Three Step Remedy to Keep Your Spirits High During the Holidays

Originally posted by Silvernest Team on Nov 28, 2016

Three Step Remedy for the Holidays

The holiday season has arrived once again. While it can be a magical time with colorful lights, festive parties and gift exchange; it also can trigger feelings of grief, loneliness or generalized depression. This is not uncommon as baby boomers get older and become empty nesters, widowers or are long time single. This year, try our three-step remedy to explore your greatest talents and passions, and use them to create community and philanthropy as a great way to enliven the holidays.

Let’s get started!

A little self-exploration is a great way to gain powerful insights, and will naturally inspire you to engage and give. Begin by take an inventory of all the things you love to do. Take a moment to sit down at your table with a piece of paper, a pen and a cup of coffee or tea. Before you start – sit back, close your eyes and settle your mind.

Allow yourself to imagine a perfect sunny Saturday.

You have no chores, no obligations, and four hours to do whatever you want.  Ask yourself, What would I most want to do with this glorious day?” And then wait while various alternatives float to your mind. Write them down.

For some, the answer is as simple as taking a bath or reading a book. Others come up with golfing, taking a hike in Nature, working in the woodshop, or looking for shells on the beach. For others, it is making something artistic, cooking, or going shopping.

The answers you come up with are important, and often require little to no money. These ideas reflect the areas of life that gives you the most comfort and joy (to borrow from a famous Christmas carol). This is important, and can be a foundation of how to expand those things you love into a tool for engaging with others.

If doing something artistic was the top of your list- that is a powerful clue.

  • Explore: how can you expand your love of art into something bigger?
  • Engage: deepen your skills by taking a class. Not only will this sharpen your skills, but also introduce you to others who share the same passions.
  • Give: now, use your art to make small gifts (ornaments, cards, toys) and give them away to friends, a school, or a homeless shelter.

My grandfather was one of the happiest people I knew. He loved people, and would always fill his pockets with hard candy and give out a piece to everyone he met. He was someone who could never sit still and had endless talents. Well into his 90’s, he continued to explore, engage and give. When he could no longer work in his shop, his last years were spent wrapping coat hangers with yarn (keeps the shirts hanging nicely) and gave away hundreds to his children, grandchildren, and staff at his assisted living facility. He was adored, and never was without a smile.

The experience of loneliness is one of the most powerful signals from our bodies to act. There is a big difference between loneliness and depression, although they are often diagnosed as one. Feeling lonely is simply information- time to get out! Try this three-step remedy and see what happens.

Explore your passion more deeply, engage with others who share your interests and then give away our time, talents or gifts to others.

Children do this naturally. They may make pot holders, paint pictures or cut out paper snowflakes and then happily give them away without another thought. ‘Tis the season of sharing, caring and reciprocating. Come on in and join the fun!  What are some of your passions and interests that you have turned into tools to create community and philanthropy? We’d love to hear your stories on our Silvernest Facebook page. Join us and happy holidays!

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3 Dating Misconceptions You Need To Stop Believing

It’s so common to hear people complain about how modern dating is a nightmare and it’s impossible to find somebody that they are compatible with. But a lot of the time, people struggle to find success in their dating life because they believe some of the common misconceptions about dating. There are a lot of things that people get wrong, and it makes it impossible for them to find the right people to date and form successful relationships. These are the common dating misconceptions that you need to stop believing. 

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Online Dating Is Terrible For Real Relationships 

Online dating should, in theory, be great for everybody because you can meet so many new people. But people tend to associate it with casual relationships and they often think that it’s terrible for people that want a real relationship. But that isn’t the case at all and online dating can actually be great. There are so many different dating sites to suit specific types of people so it’s important that you find the right ones. You also need to put time into your bio and come up with something interesting that gives people a sense of your personality. Don’t just write basic things about your interests, write about what kind of person you are and what you are looking for in a relationship. As long as you use it in the right way, online dating can be great. 

Shared Interests Are Essential 

Shared interests and hobbies are good when you first start dating somebody because it gives you something to talk about, but a lot of won’t date somebody if they don’t have much in common. But it’s not shared interests that are important, it’s shared values. That’s why sites like arablounge which match people that share cultures and religions are so good. It doesn’t matter too much if you have different hobbies, but it matters a lot if you fundamentally disagree about important aspects of your lifestyle. Always look for somebody that shares your values, and don’t get too caught up in interests. 

Relationships Solve All Your Problems 

There are so many people that are unhappy in their lives and they think that a relationship will fix it. Then they get into a relationship and they realise that they’re still not happy. Often, they assume that their partner must be the problem and they break it off. But the truth is, relationships won’t fix your personal issues and they will still be there if you start a relationship with somebody, no matter how amazing they are. If you want to be successful with dating, you should spend some time learning how to be happy on your own and dealing with any issues that you have. It’s a bit of a cliche, but you can’t love somebody else unless you love yourself. 

These dating misconceptions are believed by so many people and it ruins their chances of ever forming good relationships. But when you let go of these ideas, you will be far more successful.

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Why Dating 2.0 Is Not All Bad

Online dating has a surprisingly bad reputation. Even though more and more married couples admit they’ve met online, the public mind refuses to believe that cyber technology and screen time can provide a healthy ground for a love story. 

In my time, say the seniors, people met at school or through friends. Sure, a lot of happily married couples today have tied the knot with their college sweetheart. But not everyone gets to cross paths with their significant other through their day-to-day activities. When you’re stuck in a closed social circle, online dating offers a new perspective on things. 

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It gives you more choice

First and foremost, dating sites are all about choice. Think of it as the romantic pendant of a networking platform such as LinkedIn. It gives you new insights into your surroundings, letting you meet new people who share your interests. While it’s no guarantee that you’re going to find your soulmate online, dedicated platforms such as Muslim dating sites or lawyer dating networks can help you to explore a micro-community. While it’s not to say you should only date people who share the same story and background, it can be a helpful approach to make friends when you’re new in town. 

You join the game with your eyes open

Your cyber dating journey begins with the creation of your profile. Your profile is, in many ways, similar to LinkedIn profiles. It’s a summary of who you are, except that you’re not trying to sell your professional skills and experience. Therefore, your dating profile lets you share what you expect from life and what makes you happy. For many online daters, it’s an exercise in defining their sense of purpose. Why does it matter? Typically, as you try to describe what you want to achieve in life through your profile, you get a better sense of who you are and what you need from a dating partner. The simple act of creating your profile and filling up the blanks gives you time for self-reflection. 

You don’t waste time

Dating apps have become a swiping exercise. Swipe right, swipe left, you choose whether you like the person or not. At first, it can appear a little too superficial. Most users describe their Tinder or other app interactions in terms of choosing whether the person in the photo is hot or not. It can feel pretty much like shopping for your next date. But in reality, the process happens naturally in real life too. You have a type, and therefore, you’re more likely to be attracted by people who share the same features. While the dating swipes might feel shallow, it’s an extension of your taste. You don’t waste time getting to know people who don’t fit your type. 

You communicate more

The advantage of online communication is that, for a lot of people, chatting comes easier than having a face-to-face conversation with a stranger. Therefore, the dating revolution gives busy introverts the ideal platform to get to know each other and share jokes and personal stories even before their first meeting. Why does it matter? Because you can be relaxed on your first actual date if you’ve already become cyber-friends. 

Is online dating as bad as the media make it to be? The debate is still open. However, depending on what you need and seek, it can be the perfect solution for you. After all, we’re all different, so it’s only fair to offer different dating paths. 

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Social Enablers: Builders of Happiness and Health

Originally posted by Margaret-Ann Burness on silvernest.com on Nov 27, 2017

social-enablers

A few years ago, I went cellphone shopping with my seventy-year-old mom. Much to my surprise, she wasn’t shopping for a basic phone. No, she wanted an iPhone. I was shocked. I knew she could handle the upgraded technology, but I just assumed she wanted the path of least resistance and stay with what she knew. Leave it to my mom, once again, to prove that I don’t know it all.  

Like many of my peers in their 40s and early 50s, I was too quick to put her and her generation into a box. I made unfounded assumptions, and lumped my mom into the stereotypical “older generation” of yesteryear, and I was astounded by her new fearless, “all in” approach to technology.  

But then why should I be surprised? Fearlessness is what Mom’s generation was built on. Just think back to the 1950s. Their approach to so many different things—innovation, manufacturing, and social evolution—is their hallmark. And the 65.2 million boomers retiring look nothing like their predecessors, and their digital adoption is the greatest example of that.  

And they’re not dabblers either. That’s right, boomers today not only use, but also engage in technology daily and even hourly.  

What’s the Attraction?  

It’s all rooted in Generation Z. It’s “grandchild factor.” Let’s be honest, it’s a big motivator – I mean, my mom barely acknowledges me when my daughter is around. But beyond those cute smiles and first-day-of-school pictures, the digital realm of possibility triggered their “take charge” attitudes as it did for my mom. Just like it did for Rebecca on the NBC’s mega hit “This is Us.” Her character joined Facebook to see pictures of her son’s newborn baby and it eventually opened up a new world of possibilities for her like connecting with old friends and even leading to a second marriage. 

Keeping up with family and friends is the number one reason most all us go online, regardless of age. Think about it. While we all love our alone time, my introverted self especially, in the end we’re pack animals. We crave social connection. And today, with so many families and friends spread across the country, social platforms like Facebook and new technology such as smart phones have become our connectors. With that in mind, it only makes sense that all generations, especially boomers, would want to engage. For my mom, it was her innate yearning to be closer to me and my family who live over 2000 miles away. For me, it’s about staying close to friends whether down the street or across the country, and reconnecting with family, around the world, who I wouldn’t otherwise see.  

So, it’s no wonder that technology adoption is exploding among all generations including boomers. It just makes us happier and when we’re happier, we’re healthier. Seriously. AARP reports that living alone over 50 is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day on our health and studies have shown that loneliness can increase the likelihood of morality by as much as 30%.   

Craving socialization also opens to a window as to why boomers and seniors are looking into alternative aging options like co-housing and house sharing. Not only are they the generation of invention, but they are also demanding more from their lives and retirement than their parents.   

So, this holiday season, when your mom or dad asks for an iPad or a smart phone – don’t laugh. In fact, encourage it and encourage them to build their social connections both on and offline. Not only can it improve their happiness but their health, too. And it may even bring everyone in your family closer. And to that point, while technology is fantastic way to build social connections, nothing replaces genuine one-on-one contact – for them or for you.  So, encourage their technology whimsy, but also take the opportunity to reconnect and inspire them to be more social overall. 

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4 Reasons The Young Have It Tougher Than People Think

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As an adult, it can sometimes be difficult to resist the temptation to look at younger generations with a mix of envy and cynicism. One only has to spend a few moments on social media or watching rolling news to hear a story about how, supposedly, modern teenagers are the “snowflake” generation – while the list of industries that have supposedly been “killed” by millennials grows by the day. If an alien were to land on Earth tomorrow and get their information from the average cable news channel, they’d be forgiven for wondering what modern youngsters were up to, given the way they are portrayed in the media.

However, for those of us who have enough years under our belts to be able to look back on adolescence with some detachment, it’s wise to be a bit more forgiving. For one thing, every generation that has passed has, at one stage, been subject to the same cynicism from older generations. Everyone who has ever been a teenager has heard similar criticisms ringing in their ears and lamented that grown-ups “just don’t understand”. There is more than a grain of truth in that complaint. While adults may be envious of the opportunities and freedoms available to younger generations, we can never really understand the pressures that are placed on them.

If you doubt this for a moment, read on below to see why there are plenty of reasons why being a teenager or young adult in the present day is harder than it’s ever been.

1. Growing up in the digital age is scary

Anyone who grew up in the 20th century, or even the earlier years of the 21st, will have faced mostly the same pressures during their school days. Peer pressure, bullying and puberty all made adolescence a minefield – whether you were a teen in the 1950s or the 1990s. However, at no time have the stakes been quite as high as they are for someone who is at school in the present day. Thanks to the development of technology, we’ve moved quickly from being the internet age to the smartphone age.

While there is no denying that technology has offered us no end of opportunities, it has also brought with it an equally large number of headaches, and there is no doubt that it has brought a new dimension to bullying. Malicious rumours, unflattering photos and cruel videos are all much easier to share and can spread much more widely now than even a decade ago. Think back to how tough your school days were. Now imagine how much harder they would have been if everybody in your school had a multimedia editing suite in their pocket.

2. The world is in a period of flux

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There has long been an unspoken contract between generations that dictates that the younger one will inherit the world from its seniors in a better condition than when the latter received it. Through advances in the fields of medicine, technology and more besides, this has generally been the case, particularly financially. However, as we stand on the cusp of a new decade, it’s impossible for this generation to say that they will be able to keep the aforementioned contract.

The millennial and post-millennial generations are set to be the first in centuries to receive a world in worse shape than the generation before. Today’s young people are likely to be poorer than the previous cohorts. The average wage in the US has risen by 67% since 1970, which is great. Over the same period, however, the majority of basic living expenses have increased by more than that – in some cases multiplying many times over. That’s the world our young people are getting ready for.

Not only this, the young are inheriting a planet which is, by the agreement of a majority of scientists, entering a period of climate emergency. All of this, and they’re constantly being told that all of this is somehow their fault. It’s no wonder that the need for teen anxiety treatment is growing, when you look at it that way. It’s on older generations to better understand the pressures teenagers face.

3. More is expected of teens nowadays

Much is made of the increased opportunities on offer for today’s children, and with good reason. A teenager in 2019 will have access to information, initiatives and organisations that would have been beyond the wildest dreams of their parents or grandparents at the same age. There’s no doubt that this is something that goes in the “advantage” column for a modern teenager.

There is, of course, a “but” attached to this point, which is that with this greater level of opportunity comes more responsibility. By the time a modern teenager graduates from college, they are likely to be saddled with debt that could take them decades to pay back – and facing a cost of living that far exceeds what their grandparents experienced. In addition, to compete for the college places they want, teenagers may have to do unpaid voluntary work and add more extracurricular activities to stay ahead of the pack. 

4. They’re expected to enjoy all of this

Amid the need to look out for cyberbullying, save more money and live a greener lifestyle, one thing that hasn’t changed about being a teenager is the general attitude of adults towards their younger counterparts. Now, this may sound like a criticism of adults, but it really isn’t. The way we look at the world changes as we get older, and it makes sense that when you are a gainfully-employed adult paying taxes in the “real” world, the concerns of teenagers will seem quite minor by comparison. 

The thing is, it’s only through experience that we can make that comparison – so it’s a little unfair to expect teenagers to have that same perspective when they’ve had so much less time to get that experience. There are so many demands on them to grow up faster than we ever had to, and we’re expecting them to be grateful for a world that is more expensive, more intrusive and facing more pronounced changes than any other recent generation faced. 

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So if you find yourself any time soon looking at younger people with that mix of envy and cynicism, it’s worth remembering the above and giving them the leeway you wanted when you were their age.

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Be OK Financially: Living Well After Divorce

Originally posted by Sandra Hughes on silvernest.com Apr 13, 2017 8:58:10 AM

Going through divorce is challenging on so many levels: mentally, emotionally and financially. Having a plan and support systems in place is critical in getting through each of these challenges. When you are dealing specifically with the financial realities of divorce, you may be wondering, “Will I be ok financially? Will I be able to live well after the divorce?” The answer to both of those questions can be yes—with thoughtful planning on your part.

The reality of divorce is that at least one of the parties will have a standard of living less than the marital standard of living, or what you were used to. From a completely practical standpoint, you may have never been involved in the financial planning, tax or estate planning aspects of your marriage. It will be useful to have sound advice to guide you through these conversations, as you get used to dealing with even more “new” things.

Divorce has a decidedly “business perspective” that may feel like foreign territory. And thinking about it just that way can take some of the emotion out of the break-up and focus you on the details of the next stage of your life. Following are three key suggestions to give you the support and comfort you need:

1) Put the right “business” team in place.

Ideally the team would consist of your divorce attorney, financial adviser, accountant, and estate planning attorney. If you can’t have all of these, a good attorney or mediator and a financial adviser is a good starting point. The best way to find all of these people is by referral. Talk to people that you know who have been through a divorce. Find out who they used and whether they would recommend that person, then interview the person before you start working with him/her to see if you get along well. It is very important for you to respect your adviser as well as having him/her respect you. A financial adviser will make sure you are clear about what you have now, and also that you budget and plan wisely for the income and assets you’ll have when the divorce is finalized. Finally, a good estate planning attorney is critical because there are all sorts of the issues surrounding your estate and beneficiaries once you are no longer partnered.

2) Create a budget immediately.

In order to get a sense of what you have and what you will need, do a current budget, as well as a projected post-divorce budget. If you have the ability to work with a certified financial planner or even a certified divorce financial planner, that is really beneficial. In any event, understanding what you have to work with and creating a current budget, highlighting your income and expenses, and also listing your assets and debts is a great starting point. Projecting your post-divorce budget is key as well. Figure out what financial information you have and what you need to find. Most important, you need to think about what you will need to live on, where you are going to live, and what you need to keep in mind regarding children, if you have them. Do a preliminary inventory of your assets so you have an idea what you will have when you and your spouse eventually divide them up.

3) Formulate your plan.

Know what you have to work with now helps you formulate a realistic plan for what you want to have at the end of the divorce negotiations. Once you have a sense of that, then the next step is figuring out what you will need to do to achieve that end. Setting realistic goals, and having your team in place goes a long way to creating a focused plan.

Having a structure, a plan and support will alleviate some of the stress and worry that is center of a divorce. That is what I want for each of you – the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will be financially ok, and the knowledge that you can live well after your divorce.

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Build Your Retirement Plan with the Three L’s

Originally posted by Jerry Golden on Silvernest.com Dec 6, 2017 3:14:05 PM

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You know about the Three R’s of schooling—reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic – that continue to form the foundation of education even as it becomes much more complex and sophisticated.

There are also “Three L’s” that are just as foundational as you plan for retirement: Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy. 

These Three L’s address your objectives, and will ultimately drive your investment strategies and tactics. Just like a business plan, if you prepare and decide first on the objectives of the Three L’s¸ you will significantly improve your chances for a successful retirement. 

Lifetime Income 

Lifetime Income is the goal you should look to secure first. Your plan should ensure that your income continues year after year, even if it requires you to adjust the numbers so that you live on less, and/or your legacy to your heirs is reduced. You needn’t hit this target when you retire, but should have a plan that gets you there by the start of Stage Two of your retirement.  

Most people typically worry less about dying after they retire than about running out of money. That’s why it’s essential to secure income for the rest of your life, no matter how long (rather than devising a plan that will provide income only for your anticipated, but unknown life span). Your Social Security payments and any pension benefits may be the base for this number.  

Liquidity 

Liquidity involves the resources that can be readily converted to cash to meet expenses that go beyond those supported by your Lifetime Income. That cash can come from bank accounts, a Roth IRA, or even equity in your home. In retirement, your costs for unreimbursed medical expenses, a caregiver or other surprise events—such as learning you need to replace the roof—could be substantial. A cash cushion will eliminate some worries about whether your money will last through retirement.  

Legacy 

A legacy could come from liquidity that you don’t use during your lifetime, or it might be a financial asset dedicated to the legacy, e.g., a life insurance policy. Money invested in stocks and bonds outside your rollover IRA or 401(k) is a good source for an inheritance because it receives favorable income tax treatment at your passing and shifts investment risk to your heirs, who typically will have more years to deal with it than you do. 

Legacy is the last goal for an obvious reason: Take care of yourself and your spouse with income and liquidity to ensure a reasonable retirement—and only then consider an inheritance to the kids and grandchildren.  

Set achievable goals, then develop tactics 

If you plan for the Three L’s and you discover you haven’t come up with enough Lifetime Income or Liquidity, make adjustments. When you are satisfied that the numbers add up, you can begin to look at the tactics for achieving your goals. 

One product that adds Lifetime Income to your plan are income annuities. They are the only financial products that guarantee income for the rest of your life — similar to Social Security or a pension. An immediate annuity can supplement your income as soon as you retire; a deferred income annuity offers payouts at an age you choose. Of course, you need to look at the impact on liquidity or legacy. 

No matter what solution best applies to your specific circumstances, understanding the Three L’s of Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy will help you develop your retirement plan — and select the right set of strategies and tactics. 

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Empty Nesters: Time To Forget Your Age

Aging parents can have a hard time coping when their children have left the family home. Indeed, as a parent, you can feel useless. As an individual, the sudden realization that you are not the young adult you were when you started your family can be equally painful. But the truth is that most parents will go through the empty nest experience, and it is the sign that you’ve done your job as a parent. However, don’t let the situation affect the way you think of yourself. Time has passed and now’s the perfect moment to train yourself to forget about your age. 

Fancy a RC car race down the park?

Nobody is ever too old to have fun

Do you have moments when you find yourself avoiding activities and hobbies that you think are for young people? While it’s fair to say that the aging process is as much a physical as it is mental development, empty nesters who believe they are too old to do this or that are more likely to struggle with a variety of self-inflicted health issues. The truth is, age is only a number. As long as you are safe, there is nothing you can’t do, and that includes splashing out on the best RC rally car to have a play at your local park. Don’t let your mind put age in your way of fun. 

Who said there’s no gym for seniors?

Just because your local gym tends to attract a young population, there is no reason why you, as an older fitness enthusiast, wouldn’t benefit from sports. In fact, keeping active is tremendously important, regardless of your age. Sports activities help not only to boost oxygen to your brain and maintain cognitive functions, but it also keeps your heart and bones healthy. More importantly, as you engage in physical activity, you learn to push the mental barriers your age would typically set for you. 

You don’t need to be young to look good

Fashion is for young people, right? You couldn’t be further from the truth. Even popular platforms, such as Instagram, are filled with accounts of huge fashion influencers who are over 50. There is no need for you to stay away from the clothes you like and embrace the dull grandparents’ style. Wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and cool at the same time is half the battle when it comes to age. You are only as old as you tell yourself to be. 

Is it too late to learn something new?

Life is full of excitement and new adventures. From the moment you decide you can’t contribute or learn anymore, your mind begins to shut down. While society continues to push the idea that a young brain is quicker and more effective, there is something that most people get wrong. Indeed, the plasticity of the brain is at its best when you’re a child and up to your 20s. However, the brain develops learning patterns and a facility to make sense of new knowledge in time. In other words, if you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, you’ll never be as good at it as today. 

In conclusion, age is no indication of your value as an individual. While it’s tricky to adjust to the situation as a new empty nester, you have to put yourself first and rediscover what you can do. Don’t deny yourself fun, sports, style, or even knowledge; the more you allow yourself to engage with the world, the younger you’ll feel. 

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Why a Sense of Purpose Can Extend Your Life

Originally posted by Silvernest Team on Mar 12, 2017 11:33:13 PM

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For many baby boomers, retirees and seniors, winding down a career, or having an empty nest can be a shock. The quiet, and lack of daily demands can take some getting used to; and it is common to feel a lack of purpose. Studies show that NOT having a purpose in life can increase illness and reduce longevity.

With 10,000 people turning 65 per day, the aging population is growing, and with greater health and vitality, a new era of “active aging” is underway. The “Third Age” of life can be one of renewed purpose via encore careers, volunteering, caring for children or meaningful travel. Science shows the best gift we can give ourselves is to have an upbeat and positive attitude about the future- whatever comes.

“It is time to expand our perceptions of aging,” said Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute. “Having a sense of purpose literally changes everything.”

Irving went on to offer four astounding statistics on the power of positive perceptions of aging and having a purpose:

  • Yale University research has shown that older individuals with positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer.
  • Rush University Medical Center found individuals with a high level of purpose were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Older adults with positive perceptions of aging were 44% more likely to recover from severe disability than those with a negative perception of aging.
  • Having a sense of purpose in life was associated with a 19% reduced risk for both heart disease and stroke.

“Having a sense of purpose is not just ‘nice,’ it is as important to our society as good nutrition, smoking cessation or exercise and should be a public health mandate.”

At Silvernest, we have found that active aging extends into our perceptions of our homes. An empty house is a lonely house; and bringing in a roommate creates a positive vibe. Many homeowners say they are more motivated to take on little projects, cook meals, turn the music up and actually look forward to coming home seeing the lights on for a change!

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You Are Not Alone: Empty Nest Syndrome Is Common. Here’s How to Cope.

Posted by Silvernest Team on May 9, 2019 11:24:51 AM

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Image credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

Well, here you are: The last kiddo has left home and you’re feeling pretty blue. Maybe you’re worrying all the time. You’re probably a little lonesome (or a lot). You may feel like it, but you are not alone.

The Empty Nest Is Actually Full—of Emotions

According to GoodTherapy.org, empty nesters may experience insomnia, anxiety and/or panic—as well as feelings of extreme grief, isolation/loneliness, guilt and purposelessness. They may even lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Psychology Today notes that “…parents often struggle with a profound sense of loss, not just because they miss their child, but because their very identities have been significantly impacted.” In other words, if your parenting role has changed so dramatically, who are you?

In two-parent families, empty nest syndrome is at least a team experience—one partner can offer support and empathy when the other is struggling. For divorced, widowed or single parents, however, there may unfortunately be an even greater sense of isolation and loneliness.

If you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, the good news is you are not alone. Most parents experience at least some of these feelings in varying degrees. Here are five suggestions for coping with empty nest syndrome and finding your groove again.

Five Ways to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

1. Participate in Activities That Include Others.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need friends. If you’re already involved in a community group, don’t stop now! If you’ve been too busy, go ahead and sign up for those art classes, start a band, look into university extension programs, or join a new class at the gym. The excitement and energy of taking up a new hobby or learning something new is a real balm for feelings of loss, and being around other people can help stave off social isolation.

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2. Find New Ways to Feel Valued and Needed.

One of the rewards of parenting is the feeling of being important to another person. While nothing will ever replace the love between a parent and child, you can find some fulfillment in helping others. Look for a volunteer organization that aligns with your values and sign up! Offer to read books at a nearby school, or hold babies in the NICU at your local hospital. Sign up to work at a local food bank or community garden. Or use your skills to help others—knit blankets for hospital patients, teach home repair skills… the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

3. Embrace a New Adventure.

If your time and budget allow it, why not enjoy all that traveling you put off during the busy parenting years? Some empty nesters even decide to sell their homes and travel full-time! While that might not be the right choice for you, having a trip to plan and look forward to (and then enjoy) can be very therapeutic.

4. Embark On an Encore Career.

If you’ve reached retirement age, becoming an empty nester might inspire you to re-enter the working worldEncore careers can take on many forms — a coaching or consultative role in your former industry, professionalizing one of your skills (such as giving art lessons), or even joining the staff at a nonprofit. These “second-act” jobs can be a great way to recharge your spirits, stay engaged and extend your retirement income.

5. Discover the Benefits of Homesharing.

Sometimes an empty nest means you’ve got unused space in your home. Homesharing offers a wonderful way to put that space to work and have some company around the house. In homesharing, your renter (or “housemate” pays rent or does household chores (or a combination of the two) in exchange for living space.

Some homeowners find housemates by asking around among friends and neighbors, or by advertising in the community, online or on social media. Silvernest uses unique roommate-matching technology and other tools to make homesharing simple and worry-free. We’ve helped build happy homesharing agreements between people of similar ages or across generations.

There’s Hope Ahead.

Those “empty nest” feelings are normal and natural. While you’ll always miss having your kids around, the most intense emotions usually ease with time. However, if you find yourself too depressed or anxious to fully participate in your life as you once did, please seek out professional support. A trained therapist or, if need be, psychiatrist can help you work your way through this transition to a brighter future.

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