Active Seniors Network

The Essence of Independence

Tips for Marketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers

Article by Caron Beesley

Brought to you from FindHelp4Seniors.com

For many years, marketing to seniors has been regarded as a waste of time – that this demographic was set in its ways and closed to new ideas. But a few years ago, marketing expert Seth Godin published a blog post entitled “Marketing to Seniors (open and closed)”, that essentially turned this misconception on its head.

In fact, Godin insists that seniors are just as open to new experiences, products, and lifestyle choices as the hot and favored marketing demographic – 18-34 year olds.

Why? Two words: “baby boomers”.

As Godin explains, “Baby boomers have been open their whole lives. And now they are seniors. So all the conventional wisdom goes out the window. Senior travel, senior fashion, senior experiences… it’s all fair game, because there’s a different demographic inhabiting that age group now.”

This got me thinking. My parents are baby boomers. They grew up in the 60s, were entrepreneurs and self-employed for 45 years. Now retired, they are enjoying the fruits of their labors – dining out, going to the gym, travelling the world (seniors account for account for 80% of all luxury travel), upgrading their home, embracing technology (I bought my mother a new laptop for her 65th birthday), and so on.

In fact, seniors are the fastest growing user segment to embrace computer technology; they spend $7 billion online annually. And with an average income per capita that is 26 percent higher than the national average (according to Senior Magazine Online), “seniorizing” your business marketing might just be a wise move.

Tips for Marketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers

Seniors and baby boomers make up a whopping 23.4 percent of the population. As with any other demographic, there is no silver bullet for marketing to this group. But one thing’s for sure, it’s not just about senior discounts anymore. Here are some tips to consider.

1. Focus your Message on “Feel Age” not “Real Age”

The expression “you’re only as old as you feel” actually has some scientific truth, and brings with it a lesson for marketers. Southern Methodist University (SMU) Marketing Professor Tom Barry has been researching the senior market with a particular focus on “cognitive age”, otherwise described as “feel age”.

Barry’s findings indicate that those with a younger outlook than their actual age generally evidence better health, which, in turn, influences personal economics, life satisfaction, attitudes toward aging, and activities and level of participation in organizations.

So the message to marketers is to focus on “feel age” not real age. But how does this translate into your marketing habits?

Barry suggests “Use models that are cognitively younger; they don’t have to look younger, but have a persona that is psychologically younger. The content of advertising, sales, and marketing messages should be cognitively based. For example, we don’t use medicine to avoid osteoporosis because we are afraid our bones will break, but because we want to go to the museum and play golf.”

Read more in SMU’s news bulletin: “Marketing to Seniors: Age Really is a State of Mind”.

2. Building Trust

Seniors and baby boomers generally buy what everyone else buys. But they tend to take more time to research and plan what and how they spend their money.

As a business owner, this means earning their trust. And. one of the best tools in your marketing toolkit for achieving this is to perfect your customer service – satisfaction comes first, but loyalty is earned and in the long term counts for much more.

3. Which Marketing Vehicles Should you Use to Reach Seniors and Boomers?

If you are thinking of developing a specific marketing strategy to reach and engage seniors, start small, keep an eye on ROI and adjust your tactics as needed.

Small might mean running a series of ads in your local newspaper accompanied by a “sponsored editorial piece” that showcases your knowledge about the needs of your market and how your product can serve it.

As with all target markets, you need to reach your customers where they are – and for more and more seniors and baby boomers this means taking your marketing online.

According to Kinsesis, a Portland, Oregon, web design and branding firm, the number of seniors using the Internet grew by 55 percent between 2004 and 2009. The largest percentage increase in use of the Internet has actually been in the 70-75 age group. And it’s not just Internet that seniors are embracing, they are a big presence on social media sites too.

“The No. 1 online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors.” Facebook jumped to the number three slot from (it was number 45 in 2008, with Windows Media Player at number two).

Baby boomers, however, are the real online force, as the Kinesis article goes on to explain: “More than 60 percent of those in the Baby Boomer generational group actively consume socially created content like blogs, videos, podcasts, and forum.”

So if your target market is seniors and baby boomers, you clearly cannot ignore search engine optimization and social media marketing.

Read the original article for more data: “Marketing to Seniors and Baby Boomers? Use Internet Marketing and Social Media to Reach Them!” and for tips read this article from my fellow blogger Sean Gallagher: “Getting Started with Social Media Marketing”.

Email marketing also remains a powerful force in marketing to seniors – when used properly it still outranks all other forms of direct marketing in terms of ROI. Depending on your particular target you may need to pay attention to the visual preferences and needs of the senior market – are your fonts too small? Is your email too visually cluttered? Is your call to action clear and apparent?

For more tips on using email marketing read “Getting Started with Email Marketing: ‘The Most Powerful Tool in Your Relationship-Building Toolbox“.

What’s your experience of selling and marketing to seniors and baby boomers? Share your experiences and tips with other small business owners below.

Brought to you from FindHelp4Seniors.com

For assistance with marketing to seniors, contact Saskia Wijngaard, founder of FindHelp4Seniors.com – home to the most comprehensive online directory for senior-friendly services across North America.

FindHelp4Seniors.com is a meeting place for seniors across North America as well as their families and caregivers, and provides seniors with access to the best senior-friendly community resources, services, agencies, and businesses.

For peace of mind for you and your loved ones, contact Saskia directly at 905.855.1558 or via email at Saskia@Everything4Seniors.ca

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Marketing to Seniors, Senior Friendly | , , , | Leave a comment

Physical Activity Has an Anti-Aging Effect on Cardiovascular System

Brought to you from FindHelp4Seniors.com

Article by SeniorJournal.com, December 1, 2009

People who engage in regular physical activity are gaining an anti-aging weapon that will help them live longer lives. New research finds intensive exercise prevents aging of the cardiovascular system by preventing shortening of telomeres – the DNA that bookends the chromosomes and protects the ends from damage, a protective effect against aging.

Researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association that they measured the length of telomeres in blood samples from two groups of professional athletes and two groups who were healthy nonsmokers, but not regular exercisers.

The telomere shortening mechanism limits cells to a fixed number of divisions and can be regarded as a “biological clock.” Gradual shortening of telomeres through cell divisions leads to aging on the cellular level and may limit lifetimes. When the telomeres become critically short the cell undergoes death.

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to researchers who discovered the nature of telomeres and how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

“The most significant finding of this study is that physical exercise of the professional athletes leads to activation of the important enzyme telomerase and stabilizes the telomere,” said Ulrich Laufs, M.D., the study’s lead author and professor of clinical and experimental medicine in the department of internal medicine at Saarland University in Homburg, Germany.

“This is direct evidence of an anti-aging effect of physical exercise. Physical exercise could prevent the aging of the cardiovascular system, reflecting this molecular principle.”

Essentially, the longer telomere of athletes is an efficient telomere.

The body’s cells are constantly growing and dividing and eventually dying off, a process controlled by the chromosomes within each cell. These chromosomal “end caps” — which have been likened to the tips of shoelaces, preventing them from fraying — become shorter with each cell division, and when they’re gone, the cell dies. Short telomeres limit the number of cell divisions, Laufs said.

In addition, the animal studies of Laufs and colleagues show that the regulation of telomere stabilizing proteins by exercise exerts important cellular functions beyond the regulation of telomere length itself by protecting from cellular deterioration and programmed cell death.

In the clinical study, researchers analyzed 32 professional runners, average age 20, from the German National Team of Track and Field. Their average running distance was about 73 kilometers (km), a little over 45 miles, per week.

Researchers compared the young professional athletes with middle-aged athletes with a history of continuous endurance exercise since their youth. Their average age was 51 and their average distance was about 80 km, or almost 50 miles, per week.

The two groups were evaluated against untrained athletes who were healthy nonsmokers, but who did not exercise regularly. They were matched for age with the professional athletes.

The fitness level of the athletes was superior to the untrained individuals. The athletes had a slower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure and body mass index, and a more favorable cholesterol profile, researchers said.

Long-term exercise training activates telomerase and reduces telomere shortening in human leukocytes. The age-dependent telomere loss was lower in the master athletes who had performed endurance exercising for several decades.

“Our data improves the molecular understanding of the protective effects of exercise on the vessel wall and underlines the potency of physical training in reducing the impact of age-related disease,” Laufs said.

The German Research Association and the University of Saarland funded the study.

Co-authors are: Christian Werner, M.D.; Tobias Furster, medical student; Thomas Widmann, M.D.; Janine Pöss, M.D.; Christiana Roggia, Ph. D.; Milad Hanhoun, M.D.; Jürgen Scharhag, M.D.; Nicole Buchner, Ph. D.; Tim Meyer, M.D.; Willfried Kindermann, M.D.; Judith Haendeler, Ph. D. and Michael Böhm, M.D.

Additional Resources:
• The American Heart Association’s Start! initiative encourages all Americans to participate in regular physical activity. Start! includes personalized walking plans for people at any fitness level. Visit http://www.startwalkingnow.org to download the Start! Walking Plans and locate Start! Walking Paths near you.

Saskia Wijngaard is founder of FindHelp4Seniors.com, which is home to the most comprehensive online directory for senior-friendly services across North America. FindHelp4Seniors.com is a meeting place for seniors across the U.S. as well as their families and caregivers. The goal has been to ensure that U.S. seniors have access to the best senior-friendly community resources, services, agencies, and businesses – giving you and your loved ones peace of mind.

Saskia can be reached at 905.855.1558 or via email at Saskia@Everything4Seniors.ca

February 19, 2010 Posted by | Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Retirement Bad for Your Health?

A friend told me about some pretty shocking statistics indicating that retirees experience dramatically poorer health than their working counterparts. At first I couldn’t believe it, so I did some research of my own. Sure enough, many studies (some of which are referenced at the bottom) have shown that statistically, people who retire have not only poorer physical health, but poorer mental health as well. They were more likely to have mobility issues, serious ailments and experience depression. However, this doesn’t mean that we should try to keep working until we’re 90. Upon closer inspection, the statistics show that it is those people in full retirement who are suffering these ailments. Retirees who take on part-time jobs or have full social calendars generally maintain much better health than those who retire and become idle. When you think about it, these statistics makes sense. The workplace provides an automatic social network which gives people more incentive to take care of themselves physically. You don’t want to be seen as slovenly by your colleagues, and so you are more likely to eat well and exercise. Even if all the exercise you get in a day is walking up the stairs to your office, at least it means you’re moving from the couch. It is well-established that people with healthy relationships sustain better mental health. The workplace provides a place to form those friendships and support systems. It allows you to see your friends consistently and without too much effort on your part. After retirement, it becomes a task to get together- you have to set up a lunch date instead of just stopping by a friend’s work desk. As a result, many of these relationships fall away after retirement. Unfortunately, mental health seems to be falling away with them. All of these statistics seem to be trying to scare us away from retirement, but we need to remember is that retirement is NOT a death sentence. It provides endless opportunities to do things that you never had time for. You could take up hiking, get a dog, take a cooking class, join a book club and the list goes on; anything to keep your life busy and fulfilling. The secret is not that we shouldn’t retire, it’s that we must learn to retire right. http://chattahbox.com/health/2009/10/15/study-full-retirement-may-be-bad-for-your-physical-and-mental-health/ http://www.canada.com/topics/finance/story.html?id=0ae64432-f8d7-4e58-b7ad-51e8d6a16862 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8307750.stm

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THINK LIKE THE 60s’ IN YOUR 60s’

By Michael Sullivan (A Rebel with a Cause)

For the past three years I have been consumed by the wonder as well as the trials and tribulations of the issues related to aging, with a particular focus on the issues for those age 60 and above.  Fostered by the influx of magazine articles, television specials, the experiences of friends, family and myself, it is a constant “in your face” issue and a personal challenge for many of us.

I will be sharing both my opinions and some facts I have gleaned from my research and interviews. I realize it is impossible to generalize about everyone, and if my views don’t apply to you, no problem just hit delete or disregard them.  If you are already satisfied with your perspective and personal realities relative to aging this article may reinforce your perspectives or may be utilized to inspire a loved one to address their issues related to aging.

I began my journey by trying to understand and control my frustration with the intellectual disconnect related to what I call the ‘HUMAN NATURE SYNDROME’ and how it keeps us from being the best that we can be, especially as we age in our 60s’ and beyond.  It is absolutely amazing to me that so many of us are not happy and healthy especially in our later years, despite the fact that everything we need to know and do to lead happy and healthy lives has been documented and published for eons

In their book “The Power Years,” Ken Dychtwald and Daniel Kadlec write:

“As we look downstream at retirement and old age, we don’t like what we see. We’re noticing that for the majority of today’s older adults, the retirement dream is proving to be an unhappy and diminished period of life that is too often characterized by social isolation, loneliness, inertia, a sense of personal diminishment, and financial dependency.”

We have all heard or read the “right things” to do to age well until we are ready to scream and yet we don’t embrace them.  For instance, we don’t: eat right, exercise enough, reduce stress, stop smoking etc, etc, etc.  I know aging brings with it physical and mental realities (I am 62) but the degree to which many of us do nothing to address them or in fact accelerate them is simply beyond belief.  What part of our own human nature allows us to not love ourselves enough to do what we know is best for us?  Best for us not based on opinion but on fact.  Think about it as it applies to you and those things you are not doing that will help you lead a better life as you age.  If anyone finds a “cure” for this ‘HUMAN NATURE SYNDROME’ they will become a billionaire.

I don’t propose to have a cure, but perhaps a perspective and context that will help you look at how you are aging and inspire you to do what is necessary for you to be the best you can be at 60 and beyond.

We all need to focus on our health and fitness regardless of our age and especially as we approach our 50s and beyond.   However, I have focused on our 60s’ because it is my belief that in general (especially in light of the current economic situation and its impact on our net worth) our 60s’ offers us the first opportunity to truly rebalance our lives between vocation, avocation, financial needs, having fun and most importantly taking care of ourselves.  Our 60s’ represent the tipping point and bridge to the rest of our lives.  I also believe that no other decade has as protracted an impact on our lives as our 60s’. The decisions we make relative to rebalancing the key components (health, financial, spiritual, vocational, etc.) of life in our 60s’ will have a profound and in some cases irreversible affect on the quality of the remainder of our lives. So, how are we to more effectively manage how we age? Well, here it is.

MY PREMISE:

  1. Apply the attitude of the 1960s’ to your 60s’
  2. Make Your Physical Fitness/Health a daily priority
  3. Identify and address the real core reason(s) why physical fitness is not a priority to you

THE 60s’ IN YOUR 60s’

We need to apply the “attitude of the 1960s” when we challenged everything and challenge all the current myths and misplaced beliefs related to aging especially from one’s 60s’ and beyond. For example, challenge the following:

  • That it is normal to have aches and pains;
  • Sex and intimacy is not as important anymore;
  • A pill is necessary to perform (allowing exceptions that apply for medical reasons);
  • Exercising 30 minutes a day will get you fit;
  • Can’t participate in more adventurous activities;
  • Guaranteed loss of energy

In many cases these myths and beliefs are “sold” to us by pundits and companies with profit motives. These myths and misplaced beliefs become a reality only if we allow them to do so.

Some of us believe the manner in which we age and the issues we face are predetermined by our genes.  However according to Dr. Steven Cherniskie, PhD, only 35% or our longevity is determined by our genetic makeup.  So, two-thirds of our life span is under our control.  And if you are at genetic risk, isn’t that all the more reason to prioritize addressing your health related issues? How we age and how we feel about aging, therefore, is up to us.

MAKE YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS A DAILY PRIORITY

I know what you are thinking —If one more person tells me to exercise, two things are going to happen—-first, I am going to scream and second, I’m going to shoot them.  Well get ready and hold your thoughts of shooting me until you finish the article.  And as I stated earlier, if you don’t agree with me—no problem, just ignore me and you won’t have a felony conviction on your record.

What do I mean by physical fitness? I mean, that through a minimum of one hour of daily exercise and good nutrition you achieve a balance between endurance, strength, flexibility, energy level, balance and body weight.   It is different for everyone but you will know what is right for you—you will simply ‘feel’ the impact of your choices; you will feel great!  There are thousands of educational and fitness resources available to you to determine your needs and the best plan to address them.  I know we also need to have mental, spiritual, emotional, and sexual health, for they are all interrelated, but I believe physical fitness is the linchpin.  So, unless you are the best multi-tasker in the world, fitness is the best initial place to focus our time and energy as we rebalance our lives in our 60s’ and beyond.  Jack LaLane in a recent interview in the Men’s Journal said it well—“Exercise is king.  Nutrition is queen. Put them together, and you’ve got a kingdom.”

When you ask people what is most important to them, a great majority say their health.  From that point on it gets very complicated, especially when one tries to keep the approach for staying healthy simple, realistic, implementable and relative to the ‘Human Nature Syndrome’, that I mentioned earlier, sustainable.  To most of the folks I speak with, health to them means freedom from major illnesses such as Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Dementia in their later years.  But why not feel as healthy as you can, all the time, by being fit; and, in so doing, help prevent the possible onslaught of one or all of these diseases?  While it sounds reasonable, logical, practical and achievable, most of us don’t make it our priority.

Let’s talk some more about why we should make physical fitness a daily priority.  I’ll throw in some hard data (add the quote noted above by Dychtwald and Kadlec), and, hopefully, put my perspective in a context that, not only makes sense to you, but will inspire you to act accordingly.

As I visited various retirement communities I reviewed the questionnaires they gave to prospects to determine their lifestyle needs and priorities.  The following are the areas that were identified:

Personal Health                                            Social Companionship

Staying Physically Active                            Opportunities to do new Things

Cost and Access of Health Care                   Finances

Wellness Programs                                       Driving

Remaining Independent                                Travel

Security                                                         Healthy Energy Level

As I studied them, I pondered what common thread connects them. And from my evaluation, it is clearly Physical Fitness.  Physical Fitness has a direct and significant impact on every one of the needs noted.  It poses a different context in which one could view the critical importance of our physical fitness and hopefully outweigh, in our minds, the reason(s) we don’t address our fitness needs.

There are numerous daily reports relative to healthcare and physical fitness that share the projected negative impact of not engaging in physical activity on all of us, but with profound emphasis for those of us in our later years.  Here are just a significant few, what I call “Macro” factors, relative to the importance of physical fitness and good health.

  • Research has shown that seniors can expect Medicare to cover only about half of their medical expenses, on average.  According to Fidelity Investments, the average senior retiring at age 65 this year will need $240,000 to pay the out-of-pocket costs of healthcare for the rest of his or her life.
  • Thirty states currently have laws making adult children responsible for their parents, if their parents can’t afford to take care of themselves.  While these laws are rarely enforced, there has been speculation that states may begin dusting them off, as a way to save on Medicaid expenses, according to SeniorJournal.com.
  • According to Dr. Andrew Weil, less than 5% of the US population will be born with a defective gene. That means over 95% of us have some say in how we age.  Most diseases can be attributable to lifestyle choices, not old age.
  • According to the department of Health & Human Services 50% of all medical costs are attributable to preventable illnesses.
  • The financial health of Medicare is in dire straits and the projected overall cost for health care could bankrupt our country. We simply cannot rely solely on our government to provide for us. If we do we could literally wind up dead before our time.
  • New technology that will effectively treat the major diseases will continue to evolve but if you are not in good physical condition you may not be around to utilize them, or be a suitable candidate.  And depending upon the “system” that the current Administration implements, you may have to wait months before getting access to major medical treatments.

So, when you combine both the individual and personal needs, with the more “Macro” factors (and there are more) noted above, why would you not do what is best for you and focus on your fitness and health?  Perhaps this information and perspective will inspire you to do so.

IDENTIFY AND ADDRESS THE REAL CORE REASONS WHY PHYSICAL FITNESS IS NOT A PRIORITY TO YOU.

This topic is too complex for the scope of this article but I will share some salient thoughts with you based on my readings and discussions with older folks.

Whether it is from a medical, psychological, or uniquely personal perspective, I know there are numerous reasons why we don’t do what is best for us. However, that doesn’t justify the degree to which many of us do nothing, or not enough for our well-being, knowing the profound effect it has on us and those that love us.

I hear people say, “I don’t like to exercise”.  Well, I am not here to sell you on why you should, but rather to provide a perspective that may help you view exercise and fitness differently.  Many of us don’t like our jobs and can come up with a lot of reasons why we don’t.  But we face and manage REALITY.  We need to work to survive and give ourselves a chance to be the best we can be.  Some of us need to approach fitness and our overall health in the same context—that it is simply not an option.

The reasons we don’t exercise and maximize our health are many and often are related to issues deep within us.  But whatever they are, and however many you have– view them as WEEDS, in your garden of life. PULL YOUR WEEDS AND WATER YOUR SEEDS. The weeds block the sun, hinder your happiness, cloud your perspective, rob you of growth, and steal your energy.  Some even have thorns that deter us from even considering the task of pulling them.  Water your seeds of growth by exercising and focusing on what we all say is our number one concern—our health.

It all gets back to my earlier statement that ‘we need to love ourselves enough to do what we need to do, to be the best we can be’ My colleague and fellow Rebel with a Cause, Charly (no e) Heavenrich, in his book Dancing on the Edge, addresses this issue eloquently through the teachings of an Indian medicine women named Spirit Dancer.  Spirit Dancer guides him (as he runs the rapids in the Grand Canyon) on his path to introspection, awareness and the willingness to “jump off the edge” in order to address the difficult issues we all face in life, including our fitness and health.  This book has had a profound effect on me and my attitude towards fitness, health, life and aging—it may do the same for you. (No, I do not get a sales commission)

My goal when I started this article was to share some of my opinions and hard facts with the intention of creating a perspective and context that would help you view exercise and fitness in a manner that would inspire you to make them a daily priority as you age in your 60s’ and beyond.  And in summary, here is my final shot—

  • Many of us say our Health is our number one concern—we need to act accordingly.
  • Fitness is the common thread between the personal needs noted above, by seniors as they continue to age.
  • The current and future impact of the “Macro” issues and ongoing medical and political trends, demand that we take more control and accountability for our own health and fitness.
  • Money! By being fit we reduce the chances that we will need procedures that increase the cost of our insurance, cost of medications, deductibles and co-pays.  Money is usually a great motivator– make it one of yours.
  • No one can do it for us—only we can exercise and stay fit.
  • If you don’t exercise, seek the root cause (s) and remove it as an obstacle (s)
  • The need for fitness and exercise is as much a reality as the need for work and food.
  • Do it because you love yourself.

Don’t give into the Human Nature Syndrome.  Give good health and fitness to yourself and to those you love and who love you.  Others have done it and you can do it as well or better.  Join me—Be a Rebel with a Cause—the best cause of all— YOU.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fitness 4 Seniors

Aging is a natural process, and with it comes many fringe benefits. For example, living the retired-permanent-holiday life, a gained respect from youngsters, and you can’t forget the senior discounts. However, with aging also comes an immense amount of responsibility. This responsibility not only includes influencing the future generations, but also extends to the need of taking care of yourself. One of the common reasons why many young people dread growing old is because it is associated with being brittle, weak, dependant, and ill. Seniors need to prove to everyone that they are a vibrant and vital part of the population, and being fit is the first step.

Now I’m not asking everyone to tell his or her elderly family members to hit the gym for three hours every single day. But let’s face the facts: a significant percentage of older adults do not get the physical exercise they need, lack of physical activity combined with a poor diet is the second most common reason for death in the USA, and being fit can reduce the risk of many diseases. Seniors are quickly becoming the fastest growing demographic in both Canada and the USA, and we cannot afford to have such a large percentage of the population to be of poor health.

Before diving into an intense regime though, seniors should consult medical professionals on any physical problems they may have that could inhibit exercise. They should also ensure to use the required safety equipment, such as helmets, or eye protection. Stretching before exercising is also recommended. One of the most important things is to know your own limit – do not overstrain yourself.

Many people today put off exercising because it seems like a chore to some. Fitness should not be forced activities that your doctor pushes you to complete. It should be FUN. You can make it an enjoyable social occurrence, by getting away from traditional methods. Instead of running on a treadmill watching Oprah reruns, and lifting weights listening to a looped playlist, make exercising more interesting. Seniors should take advantage of the retired lifestyle, and use their newfound time to go hiking on trails with beautiful scenery, or biking along the lake. Make healthier lifestyle choices to encourage physical activity – take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car further away from the mall entrance. Exercising should not be just another addition to your daily To Do list; it should be viewed as a transition into a healthier, longer, and more fulfilled life.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eco Travel: Go Green and Get Away!

Seniors are notorious travelers. They’ve put in their years of work, now its time to relax. Unfortunately, the perfect getaway often has a major cost for the environment. A return plane flight from New York to Hawaii can create the same carbon emissions as a car does in an entire year. Many hotels guzzle energy at much higher rate than individuals would use in an eco-friendly home. Luckily for environmentally conscious seniors, eco friendly travel is becoming increasingly available and widespread.

Air travel is a huge, and often unnoticed, contributor to carbon emissions. Mile for mile, airplanes use as much fuel as cars, but because of the shorter travelling time people often don’t think about it. Many companies and nonprofit organizations are now offering carbon offsetting programs which help travelers go “carbon-neutral”.  A traveler can purchase carbon offsets and reductions to neutralize the environmental cost of their flight. As a matter of fact, this method can be used to offset emissions from cars and homes too.

Okay, you’ve offset the environmental cost of getting to your destination, but now what? Whether you’re travelling close to home or in a faraway destination, there are sure to be eco-friendly vacation options. From California to Costa Rica, resorts have been bitten by the green travel bug. Websites like The Ethical Traveler (http://www.ethicaltraveler.org/) and The International Ecotourism Society (http://www.ecotourism.org/) help travelers to make smart decisions about where they stay and what industries they support while they’re there.

Eco tourism is a growing trend, and this is the one time when its good to follow the crowd. Next time you are looking to take a relaxing retirement vacation, keep Mother Nature in mind!

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Going Green, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laughing Makes You Young!

So as I was surfing the net this afternoon and came across this funny Question and Answers from a AARP Forum. Remember the first step of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to laugh. SO LAUGH away!

Q: Where can men over the age of 60 find younger, sexy women who are interested in them?

A: Try a bookstore… under fiction.

Q: What can a man do while his wife is going through menopause?

A: Keep busy. If you’re handy with tools, you can finish the basement. When you are done, you will have a place to live.

Q: Someone has told me that menopause is mentioned in the Bible. Is that true? Where can it be found?

A: Yes. Matthew 14:92: “And Mary rode Joseph’s ass all the way to Egypt.”

Q: How can you increase the heart rate of your 60+ year old husband?

A: Tell him you’re pregnant.

Q: How can you avoid that terrible curse of the elderly… wrinkles?

A: Take off your glasses.

Q: Seriously! What can I do for these crow’s feet and all those wrinkles on my face?

A: Go braless. It will usually pull them out.

Q : Why should 60+ year old people use valet parking?
A: Valets don’t forget where they park your car.

Q: Is it common for 60+ year olds to have problems with short term memory storage?

A: Storing memory is not a problem. Retrieving it is a problem.

Q: As people age, do they sleep more soundly?

A : Yes. But usually in the afternoon.

Q: Where should 60+ year olds look for eye glasses?

A: On their foreheads.

Q: What is the most common remark made by 60+ year olds when they enter antique stores?

A: “Gosh! I remember these.”

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Senior Friendly | Leave a comment

Obama in bed with Big Pharma – while Traditional Democrats Urge Importation from Canada

The President ran on a platfom advocating importation from Canada. Now, he is allied with the same industry he used to beat up. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. And it is not only Liberals who endorse importation from Canada. Senators John McCain ( R ) Arizona and Olympia Snowe ( R ) Maine, are both sponsors of Senate Bills to legalize importation from Canada and they consistently team with Senator Byron Drogan ( D ) of North Dakota on Senate Importation Bills.

Drug Industry Backing Obama’s Health Care Plan

Associated Press – Aug. 09, 2009

WASHINGTON–The nation’s drugmakers stand ready to spend $150 million to help President Barack Obama overhaul health care this fall, according to numerous officials, a staggering sum that could dwarf attempts to derail his chief domestic priority.

The White House and allies in Congress are well aware of the effort by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a somewhat surprising political alliance, given the industry’s recent history of siding with Republicans and the Democrats’ disdain for special interests.

The campaign, now in its early stages, includes television advertising under PhRMA’s own name and commercials aired in conjunction with the liberal group, Families USA.

Numerous people with knowledge of PhRMA’s plans said they had been told it would likely reach $150 million and perhaps $200 million. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to divulge details.

Additionally, the industry is the major contributor to Healthy Economy Now, which recently completed a $12 million round of advertising nationally and in several states. The ads were made by companies with close ties to Democrats and the White House and generally reflected the administration’s changing rhetoric on health care.

In an interview, Ken Johnson, senior vice president of PhRMA, said, “We will have a significant presence over the August recess, both on television and newspapers and on radio, but we have not finalized details for our fall campaign.”

Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said the partnership with the deep-pocketed drug industry is one of mutual self-interest, even though the two groups disagree on numerous issues. “We want to achieve coverage for everyone. For PhRMA, this would improve volume for prescription sales because everyone” would have better access to medicine, he said.

Any health care bill that makes it to Obama’s desk is expected to extend health insurance to the nearly 50 million who now lack it. That would mean a huge new pool of potential customers for drug companies and other health care providers. That, in turn, has created an incentive to offer concessions to the White House and lawmakers in hopes of shaping the bill, rather than simply opposing it.

Drugmakers were the first group to reach agreement with the White House and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., announcing several weeks ago that they would absorb $80 billion in costs over a decade.

Even before the announcement, according to several individuals, the White House sought help from PhRMA in passing legislation.

Now, with the legislation under attack, the industry is providing key support during August as Republicans work to inflict a high-profile defeat on the president.

A significantly more ambitious advertising effort by PhRMA is expected to begin around Labor Day.

Jim Messina, a deputy White House chief of staff who is deeply involved in the administration’s health care effort, brought Democratic senators up to date recently on the help PhRMA, labor unions and other outside groups are providing.

At the same time, the drugmakers are counting on the White House to block efforts by House Democrats to extract more than $80 billion from their industry in the legislation.

The partnership is complicated because many Democrats in both the House and Senate oppose key goals of the drug industry. Liberals, in particular, favor the importation of prescription medicine from Canada and other countries. They also want the government to have authority to negotiate directly with companies for lower drug prices under Medicare.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been critical of drug manufacturers, and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said several weeks ago the House was not bound by PhRMA and Baucus’ agreement.

By the White House tally, overall advertising so far by PhRMA and other supporters of the bill has swamped efforts by opponents. Republican strategists concede it would be extremely difficult to match an effort of the size PhRMA is planning.

For comparative purposes, 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain was limited to spending $84 million a year ago when he accepted government money for his fall campaign.

Independent calculations show Healthy Economy Now has spent about $12 million on three ads that ran nationally and in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

The messages meshed with the White House’s changing rhetoric. An ad that began in mid-June said patients would be able to choose their own doctors. Another, launched in mid-July, focused on consumer protections, including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.

To make the ads, the group hired GMMB, a political consulting and advocacy advertising firm with close ties to the White House and Senate Democrats, as well as AKPD, top White House strategist David Axelrod’s former firm.

Jeremy Van Ess, a spokesman for Health Economy Now, said the decisions were made by the organization, and not at the White House’s request.

“Absolutely not. … It’s no secret in Washington that these two firms we had are the best out there,” he said.

PhRMA/Families USA spent about $5.7 million in nationwide advertising for the two months ending Aug. 9, according to information compiled by a different organization.

Two weeks ago, the drug industry added another weapon to its arsenal, launching a series of ads under its own name in a few key states at a cost of about $1 million so far.

Among them is Nevada, where the industry has purchased time through Labor Day to air commercials thanking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his efforts to pass health care reform. Reid’s public approval is weak in the state, although he does not yet have a Republican opponent for 2010.

While the White House and Democrats benefit from PhRMA’s help, they seem reluctant to discuss it openly.

When PhRMA became the first big health care provider to agree to accept reductions as part of legislation, Obama made the announcement at the White House with the head of AARP in attendance. Billy Tauzin, the former Republican congressman who is head of PhRMA, was not invited.

More recently, Reid omitted the drugmakers from a list of outside interests trying to help pass legislation.
The drug industry’s campaign is the culmination of a broader shift it has undertaken. A few years ago, the industry hired Steve McMahon, a longtime Democratic strategist, to oversee its political advertising.

Drugmakers have also funneled more money to Democrats in recent years, a trend that began soon after they gained control of Congress.

___

On the Net:

PhRMA: http://www.phrma.org/
Healthy Economy Now: http://healthyeconomynow.org/
Families USA: http://www.familiesusa.org/

Written by:
Warren Armstrong
VP Marketing
Global Health Management

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Health, Prescriptions | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RX for Savings

When I started to think about my parents’ retirement, I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the “things that needed to be done should something go wrong”.  I was a single mom working full-time and I thought “time is not my friend in this” and set up a company to help my parents.  My parents oblivious to my obvious concern for their life and health and the piles of stuff accumulated proceeded to act as any snowbirds do and purchased a place in the sun.  Their annual trek to Lah-Lah land, as my mom puts it, was one of no worries, and be “happys”.  They were healthy and financially able to finance their simple needs and even could satisfy their wants occasionally.

Last year 2 things happened that brought home the reality of living 6 months in a different country than your own …both of them had medical issues.  Mom, who is 77 and a nurse, knew she had an infection and needed medication. They when to a clinic and $400.00 dollars later had the diagnosis “infection” and a prescription in hand and needed to shell out a further $385.00 for the medication.  She asked me to mail her prescription. I did it cost 10.00 to mail and their health plan covered the cost of the medication.  She saved $375.00.

Later that same year, Dad who is 80 and still the only handyman that my mom trusts, replaced the white broadloom throughout the Florida home and put in laminate.  It looked beautiful ….but Dad’s health paid the price.  In severe pain from being on his knees all day, he discovered that his medical insurance had run out.  Painfully, he got into his car and drove the two days back to Canada in the dead of winter to reapply for his insurance and to see his doctor about the problem that he was having. The doctor immediately diagnosed the problem, but said the medication that works the best was only available in the states.  He could give him a sample but he would have to fill the prescription in the states, as it hadn’t been approved by the Canadian Health Protection Branch yet.  That medication brought relief for the first time in several weeks.

So, owning a business to help seniors find the help they needed, I saw a real opportunity to make a difference.  My thoughts were to find a company that could fill prescriptions in Canada, and could also provide medication that was only available in the states.  I began my search and being for my own parents I did my due diligence in finding a safe alternative to the high cost of buying medication in the states.

The FDA encourages online prescriptions purchases and published their tips to finding a good online source which is:

  • Make sure the site requires a prescription and has a pharmacist available for questions.
  • Buy only from licensed pharmacies.
  • Don’t provide personal information such as credit card numbers unless you are sure the site will protect them. That they will not sell contact information

It was with those tips in mind I began a search for a licensed pharmacy that complied with those guidelines. For my Dad’s situation I found a US pharmacy that is licensed and provides US Brands and US Generics located in Lakeland Florida.  They partnered with a Canadian pharmacy which is located in Alberta, Canada called Extended Care Pharmacy license no. #1636. This pharmacy is owned by a pharmacist, Andy Troszok, the first president of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, who is a pioneer and advocate for low cost importations of prescription drugs to US Citizens.  I told my parents that by faxing their prescription to Extendicare Pharmacy they would be ordering the drugs directly from Canada.  They would pay only the shipping and pharmacy fee but their medication would be covered by OHIP. Any medication that is only available in the states would be provided by their US counterpart in Lakeland Florida and that wouldn’t be covered but would be available to them with a prescription. They loved the idea and told me I should include this information on my website, knowing that I would never sell contact information as I set the company up to protect seniors.  They were wondering if their American friends in Florida could take advantage of the link that I created.  I researched the process online and realized that the American Drug Companies were protecting their huge profit margins by scaring the general public into believing medication from Canada was “fake” and they continued their propaganda campaign by painting all foreign pharmacies with the same brush.

I was at a party in Florida to celebrate my friend’s victory over Cancer and spoke to her about her medication. She had already done a lot of online searching to discover a pharmacy that could provide her with her medication. That said, her friends were warning her of medications from Canadian pharmacies.  Canada is not a third world country, but protected by more restrictive rules about medication then in the states.  However, because of our public health insurance, it is simply a country that legislated that Pharmaceutical companies were only allowed to charge so much. Lipitor is Lipitor period.  A licensed pharmacy would lose their license if they tried to pass off “fake” drugs.  This would be evident quickly from complaints.

My thoughts were confirmed when the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty visited Canada and established a website providing information to Americans on how to import safety.  I decided to create a link on my website so that Americans can exercise their rights as free citizens to make their own choices. It’s up to you now. However, the following state Governments are using Canadian Pharmacies to lower the cost of running their states, why shouldn’t you? What do they know that you should too?

MINNESOTA, NEVADA, ILLINOIS, KANSAS, MISSOURI, VERMONT, RHODE ISLAND, WISCOUSIN, MAINE.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Health, Prescriptions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seniors Going Green

Written by Jessica from Find Help 4 Seniors

Seniors, as a growing segment of the population have more opportunity than ever to lead the fight for a greener future. They have witnessed the major environmental initiatives in the past and their wealth of experience is something that everyone can learn from. During World War 2, today’s seniors were learning to conserve and reuse materials. Widespread recycling of paper and kitchen fats began for use in the war. The Sixties and Seventies brought about the realization of the need to save energy. The search was on for new sources of cleaner energy such as nuclear, solar and tidal. As the environmental movement has grown, seniors have been there every step of the way.

Today’s seniors are continuing the environmental drive. Environmental action groups such as Green Seniors are helping seniors join together with the goal of sustainability and preservation of the environment. Seniors are increasingly buying eco-friendly products and bringing back conservation methods learned in the Depression. Recycling programs have sprung up in many retirement communities where seniors are concerned about leaving a clean environment for their grandchildren. Some retirement homes are even catering specifically to the environment-conscious senior.

In order to save our environment, everyone has to work together. Grandparents can pass knowledge and conservation techniques on to their grandchildren. Re-dye clothing to get extended use from it, open curtains to let natural light in and make one trip to get lots of things done. If you are the child or grandchild of a senior, begin asking about their experiences. If you are a senior, please post your own tips and tricks in response to this blog!

August 7, 2009 Posted by | Going Green | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment