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Fan55 Coffee Chat Vol. 3

Online Safety is especially important since about 70% of Seniors are online and screen time is growing. Plus telemedicine and medical wearables/feedback will probably outlive and expand after the COVID crisis. We are all learning. And about the time we think we have learned our lessons, the scammers come up with new tricks. So let’s discuss the basics: 1) Don’t click or respond to an email or text offering to fast track your COVID Stimulus Check. The secure information is on the homepage of  irs.gov.

2) Don’t send money from an online request. Don’t click on emails, texts or live links that don’t seem quite right. If you get a message from your bank (or a bank); DON’T open it unless you know it is safe. If you don’t know, simply call your banker and ask if they are needing you for something. Another variety of this scam is the headline “Is this you in the video? or “Here’s a new app for you.” Again, don’t open them. If you know the sender, initiate a correspondence to them on a different platform and assume they have been hacked.

3) Use strong passwords and change them every 6 months. Write them down in your own passcode notebook (free) or use an online app like Dashlane, Lastpass or 1Password.

4) Use 2-step verification. Once you set this up for your accounts, if a provider doesn’t recognize you, they’ll send you a code via by text or email and you’ll type in the code to get into your account.

5) Be careful with the information you provide or share on social media. Don’t reveal things that might be part of a current or future password. Don’t tell the world all of the details about your grandchildren or when you’ll be out of your house for an extended vacation. Remember there are bad actors out there.

6) Know the source of something you are reading, liking or sharing on social media. Unfollow anything you don’t trust.

Here are additional resources for Online Safety: CNBC’s How Retirees can Avoid Mounting Cybersecurity Threats, Internet Safety for Seniors, Protect Seniors Online, AARP’s Strategies for Staying Safe and Secure Online,

NO Fall Zone

25% of Americans ages 65+ fall each year and about half of those are in the home (NCOA, National Council on Aging). Since we are spending most of our time at home, let’s be safe. Wear Shoes! because socks are a slip-hazard. Wear comfy clothes that aren’t baggy as overly loose clothes can get caught on drawer handles or under foot. Get rid of cludder in your hallways, stairways and where you normally walk. Re-think rugs especially the ones that slide or are thick. Replace bulbs with the brightest recommended or LED bulbs and use your handrails. As Benjamin Franklin said in 1736, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Soothing Sleep

We need between 7.5-9 hours of sleep, yet many Seniors report fragmented and lighter sleep. Tips: Stick to a regular schedule (don’t binge on distressing news before going to bed), Avoid long naps during the day, Drink less at night (alcohol and other liquids), Exercise during the day and Breathe fresh air (in thru the nose, out slowly thru the mouth) (webmd) Make your bedroom an Official Sleep Zone in a quiet area of the house – calm wall color, dark curtain, no tv or devices. Good sleepers tend to be less depressed, have better cognitive skills and lower their risk of night falls.

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Fan55 Coffee Chat Vol. 2 Creativity and Healthy Brain Aging

Creativity means our brain is open to new ideas and we have a flexible attitude. Creativity helps to starve off brain/cognitive decline. Plus creative activities reduce depression and improves vitality and quality of life (Creativity and Successful Brain Aging: Going with the Flow by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D, psychologytoday.com).

3 Steps to Train our Creative Brain: 1) Pick the non-obvious choice 2) Look at something through another’s eyes – like a box which for a child might be a fort, a shield or a sled down a muddy hill 3)Discard what you know by seeking new facts and statistics then pause and reconsider what you know (Science Says We Get Less Creative as We Age by Rohini Venkatraman, inc.com).

Apply Your New Creativity 

Personal Creative Activities: Reading, Writing (like Matt & Karen Smith authors of Dear Bob and Sue series), Songwriting, Cooking, Doing Puzzles & Brain-teasers, Playing games or cards. There are now Guided Journals that make writing and recording important information quite easy. An example is the Read This… book series by Annie Presley & Christy Howard.

Musical Creative Activities: Listening, Singing, Learning to play an instrument are TOTAL Brain workouts that are associated with reducing anxiety, blood pressure and pain levels (Keep Your Brain Young with Music, hopkinsmedicing.org)

Spatial Arts: Drawing, Painting, Sculpting, Ceramics, Glass-blowing, Scrapbooking, Organizing your favorite collection

Dwelling Creative Activities (maybe these are chores or projects, yet let’s retrain our brain to call them “creative” outlets): Dream & draw out that new room addition, Re-decorate a room-paint, re-arrange, add new curtains, Plan then Plant your new garden, Clean and re-organize the garage

What’s Your Creative Outlet???

Now What CAN we DO?

(from Fan55 Coffee Chat Vol. 1)

FYI: Companies like FedX, Costco, Amazon, Walmart and more are looking for workers if that is of interest or an option for you.

To Do: Clean a drawer/garage or basement, Press linens, Organize your closet, Paint a room, Start a scrapbook, a book or outline your next business, Sort & donate clothes, books or the stuff you’re cleaning out of your basement, Plan your dinner, your home remodel, garden or whatever, Make a quilt (bonus: use your grown kids’ favorite t-shirts for the fabric squares), Do research on something that has always interested you but you never have had the time – now you have the time!

To Chill: Listen to music or a book (or read), Listen to a new podcast (Dear Bob & Sue is a fav), Watch a movie, Learn a new language online (Duolingo-is free), Read Play games (online) Scrabble, crosswords, Sudoku, cards, Paint/draw/color, Jigsaw puzzle, Knit/sew, Research future hobbies, Plan your next vacation (maybe with a little daydreamin’)

To Stay Moving: Getting in our steps can be a bit difficult in our dwellings. But we must keep moving to keep our muscles to keep them, our brain and our heart happy. Maybe you have a treadmill or Peloton at home. Maybe your area still allows walking/jogging outside. Many exercise gurus are livestreaming classes like Pilates, spin, bootcamps and ballet (some are free). Or check out YouTube videos (our fav is tai chi warm up exercises Dr. Paul Lam’s 11min into the video).

To Interact: Take an online class in a topic that will help you get that new job or embark on that new hobby, Facetime, phone family & friends, Get active on social media-in healthy doses, Check out virtual tours of museums and national parks, Check out Live Cams of aquariums, Pebble Beach, etc. Visit Google Arts & Culture (virtual tours of museums), Visit Smithsonian Open Access (millions of images & 3D models), Check out Metropolitan Museum of Art for Kids (MetKids)

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Reliable Old Faithful 

There’s something about knowing this famous geyser will erupt about every 44 minutes that helps us feel that life will go on. We’ll get through these dark days (indoor days) and life will get back to normal. For the live webcam, Click here & scroll down to Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin Live-stream Webcam funded by Canon USA Inc.

If Josie Can…

If Josie can… Very proud of my mom, Josie (age 90) who is now an accomplished FaceTime user! She received an older smart phone for Christmas and is “playing” with it. She lives a few states away and last night, Eureaka! there she was on my device “chattin” it up. Hmm, Josie is raising the bar reminds us there are no limits!

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And Breathe…

Deep breaths lower stress and signal our brain, and then our body to calm down and relax lowering heart rate and blood pressure. Belly Breathing: Sit or lie comfortably. Put one hand just below your ribs and the other on your chest. Breathe in thru your nose (your tummy will bloat with air). Breathe out thru puckered lips. Your tummy hand will move inward then lightly push to completely exhale. Slowly repeat 3-10 times (Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Stree Relief UofM Health).

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Delay Dementia

Delaying Dementia apprears possible by doing 6 or more activities per month including walking, reading, interacting with friends, hobbies, volunteering and attending religious services (Columbia University). The brain’s Hippocampus (memory and navigation) is known to shrink over time yet new studies suggest we can sustain its volume as we age. For more information What Science Tells Us About Preventing Dementia, Wall Street Journal, Encore Report, 11-18-19 and talk with your medical professional(s).

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What is the Silver Tsunami?

Led by seniors, baby boomers and those 55+, the Silver Tsunami will be 30% of the US population, or about 98 million people by 2020. We are living longer, staying active, eating healthy, working, volunteering, traveling, exercising, using our iPhones and so much more. And there is no how-to manual on this new type of retirement.

Therefore learning from each other and our curated article recaps, lists, hints and tips based in research reports and articles prepares you to conquer challenges. Topics include Physical and Emotional Health, Money Matters, Work & Volunteer, Interest & Leisure and Organizations, Agencies, Apps & Books.

Foodie55 is our newest topic area as our members told us they want to eat healthy and yummy. With super simple offerings, you can buy or make ingredients and toss them together.

Research, Reports and Data

Fantastic55 uses research, reports and data from many sources including the MIT Age Lab, Administration on Aging, Milken Institute for the Future of Aging; news sources like The Wall Street Journal, NBC, CNBC, Forbes, PBS and digital sources like TedX Talks, webmd.com, nextavenue.com; and organizations like AARP, National Age in Place Council and popular podcasts.

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