$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

Share Your Talents – Reach out to others

Share your gardening talents with others. Brighten their day.

Reaching out to others is important to your happiness.  Sharing your talents and skills will benefit both the receiver of your talents and you as the giver. Volunteer gigs were covered in our February post. Taking care of the elderly (however old elderly is?) is one way to share our good fortune with others.

But I am not necessarily talking about structured volunteer opportunities or about monetary sharing.  I’m talking about the sharing you can do from your own home. More like sharing plants, cookies, books, magazines, laughter, game playing and most importantly time.

Share your sweetness with neighbors and friends.

Share your talents.  You have a wonderful set of skills.  Different from anyone else’s. Share those skills whenever you want to. What would that look like?

  1. Are you a good cook?
  2. Do you like to bake?
  3. Is gardening a gift you have?
  4. Can you sing?
  5. Do you have the knack of remembering and delivering a good joke?
  6. Are you always crocheting something?
  7. Do you like to work jigsaw puzzles?
  8. Are you a talented woodworker? Birdhouses?
  9. Do you have computer skills?
  10. Do you have a green thumb?
  11. Can you handle a screwdriver?
  12. Are you a thrift store guru?

What’s your special talent?

Sometimes we get great pleasure from creating something.  Anything.  But the four dozen cookies we just baked are too many to sync with our Fitness goals defined previously in one of our fitness posts Share them.  Wrap them up along with the recipe and deliver them to folks who live alone or those that have small children and working parents.

An example of sharing tips

Love to crochet, knit or sew? Let’s look at crocheting afghans.

  • There are only so many Afghans you can make in so many color combinations to go with your home’s interior.
  • Create a list of friends and families whose homes you’ve visited
  • Make some notes on their color combinations and make that a long term goal for your favorite everyday past time.
  • Once your yarn construction is finished you can visit them for a little chat and “spin a little more yarn.”  They will be thrilled and you feel great.
  • Still have Afghans left? Donate to the blanket drives for the homeless.
Share the warmth of friendship.

Gardening from seed requires patience but the product you receive is good quality and abundant. Cuttings from existing plants are also nice for sharing.  Repot those little treasures and share them with neighbors and friends along with a small card that describes the plant and the care needed.  Every time they tend their little gift, they will think of you and how you care for them.

Making a roast or a large casserole sometimes exceeds our personal needs.  Share the rest with those that have only themselves to cook for. Same goes for baking pies and cakes. It will be a wonderful change and so well received.  Or if you don’t cook or bake, exchange handy man jobs with friends for their cooking excesses.  Everyone gains and a little camaraderie is thrown in for good measure.

What about your beautiful singing voice?  Other than Christmas caroling, it’s a little harder to bust into song on someone’s front porch.  Sharing your singing talent may be better utilized in an organized singing group that goes from place to place.  You may be able to work in a few jokes while performing.

Sharing equals Win/Win

The act of sharing,  gifts both you and the receiver.  This too is a win-win situation.   Wouldn’t life be great if all our interactions worked out like that?

 Make a list, however short, of your special talents.  Then make a list of friends, neighbors and acquaintenances that you would like to gift. Follow through on the example above. They will be appreciative and you will feel happy for them.

Let that be your win-win goals.  Would you like some cookies?

Dixie

writers@richlyaged.com

Fourth of July. Independence Day. So What???

Fireworks. Fourth of July Independence Day Celebration!

What does Fourth of July and freedom mean to us Americans in this 21st century?

Celebration of Independence Day!

Fourth of July is more than watermelon, homemade ice cream and fireworks. But not to a ten-year-old girl growing up in Southern Indiana.  It was all those things and more.

My Aunt and Uncle owned a farm, where they grew chickens, dairy cows, and nurtured a garden where they grew vegetables including corn. It was a great farm and always a treat to visit them and hangout with our family.

My brother and I would spend the day playing croquette in the front yard with our cousins, playing in the hayloft and then taking turns cranking the arm on the old

Home made ice cream!YUM!

wooden ice cream mixer.  That ice cream resulted from milking the cows which we got to help with. Their garden supplied lots of corn on the cob. Crispy fried chicken accounted for a couple less chickens in the chicken yard.  My parents brought the fireworks and the watermelon.

Just to put this in context, this was the age before air conditioning.  Also the age of very few television programs, certainly no cell phones or video games.  Our movie experiences were going to the Drive In and taking our own popcorn then playing on the playground during intermission. Our cooling-off treat was running through the hose and catching fireflies at night in a mason jar. This was just plain fun as we celebrated our lives and the independence of our nation.

Independence from what?

4th Of July. Independence Day.  So what?  We Americans, as far as we can remember in today’s generation have always been free.  Haven’t we?

The original freedom problem was in 1776 when we fought the British for the colonies’ independence from England and the control of the King.  Wasn’t it???  So what does freedom really mean to us??

I remember my grandmother telling me the reasons we celebrate Independence Day.  What will you tell your grandkids?

The Fourth of July is our country’s birthday. When grandchildren ask why? Tell them what happened on July 4, 1776. That was the day our country’s founders declared independence from Great Britain, the King and all that entails.

Click the link for this really good web site for these answers and others that our grandchildren or nieces and nephews may ask.

http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/holiday-activities-and-crafts/7-ways-to-teach-patriotism-to-your. Grandparents.com

Wasn’t the Revolutionary War, where we defeated the British? That war was the backlash for America’s Declaration of Independence.   What about that Declaration of Independence?  What did that document mean to the fledgling United States?

Let’s review our 7th grade U.S. History class. This link will take you to the Declaration of Independence of 1776. http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —

These United States. Symbols

And while we’re waving our flags at the town parade. What about the flag?

When you talk to your grandkids about Independence Day, explain that each part of the flag stands for something. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 original colonies, which declared their independence on July 4, 1776. Tell them that the flag is a symbol — a way to show respect and a united front.  It’s also a way to show the world what we stand for.

What about Lady Liberty?

Lady Liberty. What does she stand for?

Guarding the entrance to New York Harbor on Liberty Island, the 305-foot (93-meter) Statue of Liberty came to the United States as a gift from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Lady Liberty has been a symbol of democracy and hope for the United States since 1886.

Happy Independence Day!

Sixty three years have passed since that ten-year-old girl played croquet and churned the ice cream mixer.

Thank you founding fathers for the foresight and perseverence, against many odds and for creating the cornerstone of our great nation.

Now that we’ve covered all that stuff, could someone please pass the homemade ice cream??  The Fireworks are about to start.

Dixie

 

writers@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

Finding Your Ideal Diet and 10 Tips for Weight Loss Success

Finding your Ideal Diet

Dieting success is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

There are plenty of diets out there.  Just check out those magazines as you wait in line at the super market.  Every magazine has a diet on the cover.  It’s our national obsession.   I saw one this week that guaranteed a 38-pound weight loss in one week!

Let’s see, there’s the low-carb, high-fat, the low-fat, high carb, the Mediterranean, the every-other-day diet, the no-sugar diet, and too many more to count.  The truth is that they all can work, though I’m leery of that 38-pound claim, but the real secret is to find the diet that works for you.

I’m not going to describe them all here, but check this link to see the most successful diets of 2017. They all sound good to me in theory, but how do they work in the real world?

What Works in the Real World?

I hadn’t seen my friend Annie for several months when she hopped out of the car for a tennis match looking a svelte 26 pounds lighter!  She said she had decided simply to count calories – 1400 a day.  And she could eat whatever she wanted within that range – including two drinks in the evening.  That number of calories satisfied her and made the weight loss easy.  She’s also very active – playing tennis several times a week and walking every day.

Almost the same thing happened when I met my sister-in-law for lunch after not seeing her for a time.  She’d lost 22 pounds with Weight Watchers while working with a personal trainer.  Weight Watchers is her go-to diet.  It always works, and she looks great.

Dixie’s daughter, has had great success with a protein shake and nutritional program, again coupled with an ambitious weight-lifting program.  She’s lost more than 60 pounds and kept them off for more than three years.  She looks better in her 40’s than she did in her 20’s.

All three of these women found a particular diet that worked for them, and although they lost weight in different ways, they shared some common habits of successful dieters.  Here are some tips that can help you on your way.  All of these ideas come from Prevention Magazine.  Here’s a link to the complete article. 

Ten Tips for Weight Loss Success

Start with a Positive Attitude

This isn’t about what you can’t eat and you can’t do; it’s about how you choose to eat in a healthful way.  Definition is everything.

Plan

This will probably help you more than anything.  Consider what your week is going to be like and make sure you have the food and snacks that will make the week easy for you.

If you have a particularly busy week, maybe you could cook several meals on Sunday afternoon and they’d be there when you get home.  Also, if you have good snacks already organized, you won’t get too hungry which can destroy your best intentions.

Eat Breakfast Every Day

Most Americans don’t eat a good breakfast.  If you eat at least 250 calories of good protein, fat and carbs in the morning, you’ll be less hungry all day.

Drink Up

Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day.  Often we mistake thirst for hunger and would be satisfied with a tall glass of water.

Write It Down

There’s something about writing something down that makes us feel accountable.  If I have to write down that 200th chip, I’m less likely to eat it!

Slow Down

It takes about 15 minutes before our satiety response kicks in, so if we scarf down our entire meal in 10 minutes, we don’t even know we’re full.  This is a hard one for me.  I’ve tried all kinds of things – putting my fork down between bites, chewing every bite at least 20 times, even talking more.

I remember being told at a Weight Watcher’s Meeting once not to put something in my mouth while I still had something in my mouth.  I was surprised to find that I almost always put the next bite in before the first bite was gone!  If you’re going to eat a treat, take at least ten minutes to do it.

Breathe or Count Away Your Cravings

Try a few calming breaths or count to 100 until the immediate craving is gone.

Ditch your Baggy Clothes

It’s really easy to overeat when you wear those comfy sweats!  A tighter waistband makes it more difficult.

Don’t Get Too Hungry

Keep some good snacks around.  Have some veggies already cut up or buy them that way.  Eat before you go to the party.  Don’t starve yourself.

 

Finally, try adopting the 80/20 rule.  If you make good, nutritious, choices about 80% of the time, you’re going to succeed.  You don’t need to be perfect.

 

Good luck with finding the diet that works for you.  Here’s a quiz to help you find your best approach!

We’d love to have you share your successes with us.

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Control of Your Diet: Develop a New Mindset

The dreaded scales. Yikes!

In our search for optimum health, we began by talking about exercise, but research shows that it’s mostly what goes into our mouths that determines our weight.  We’ve got to take control of our diet, but that’s easier said than done.  You probably already know lots about dieting. You probably know the calorie and carbohydrate counts for most foods you eat.  Maybe knowledge isn’t the secret here.

You’ve heard the one about the two women who walk into any group.  One says, “I just finished my Ph.D.   Everyone says, “Oh, that’s nice. Congratulations.”  The other woman says, “I just lost 20 pounds,” and the whole room comes alive.  “How in the world did you do that?  Tell us exactly what you did so we can do it, too!”  Those 20 pounds are the Holy Grail of weight loss.  And just about as elusive.

Maybe what we need to do is think about dieting in a new way.  Let’s stop thinking about the pounds and start thinking about the process.  Let’s consider the brain before we tackle the belly.  Before we begin to explore the best diets (which we’ll do in our next post), let’s look at these seven ways to think thin – to create a new mindset that will put us in control and lead to success.

  1. Start from a positive place.  Take some time to see yourself as you’d like to be.  Don’t start by chastising yourself for the “wobbly bits” that you don’t like.  Just concentrate on how you’d like to look and feel.  Maybe you have some photos of a time when you were happy with your weight.  Put them up as a reminder.  Spend some time really visualizing your success, and be patient with yourself.  This isn’t a race.
  2. Set some small goals for yourself. Make them measurable and attainable.  Here are some suggestions from Katherine Zelman from WebMD.    Pick one or two and get started.  Order a side salad when I’m out rather than fries.  Eat five fruits and vegetables every day.  Walk 30 for minutes five times a week.  Switch from cola to water.  Drink alcohol only on weekends.  Eat low-fat popcorn rather than chips.  These goals are positive rather than negative.  They put you in charge.
  3. Ask for support. That is why groups like Weight Watchers work so well.  They make you part of a community.  But it doesn’t need to be something formal.  Ask your spouse or a friend for support in your journey.  Studies show that it helps.
  4. Plan how you’ll reward yourself. Break your weight loss into mini-goals.  After losing five pounds, give yourself a pedicure or a new shirt or a movie or any of the things you like – but not a donut!

    Use your breath to change your mindset.
  5. Use your breath to set your intention. Aleisha Fetters offers this novel suggestion in her article for shifting your mindset for better weight loss.  She tells us to slow down for ten minutes every day, lie on our backs with one hand on our belly and one on our chest and simply breathe in for four seconds and out for six seconds.  This simple action lowers the stress response, helps us to focus,  and ups our chances for success.
  6. Realize that food is just food. It’s neither good nor bad.  Spinach isn’t superior to chocolate.  If you want the occasional cookie or glass of wine.  By all means have them.
  7. Treat yourself kindly – like you would a good friend. I’ll always give my friends a break if they fail in some way, but I’m pretty hard on myself.   Adopt the new mindset and do your best, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day.  Just start over the next day.

“Food is not a reward, and exercise is not a punishment.  They are both ways of caring for your body and helping you feel your best.  You deserve both.”  Laura Cipullo, author of “Women’s Health Body Clock Diet.”

I’m working on my mindset.  Good luck with yours!  We’d love to hear your experiences.  Next time we’ll explore the major diets of 2017 and the habits of successful dieters.

Pam

writers@richlyaged.com