The Golden Years

The celebrationthat took place following the end of World War II evidently lasted quite a while — from 1946 through 1964 — at least that’s the time span statisticians use to define the “baby boomer” generation. This 18-year celebration of life produced more births per capita than at any time in American history… and it produced something else—10,000 retirees each and every day for the next 18 years. ..

This potpourri of seniors encompasses every hue of the economic spectrum from super rich to super poor… with the overwhelming majority falling somewhere in between, with most on the lower end of the scale. Government Accountability Office statistics show that one-third of retirees have no savings or pension plan and only half have any savings at all, and in the vast majority of cases, these savings aren’t sufficient to maintain the retiree’s working lifestyle.

This means the odds are that you aren’t planning a trip to Tahiti this year or preparing the backyard for that luxurious in-ground pool and spa. So, if you’re like most retiring Americans, what are some good options for a retirement itinerary worthy of all the hard work you put in to make it this far—on a retiree’s budget?

Improve Yourself

Retirement age for most of us is an age where two things become increasingly important: maintaining or improving our physical health and the need for some form of spiritual fulfillment. According to Colette Carroll, director of recovery programs at the Amrit Yoga Institute in Salt Springs, yoga could fulfill both those needs.

“We offer a type of yoga that is perfect for seniors,” says Carroll. “It is for everyone regardless of age, health status, religious belief or whatever… it is healing for the body and the mind.”

Carroll says that retirement is the perfect time to consider yoga.

“I have worked with many seniors who now have the time to play golf or tennis, but their bodies, especially their shoulders or knees, may be giving them problems. Yoga exercises are ideal for strengthening, increased flexibility and healing in these situations. We also offer five-day classes in a program called Yoga Nidra that teaches yoga meditation, which promotes physical healing and spiritual awareness. It is absolutely perfect for seniors, as it has a very gentle approach. All you have to do is lie down to participate. It is a meditative state of consciousness, and it is a dynamic transformational tool that is healing in all its aspects.”

According to Carroll, yoga can help transform your life, from the spiritually profound to the everyday simple.

“I once instructed a woman in her 90s who had a lot of trouble turning her head to see oncoming traffic because of stiffness and pain in her neck. Within just a couple of weeks, she could turn her head in any direction and was amazed at the improvement. But what makes yoga so good for retirees is that yoga and meditation are for the whole person, body and mind.”

For more information, visit or search for “yoga in Marion and Citrus Counties.”

Mentor A Young Person

You have tons of experience and wisdom that you’ve garnered over the years, and what better way to put it all to good use than mentoring? The Boys & Girls Club of Marion County is looking for a few good men and women to donate their time to help educate, guide and build strong character in our area’s youth.

“We have volunteer positions for people of all business backgrounds and experiences,” says Boys & Girls Club of Marion County CEO Stan Creel. “Mentoring falls into all areas of what we provide, whether it be sports related, education, health, finance, tech or computer-related, or any area… it covers a very broad spectrum of what we do.”

Mentoring will allow you to pass on any skills you have picked up over the years to a young person in need of guidance. And those skills don’t have to be professional or technical.

“For example, we have health-related programs that involve teaching good eating habits that only require a mentor to be able to cook,” says Creel. “The mentor teaches the child to cook good, nutritious meals, and this enables the child to improve or maintain good health. Whatever your ability or interest, we have an area where you can help a child. Even if it’s in our administrative department; whenever a volunteer comes in and helps out our staff, it frees us up to have more time to give to the kids.”

The only requirement for volunteering or mentoring at the Boys and Girls Club is a background check for those volunteers who deal directly with children. Creel said the background check is paid for by the club. Mentors can volunteer for as few or as many hours per week as they choose. There are clubs in Ocala, Silver Springs Shores and Dunnellon in Marion County and in Inverness, Beverley Hills and Homosassa in Citrus County. Regular club hours during the summer are Monday through Friday 7:30am until 5:30pm, and they vary from club to club during the school year.

For more details and local contact information, visit


Yeah, right. No, we’re not talking about hanging ten in an ocean full of sharks. We’re talking about the Internet. And yes, there is a whole different kind of shark found in those electronic waters, but most of them are fairly easily spotted before it’s too late. So don’t be afraid to enter these waters, because they may contain a bounty of new friends who might share similar interests. Research shows that more seniors are using the Internet than ever before, and that means more senior-oriented sites will become available over time.

Social media sites online offer seniors the chance to meet people from around the world they might never have come in contact with in any other way. Besides Facebook and the usual social media fare, there are sites designed specifically for seniors. You have to make sure that whatever site or sites you choose to visit are not just for senior online dating… unless of course that is part of your retirement itinerary. There are plenty of sites available where seniors can meet other seniors just for the sake of good conversation and forming new friendships.

And don’t be intimidated by the idea of maneuvering your way through the Web. If your PC skills aren’t up to par, there are plenty of beginning computer classes available. Some are offered through continuing education programs at local colleges.

For information on beginning computer classes, visit the College of Central Florida website at


Now is the time to decide exactly where you want to spend those Golden Years.

You may have been tied to your present home by job location or family responsibilities. Your job has now ended, and your children likely have families of their own and live somewhere other than nearby. With little left to tie you to your present location, this could be the perfect time to make your move.

The world is at your fingertips, but the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers up a few things to consider when making your decision. Consider affordability of housing, the cost of living for the area you are considering, availability of public transportation (as you age you may find yourself dependent on alternative transportation), availability of good health care facilities, climate, local crime rate and proximity of services, to name a few.

Many seniors are opting for adult retirement communities. Even though AARP says the vast majority of Baby Boomers are choosing to remain in the homes they have lived in for years, communities such as The Villages, partly located in southern Marion County, are enjoying phenomenal growth rates. The Villages community now has more than 110,000 residents and is the fastest growing community in the United States. This means plenty of seniors located in one place, which draws businesses marketed directly for senior services. It doesn’t get any better than that…


Few things in life can be more rewarding than being a volunteer. Now that you’re retired and no longer tied to a mandatory work schedule, you can pick and choose when and where you want to “work.” Nothing can offer a more flexible schedule than the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). There are only two requirements to join: be 55 years old or older and volunteer at least one hour every three months.

“We have more than 400 volunteers participating in more than 25 local programs,” says Carolyn Warnell, RSVP Coordinator for the College of Central Florida. “We utilize whatever skills our volunteers have and match them up with a program best suited for them. Some volunteers like a set schedule, such as working four hours every Tuesday at the same place, for example, and some like to try different things at different times. We have something for everyone. And what is great is that we offer free supplemental accident insurance to all our volunteers. RSVP is federally funded, and we secure supplemental insurance that covers our volunteers to and from their assignments and while they are on the job.”

More than a half million volunteers utilize the services of RSVP nationwide. It is a great way to give back to the community and offers volunteers a chance to learn new skills or put old ones to good use.

“We offer a variety of opportunities,” says Warnell “and we train each volunteer for the specific job he or she will be performing. Our volunteers are fully prepared for whatever task they are asked to perform. We offer opportunities as diverse as reading to a 4 year old, mentoring a high school student one on one, helping build a house with Habitat for Humanity, assisting at area nursing homes, helping local veterans—the list just goes on.”

Warnell says that the program also offers frequent lunch workshops with guest speakers providing information pertinent to senior living. The group also meets once each year to celebrate the gift of volunteering and recognize those who donate their time to the community.

Being a member of RSVP doesn’t mean that you are limited to only volunteering for programs or projects for which they provide access. Members can still volunteer anywhere in the community they choose and are encouraged to do so.

A Whole New World


Research has shown that senior retirees who remain active tend to live longer, healthier lives. Whatever activities you choose to pursue in your retirement, make sure you get plenty of exercise for both your body and mind. Just because you’ve retired from a job doesn’t mean you’ve retired from life.

In fact, this can be the most active time of your life. Once the pressures of providing for and raising a family or making a living are past, you can sit back, relax, take a deep breath and plan exactly what will bring you the most pleasure and make your Golden Years truly golden.

Posted in Marion Features

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