How do you get from working with youth to the Gray Panthers? It may sound contradictory, but Sally Brown, the current Minnesota Convenor and national Executive Director of the Gray Panthers, found her way to the Gray Panthers because of her work with teenagers! If that does sound wrong to you, you need to find out more about the Gray Panthers. Digging way back in my long-term memory, I remembered the Black Panthers as rebellious and possibly even violent. Not thinking of senior adults in those terms, the Gray Panthers always seemed sort of a “cute” name for a senior organization. Having come in contact with Sally Brown, my opinion has changed.
Gray Panthers are Intentionally Intergenerational
Brown did come to her involvement with the Gray Panthers through her work with youth. This actually makes complete sense because the Gray Panthers work to make things better for all, not just senior adults.Read More»
What legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered? What impact do you want to have on those around you or the world? Cathy Manning, our current Elder with Wisdom, wants to help you uncover your legacy.
Through her experience with people 55+, Cathy discovered everyone has a story to share. Even though Cathy’s original experience dealt with long-term care insurance and financial issues, she became aware of the importance of other aspects of her clients’ lives. We often automatically think of financial planning when we think of planning for our retirement. However, there are so many more developmental aspects as we enter and pass through our retirement years. Gene Cohen, in his book The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain, describes developmental stages of adulthood, picking up where earlier developmental psychologists stopped. One of the tasks that becomes important to us as we age is leaving a legacy—passing on something to future generations.Read More»
Julie Roles, today’s Elder with Wisdom, likes to make things happen. That’s how she got connected with the Vital Aging Network (VAN). In her mid 50s Julie started to tweak her consulting business to better fit her passions for innovative and strategic thinking. Trained in business and design and an experienced writer and graphic designer, Julie turned her focus to the design and implementation of programs.Read More»
“Rusting” in retirement? Ron Strand, the subject of today’s Wisdom of Elders blog post, says following your passion in retirement does not leave time for rust to get a start.
The current trend of people postponing retirement has more than one cause. With the recent economy, many people feel the need to continue working to rebuild their 401(k) due to loss from the stock market or depletion from unemployment after age 50. Then there are those who continue to work because they love what they do—they have a passion for it.Read More»
What is The Fourth Act? It follows the “Terrible Gift.” Jeanne Wiger, an octogenarian, is finishing her book, The Fourth Act. The Fourth Act does not always come when you are old, but it always comes after a life-changing event, the “terrible gift.” Wiger received her “terrible gift” 2 years ago when she landed in the hospital for more than a month, potentially facing the end of her life. The Fourth Act is the blessing of an opportunity which provides passion and energy to re-engage with life in a new way. For Wiger, the result is writing two books that share her Wisdom of Elders.Read More»
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!” That is what Marion McCarthy hears every time she runs into Loretta, a student from one of the Lifelong Learning classes that McCarthy established. Loretta thanks McCarthy for providing a resource that would not be available in her Detroit community otherwise.Read More»
Happy New Year!
In other societies the Wisdom of Elders is a valued treasure, but not so in the United States. We worship youth. For the New Year, I hope to bring to life retirement topics by presenting the stories of people age 50+.
We all enjoy staying and looking as young as possible for as long as possible. But reviewing news stories of some of our young celebrities, we realize that we tend to learn a little about living gracefully as we age.Read More»
Gene Cohen in his book, The Mature Mind, describes the “summing up” developmental phase of our life starting in the late sixties. We want to share our wisdom and find meaning in our lives as we look back. We want to leave a legacy—both of wisdom and impact. Liz Sheahan from the Society of St Andrew has a suggestion for how to leave a legacy of impact:
While many people support non-profits throughout their lives, relatively few are able to make a gift that can truly transform the level of services a charity provides – at least during their lifetime. That’s the beauty of estate gifts – through a simple bequest or a myriad of other planned giving tools, virtually everyone can make a major gift.Read More»
Having just returned from villages in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania in Africa, I am contemplating how to simplify my life in retirement. The villagers have so little in material things, but are so joyful and generous. They work hard just to survive, often with no running water or electricity. In the US we often whine if we don’t have the latest technological advance immediately. Since we were visitors to these villages, we did have the luxury of running water (not necessarily hot water when we wanted it or much water pressure) and electricity from 6-10 PM.
In a seminar on using our natural gifts/talents a few years ago, the presenter commented that all of our possessions require an amount of our energy—to maintain, clean, organize, use, etc. If we got rid of a lot of our possessions, we would have more time to devote to what was truly important to us.
Downsizing to gain time and energy
So looking at my life in retirement, I am figuring out how to downsize my possessions or things I need to organize. If they live long enough, our parents reach a time when it is very difficult to figure out what gift to give them for birthdays and holidays. They have everything they need and don’t have many wants, except maybe to spend more time with us. For most of us money and time are our personal scarce resources. Often when our parents want our time, we feel like we don’t have enough of that resource to share. However, if we rid ourselves of those extraneous things (and for me that means lots of documents and books), we regain time and energy that we used to need to maintain things instead of relationships.
Downsizing as a gift to our children
Recently I have had friends who have had to go through parents’ houses or downsize themselves as they moved to smaller townhouses, etc. It was a laborious, painful, but freeing, process. Doing this for our children before they are forced to deal with our years of accumulated possessions and memories is a gift to our children.
In an attempt to look forward to being able to enjoy time with children and grandchildren and pursue what is most meaningful to me (volunteer work, etc.), I am pledging to clean up some of my piles of papers that keep me from feeling free to enjoy my time more. How about you? Please feel free to share how you have simplified your life in retirement (or before).
Well, almost free. If you are a 62 year old US citizen/permanent resident, you can purchase a Senior Pass for National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands for $10. Normally an Annual Pass costs $80. This Senior Pass lasts for your entire lifetime, as long as you do not lose the card itself. You need to show the card and your picture ID at staffed recreational areas or place the card on the dashboard of your car in unattended areas.
Purchasing a Senior Pass for National Parks
You can buy a Senior Pass at staffed recreational areas for $10. You can also purchase one through the mail, but it will cost $20 which includes the processing fees. To download an application to mail, go to Senior Pass application website. For questions or to attempt to receive an application through the mail, call 1-888-ASK-USGS (1-888-275-8747) or email fedrecpass@USGS.gov . The application is sent to USGS, Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225.
Benefits of the Senior Pass for National Parks
You can use the Senior Pass at over 2,000 recreational sites managed by five Federal agencies:
- National Park Service
- The Forest Service
- Fish and Wildlife Service
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Entrance into parks/facilities—for areas with a vehicle charge, it covers all people in one non-commercial vehicle; for areas with a per-person charge, it covers the card holder and up to 3 other adults (Children under 16 are free.)
- 50% discount on some amenity fees, such as camping, swimming, boat launching—check with location for details on specific activities
- Exceptions—facilities where private contractors manage activities or facilities may not accept the card—contact facility directly for details
*If you are not 62 yet, active military personnel and dependents can receive a free Annual Pass, and disabled citizens are entitled to a free Access Pass that is good for a lifetime.
Summer has started. It’s time to think about taking the grandkids to a National Park. So the Senior Pass could be a great value for you—almost free, especially when spread over the rest of your life!