minutes.  While there, we used our passes to do the driving tour through the beautiful refuge.  Everyone was pleasant and helpful.

Get your pass as soon as possible.  Remember, If you lose it, you will need to replace it at the new fee. So hang on to it!

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

richlyaged.com

Discover your Exercise Style and Stick With It!

First find something that you love to do . . .

Find something you love to do. It’s fun and it’s good for you!

In our last post you took a quiz to discover your ideal diet.  Here are a couple of quizzes to help you discover your exercise style and stick with it!  All it takes is finding something you love.

When I was 30, my husband and I moved to New Hampshire.  I did no exercise at all.  In fact, I got a side ache when I tried to walk only a short mile home after dropping my car off for service.  The whole thing was made worse by living through my first New Hampshire winter after living in Texas.   I mostly stayed under the covers reading books and eating peanut butter sandwiches.  I gained over 20 pounds that winter!  As the weather began to warm, my fit next-door neighbor took pity on me and invited me to take a walk.

We began slowly, just walking around the neighborhood, but soon we were walking five-miles-an-hour through the lovely New Hampshire countryside.  The walking made me feel good.  It gave me energy and a sense of control.  The conversation that I shared with my new friend as we walked made it even more fun. That simple invitation to walk led me to fall in love with exercise.

Soon, I joined a gym and added classes and working with weights to the mix.  Over the next 38 years, I’ve engaged in many kinds of exercise, but all of it has been fun.  I only do things that are fun for me. That’s the point.  We need to find things we love to do.  That way, we’re in it for the long haul.  I still do some kind of exercise six days a week.

Exercise is the best medicine . . .

Here’s another success story.  Dixie and I have a friend named Jim who retired and wanted to learn a new sport.  So he took up tennis, playing several times a week.  At his prior yearly physical, he had been told that he had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

After six months of playing tennis, but doing nothing else different, Jim went back to the doctor where he discovered that his blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar were all within the normal range.  When he told his physician that the only thing he’d done differently was to play tennis, the doctor said maybe he should get a racket and take up the game too!  It turned out that playing tennis was the best medicine.

“TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY. IT’S THE ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE.”  Jim Rohn

This isn’t about holding your nose and doing something awful that is good for you.  It’s about finding something you love to do and enjoying it most days of the week.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Dance by yourself or in a class (line dancing, ballroom dancing, tap dancing, ballet, aerobics, Zumba).
  • Walk briskly with a friend or with your spouse or by yourself.  Walk around your house during commercials.
  • Jog or run.
  • Take an aerobics class.
  • Explore Yoga or Pilates.
  • Swim or just walk or run in the pool.  It’s great for your joints.
  • Take a hike.  Enjoying nature makes this all even better.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Hire a personal trainer and develop a personal workout.
  • Begin lifting some weights.  Even cans out of your pantry will work.
  • Buy an exercise video and do it in the privacy of your own home.
  • Find an exercise program on television and do it three or four times a week.
  • Join a running group and begin to train.
  • Consider kayaking or canoeing.

    Learn to Tango! Dancing is great exercise.
  • And here are a few more . . .

  • Learn a new sport.   Golf?  Bocce?  Shuffleboard?  Pickle Ball?
  • Play tennis.
  • Walk the golf course.
  • Do something again that you used to enjoy.  Racquetball.  Volleyball.  Softball.
  • Train for a race.
  • Walk your dog.
  • Take a spin class.  You can go at your own pace and it gives great fitness results.
  • Find a new winter sport – skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.
  • Try out rock or wall climbing.
  • Join a fitness challenge.  It’s a great way to stay motivated for a set period of time.
  • Take a Boot Camp class.  Some people love them!
  • Subscribe to a fitness magazine.  It will inspire you.
  • Keep a fitness journal.  How far did you walk, run, ski, and swim?  How did you feel?
  • Set some measurable fitness goals.
  • Reward yourself – not with food – but perhaps with a new workout outfit or some particularly nice golf balls.

Then stick with exercise for the long term . . .

 Once you’ve found something – or many things – you like to do, keep doing them.  You’ll see benefits within a very few weeks.  Amazingly enough, older people who begin exercising gain more benefits than those who are younger.  Aside from the obvious health benefits, you’ll gain a sense of pride and accomplishment from taking charge of your health.  Here are some things to help you stick with it.

  • Bring a friend along.  It’s always fun to do something together.
  • Make it competitive.  Some people enjoy exercise more when it’s part of a competition.
  • Join a team.  Once you’ve made that commitment, you’re required to show up.
  • Use music or podcasts to inspire your workouts.  Studies show that listening to music while running, for instance, makes exercise seem easier.
  • Join a gym or your local YMCA.  You’ll have some skin in the game, and you’ll make friends in the classes, as well.
  • Create a fitness journal to chart your progress.
  • Reward yourself with something big if you do something big.  When we finally stopped smoking, we went on a cruise!

Let us know about your own journey toward fitness!  We’d love to share it.

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com

Start Small for Fitness . . . but Start!

Take a walk. It’s great for your body and your mind!

As part of our series on creating optimum health, we’ll begin by exploring the role of exercise.  The key is to start small for fitness . . . but start.

 There’s a man living in our community who bases his entire retirement life on his fitness schedule.  At 86-years-old, he starts his day with a bike ride.  Then he walks on the treadmill for an hour and lifts some weights. He plays either tennis or golf daily and finishes off his day with an hour’s swim.

Standing straight and tall, he has the energy, flexibility, and body of a much younger man.  He also has a schedule that would exhaust most of us.  No wonder he takes a nap every day!

This story is both inspirational and daunting!

Many of us fail to fulfill our health resolutions because we try to do too much too soon. We vow to completely overhaul our diets while working out like our 86-year-old example.  Then we’ll top it off with a nightly yoga class for relaxation.

After about three days of starvation and the sore muscles that come from doing nothing to working out for hours every day, we’re so tired that we fall asleep on our yoga mat and just give up the whole darn plan. Drastic changes are not the way to succeed with healthy living.

Instead, we need to take some baby steps – to make some small changes:  eat a little less and move a little more.  Here are some suggestions for getting started with exercise.

Start small but get started!
  • Set some goals that you can measure and check off. Don’t say, “I’ll get fit.” How are you going to measure that?  Instead say, “I’ll walk for 30 minutes five days this week.”  You’ll know if you fulfill your goal.

If you think that’s too much of a commitment, try breaking it down into smaller units. Try taking a ten-minute walk after every meal.  This isn’t a bad way to get your 30 minutes of exercise a day.  You don’t even have to go outside  (although that’s nice).  You can walk around your own living room if you want.  I worked with a woman in her 90s who used this method.  She faithfully walked for 10 minutes after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That way she got more than 150 minutes of exercise every week, and she seemed years younger than her age.

  • See if you can just add a little more activity into every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Park a little further from the store.  Get up and walk around the house during commercials while watching TV.
  • Get a dog. It will have to be walked!  Plus you meet all those other dog lovers.

 

  • Buy yourself a pedometer and go for 10,000 steps a day (but not the first week).  There’s something so satisfying about seeing those numbers mount up.  It gives you a real feeling of accomplishment.

 

  • Get some great workout clothes. Sometimes that’s what you need to get out there.

 

  • Sleep in your workout clothes. When you wake up in the morning, put your shoes on and go straight out the door.

 

  • If you really don’t want to get started, just try to do something for five minutes. Most times, once you get started, you can keep going for 30 minutes.

The really good news about fitness is that it’s never too late to start.  In fact, recent studies show that those who start exercising late in life reap even greater benefits than those who have been exercising all along!

If there is a fountain of youth, this is it!  You are in control of your own life, so make up your mind to find something physical that you like to do – walking, swimming, tennis, yoga, water aerobics, dancing  – the list is endless, and do it for 150 minutes a week.  Start small . . . but start!  You will be so glad you did.

Pam

writers@richly aged.com

 

Optimum Health – the Key to Vibrant Longevity

Overview

As part of our exploration of positive aging, we’ve just finished a series on building extraordinary relationships.  We know that concentrating on those we love yields strong benefits of happiness in this time of our lives.  But there’s something else we need to concentrate on – and that’s ourselves.  We’re responsible for creating optimum health – the key to vibrant longevity.  All we need is a plan!  Let’s start with exercise.

Take control to create optimum health and vibrant longevity

What does exercise do for you?

 If there were a pill that would help you manage your weight, improve your health, reduce your stress, make you look and feel better, and possibly live longer, would you take it?  Of course, you would.  Although there’s no pill that will do all that, there is a simple thing we can do each day to gain those benefits.  It’s called “exercise,” and it can be the fountain of youth for retirees.

Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits to everyone, but especially to seniors.  It improves blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cognitive function.  It lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, and colon cancer – to name just a few.

It improves our mood and gives us energy, and it may even make us live longer.  According to Dr. I-Min Lee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard professor,  a middle-aged person who gets the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise – defined as the level of brisk walking – can expect a 1-to-7 return:  seven extra minutes of life gained for each minute of exercising.

Protect your pocketbook by protecting your health.

If that’s not enough to get you off the couch, consider your pocket book.  In order to prevent spending much of our retirement savings on health-related or medical expenses, we need to invest in a healthy lifestyle and avoid being sedentary.

If we want retirement to be a time not to slow down – but to explore new adventures, we need our health.  It’s worth more than gold.

And it’s never too late to begin.  Health benefits can be gained into the 90’s and even beyond.  Just get started.

Embrace Healthy Living

Begin by making a commitment to working toward a healthy lifestyle. Our health is largely a result of our own decisions.

According to a groundbreaking study on Successful Aging sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, only 30% of how we age can be attributed to our genes.  The remaining 70% is determined by our lifestyle choices.

A life of television watching has its consequences.  We boomers do like our TV. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than four hours of TV every day (or 28 hours a week.  That’s two months of nonstop TV watching per year.  In a 65-year life, that person will have spent nine years glued to the tube!

Moving toward optimum health doesn’t have to be done all at once, and it doesn’t require drastic changes.  Instead, it means taking a series of small, incremental steps toward the healthy life you seek.  Like the legs on a three-legged stool, this kind of lifestyle rests on three supports:  solid nutrition, regular exercise, and a reduction in stress.

What about diet?

Eat right for optimum health

Since our metabolism slows as we age, we need less food to make the energy we need.  That’s why so many seniors suffer from creeping weight gain. The addition of only a pound a year can result in a significant and unwelcome change in our bodies by the time we retire.  The National Institute of Health recommends that we choose nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and poultry, rather than calorie-heavy foods like candy and chips.

That’s easier said than done, especially when it seems that almost everything we do revolves around food and drink.  Exercise can be the saving grace here!  The NIT also recommends getting 150 minutes a week of physical activity.  That sounds like a lot, but it’s easier than you think and will be discussed in detail in this chapter.  Somehow it’s easier to take a walk when you realize you can trade it for a bit more food.  We’ll be talking more about diet later in this series.

Controlling stress is important!

Exercise can also help to reduce the stress we all deal with every day.  Aerobic exercise causes the release of endorphins that help us feel better.  People manage stress in all kinds of ways, so you’ll need to find what works best for you.  It might be learning to meditate or practicing yoga, or it might just be getting outside to enjoy nature or sitting quietly to reflect on the good things in your life.  We’ll explore some of the options for controlling stress in this series.

The good news is that you are in control.  You can take charge of your health at any age and make adjustments to create optimum health and vibrant longevity.

We hope you’ll join us in this part of the adventure!

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com

 

Get outside your comfort zone!

I must be honest:  I’m a physical chicken.

I’m pretty brave emotionally – love

Pam and Bob anticipating a retirement life of sailing.

new jobs, adore new cities, even new countries.  But a roller coaster leaves me weak in the knees.  Don’t even mention going up in hot air balloon.  Not so my buddy Dixie.  She barrels down the mountain on her skis, goes para-sailing at the drop of a hat, slalom skis in the Mediterranean, and once even considered hang-gliding off a mountain in Switzerland.  The only thing that kept her grounded was her lack of the language.  Thank goodness she couldn’t speak German because I couldn’t even bear to watch!

So when we first retired, I decided to use Dixie as an inspiration and get out of my comfort zone by facing my fear of sailing – something my husband dearly wanted to do.

You can't control the wind but you can adjust your sails
Dixie: In yellow shorts with toes in the water on a friend’s sailboat on the Columbia River.

Bob longed to become a proficient sailor and enjoy the open water and the mastery of the winds.  I loved the idea of learning something new with my husband and envisioned the times we would spend enjoying the experience and sharing long hours with friends unfettered by the constraints of land.  But I was scared.

Facing my fears, we signed up for a water safety class believing this would quell any anxiety about sailing.

Good idea, wrong outcome!  I tried this sailing stuff earlier in our life but felt like circumstances were different enough now in retirement that this time would be positive.

Stay within your comfort zone.

In the middle of the water safety class that listed all the things that could go wrong – ending with fire – I stood up and announced to the class that I took this class to calm my fears but now knew at least ten more ways we could die in a sailboat.

We eventually made it onto the water, learned to tack and how to get ourselves off when we ran aground, but I was always more comfortable with the boat sitting straight up and going slow.  None of that heeling over for me!

During my final sailing experience, our small motor fell off the transom and into the water.  We had to sail into the nearest gas dock.   Need I say more?  I literally jumped off the boat!  That day I decided that I’d faced my fears and gone to the very edge of my comfort zone.  And that was enough of that.

Remember what I told you about Dixie wanting to hang-glide off the mountain in Switzerland?  Well, there’s more to the story.

Alps language barrier prevented jump.

We rode up to the top of the world that morning on a ski-lift.  In the summer, ski-lifts are very, very high up in the air – especially in the Alps.  I just closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing deeply till we made it to the top.  But there’s no way I could ride that thing back down.  So Dixie and Rick took the lift down at the end of the day, and Bob and I took several hours to walk down.  Even walking, I felt like I was going to fall off the mountain.  I told you I was a chicken!

Still there’s something satisfying about looking something you fear squarely in the eye and doing it anyway.  I’m glad I did.  But if you’ve done it, and it’s still scary, it’s okay to give it up.  I’ll be happy to ride in your sailboat.  I just don’t want to sail my own.  And keep it upright, please.  None of that heeling over!

What fears have you overcome?  Send us a photo, and we’ll post it.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

 

 

Learning New Things – Okay like What?

 

In our last post, Dixie talked about learning new things.  But what?  Glad you asked!

Most of our friends started tennis AFTER retirement.

Below are a few suggestions that come to mind.

  • Study Art History
  • Play the Piano or any instrument
  • Take up Tennis, Golf or Tai Chi
  • Understand classical music or any other type of music
  • Become a master Yogi
  • Take up painting, watercolor, acrylics, and oils. No? Paint the house?
  • Knit, Crochet, Sew
  • Learn to make magnificent sauces.
  • Horseback ride
  • Make jewelry.
  • Woodwork, build a boat and on and on

Explore your options

Don’t second guess yourself.  Incubate your idea of who you are and let it live. You may have formed restricting opinions about your abilities throughout your work years that aren’t actually true. Discard those opinions and test it yourself.  You are different now than you were when you approached the idea in the past and the idea may be associated with a negative situation that no longer is relevant.  Give it a chance.  Learn new things.  You’ve got time!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right!” Henry Ford

Maybe your adventure list includes wishing you could play the piano whether to dazzle your friends at gatherings or simply to entertain yourself with the music you’ve enjoyed throughout your life. Make a plan. Start by selecting a nearby instructor who is affordable or a friend who plays and begin at the very beginning or take up where you left off in childhood.

The key is START.  Give it a fair amount of time and if becoming a pianist is a fit for you, then keep on. Remember though, new ventures take time for mastery and can be frustrating, but it takes a grain of irritating sand to make a pearl.  In retirement, you have time.  That fact is as beautiful as the pearl!

Take up a sport, or go back to school!

This scenario applies to tennis, art history, sign language, jewelry making, flower arranging, golf, ice skating, kayaking etc.  Your list could go on and on.   Learn a new language or audit a college course where you don’t have to write the papers or worry about the grades.  Your choices are infinite.

Try a new sport or resume one from yesteryear.  There are benefits from an active, competitive sport combined with exercise.  It’s good for you; it’s fun and you meet other retired people with like interests.

If it’s not tennis, then play golf, bocce ball, softball, bowling, shuffleboard, or swimming. Take up archery, ballroom dancing, or bicycling. There are so many opportunities to exercise and play with others.  Have fun and keep active.   If you still have an unmet need to compete and advance since you retired, this could be the answer to that void.

Learn a language; it’s good for you!

How about learning a new language?  This one is great for your brain!  Well, actually, every single one of these ideas help us to age positively and live the kind of vibrant lives we seek.  There’s all kinds of evidence that learning new things is good for us – both physically and emotionally.  Check out this article.

What are we learning?

Here are some of the things Dixie and I have done over the past couple of years to keep on learning.  We both learned to play tennis and now play on a couple of teams.

Music makes you happy and builds brain power!

We took ballroom dancing lessons with our husbands last winter.  I never thought my husband would do it, and I could barely drag him off the floor.  I’m studying Spanish and learning to play the Ukulele – with varying results on both!  Dixie took a painting course and produced some really great stuff.  And we’ve learned how to blog – a never-ending learning curve!

I agree with our old friend Henry Ford who had something else to say about learning.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  Henry Ford

We’d love to hear what you’ve been learning over the past few years.

Pam

Writers@richlyaged.com