Welcome to the Gen Plus Blog

It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

About Me

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Just as we age, our homes age, too.

Elinor Ginzler is a fountain of information and a delight to chat with. This AARP Livable Communities expert looks at aging challenges with enthusiasm. Her expertise? Ensuring that home living spaces function as livable communities that address needs across the age span. This includes home design, associated costs, mobility, and home modifications. In a recent AARP study, researchers found that over 85% of 50 plussers want to stay in their home whether retired or not. According to Elinor, “Most 50 plussers don’t want to move. The national myth is that you retire, sell your home and move. In fact less than 10% of the 60 plus population move!”

If you are part of the 85-90% that don’t want to move, then you need to recognize that, just as you are aging, your home is getting older, too. Like you, it may need a little fixing up.

To add to our generational challenges, if you are a young 50 plusser, there is a strong possibility that you have a parent in their early seventies to early eighties. A lot of you are nodding your heads. And if you have reached 65, you may have a parent in their eighties and nineties! (You thought your joints were creaking?) So 50 plus is multi-generational in age span alone.

And if you are a 50 plusser with a parent living with you (or visiting frequently), your home can pose unseen hazards that, with a few simple fixes, can become a safe haven for anyone. In Elinor’s view, “Why wouldn’t you want your house to meet the needs of older family members visiting you?” I have to agree. You may even have a young child or two in the house (not that uncommon – I have a seven year old! You may have grandkids) and need to make your living community child safe as well.

Some of Elinor’s top ten tips? When you read them, you’ll surely say, “That’s plain common sense!” Of course it is. But I challenge you to check YOUR house out and see how safe it is. For example, Elinor says:

Use brighter bulbs in all settings.

Well that is easy, simple…yet how many of you are squinting at the fine print in the dark? Or stubbing your toe on the suitcase you didn’t unpack after your last trip.

Install nightlights in all areas of night activity.

You probably had nightlights for your kids. Inexpensive, easy and very important to avoid midnight falls. Remember, the bigger the “kid,” the harder the fall.

To read all 10 safety tips, head to www.aarp.org/homedesign.

And to receive AARP’s new, free publication, Home Modification: Your Key to Comfort, Safety, and Independent Living, call 1-888-OUR-AARP and ask for publication number D18524. However, when I tried to order my copy, the switchboard was jammed up. So Elinor and the media folk at AARP have made it easier for us by sending a link
http://www.aarp.org/families/home_design/universaldesign/ that takes you to an online order form. If you install a nice, bright light above your reading chair, it’ll be an easy read.

Keep your sights on this blog for a forthcoming set of tips from AARP’s Elinor Ginzler on transport and driving at 50 plus.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Talking the talk 101. How the heck do I comment?

Oh my. I've been getting a few emails from distraught readers wanting to know why their comments aren't showing up.

If you are subscribing through Feedblitz, then you cannot reply to the "feed" email to you. In order to comment on a post, then you need to open the article on the blog (you can click on the title of the post and that will take you to the actual webpage on the blog), choose the underlined word comment at the bottom of the post and then enter your comments in the pop-up window. You'll be able to choose whether to use your blogger name (if you have one) or your name and website address (if you have one) or you can tick "Anonymous" and just leave your comments.

All comments are moderated. I don't allow a comment to go through until I've read it. This helps control spam on the site. That means that it may take up to 24 hours for your comment to post. So you don't have to submit it to me multiple times wondering why your comment didn't show up immediately under the post. If your post doesn't appear within 24 hours, assume that you may have submitted it incorrectly. Feel free to email me at wspiegel@genplususa.com and I'll ensure your comment gets on the correct posting.

Finally, this new format is part of the new Blogger template. As a result, if you have an older version of a blogger account, you will not be able to post on this site until you upgrade your account to your Google user information.

I'm no tech genius, but I hope that helps. Email me if you experience any more difficulties. And keep your eyes open -- wide open -- Sunday night. There is an interesting post on its way!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BBC Brings Language to the Web. Hello. Bonjour. Hola. Hallo. Ciao. 你好 こんにちは

In the ultimately coolest move that the internet has to offer the traveller, the BBC brings Language Learning to a whole new level. For all you 50 plussers who are chomping at the bit to explore more of the world, check out their site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/ and test your skills in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese and Portuguese...just to start.
Thinking of travelling to foreign climes...Spain, perhaps? Take the Fast Track route, where you take on a secret agent character, Jamie Blond, and practice your Spanish along the way to picking up clues.

Move over Italian for Dummies. I'm heading over to the centro storico in Verona, to meet up with my online friend Marta.

A lot of fun and it'll take some of the language fear out of your travel plans! Let me know what you think! (In any language.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hold on!

My mother is a 70 year old vibrant woman - really more of a 60-something in spirit and in ability. However, like many other seniors, if she's going to head out to the movies on a Saturday night, it will be to the early show -- like the 5 pm show -- to avoid the crowds. At the particular theater she went to this evening, with a girlfriend, there is a short flight of stairs to be navigated on the way out of the theater.

And as she was holding on to the bannister, tightly, to ensure she didn't wobble and pitch down to the next landing, she realized that a multitude of seniors were all holding on...right along with her. As she shared this realization with her friend and the two of them started giggling at the sight of all these "seniors hanging onto the bannisters for dear life", the woman behind her laughed aloud and said, "Holding on??? I've got the railing in a death grip! After sitting for two hours, my knees locked and I can barely move." Well, that got a chorus of laughs.

So here I sit, chuckling, thinking about hundreds of 60 and 70 plussers laughing their way down a flight of stairs, railing in death grip.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Failure? Not so sure about that.

I happened upon a broadcast radio essay yesterday and it was about failure. This particular writer preferred to celebrate failure over success because of the lessons and rewards that can only come through the struggle and learning through failing.

He talked about chefs who compare chopping wounds and other kitchen-related battle scars. The more scars (failures) the greater the evidence of learning through experience. We all know the old adage, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Well, is that so different from the learning through failure to find a job over 50?

Just think of what we learn. Instead of a few resume rejections, I hear from Jobseekers who send out hundreds of resumes and job applications with not ONE response. Instead of one or two interviews that turn into job offers, there are a dozen rejections just to start.

I am always affected by the many emails and stories that come my way every week. Stories about the struggles of 50 plus jobseekers actively seeking jobs with no success. In a couple of weeks, I'll tell you more about Marla (not her real name), an administrative assistant seeking work in the Midwest. I'll tell you about how she went back to school at 62 to hone her skill set and how she drives over an hour for each job interview. I'll give you the inside story on how her friends assure her of her inability to find employment and how even the ten temporary staffing agencies cannot find her one day of work. But I'll also share with you Marla's tenacious determination to find a job. And how the fact that she is willing to drive an hour each way to work and back every day, just for the privilege of working, will be an asset to her future unknown employer.

And I'll tell you how her inability to find a job...the skill set she has employed throughout her failure to secure employment, is the very essence of why someone will, in fact, decide to hire her.

Oh...and if you want to hire Marla, let me know. I can easily contact her...she tracked me down with detective-like skill!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Who's Time Has Come...

A wonderful concept from the folks at Campus Continuum. How would YOU, at 55 plus, like to be surrounded by young, bright, inquiring minds, on or near a vibrant university campus? Well, Campus Continuum, headed by Gerard Badler, thinks that a lot of 55 plussers will jump onto the lifelong learning trend and desire retirement in a university setting. Gerard explains: "We offer residential communities for life-long learners that are tightly integrated with academic host institutions."

Personally, I think it is a great idea. There are many studies that prove that an active mind retards aging and prolongs our ability to process. Continuing to learn forces our brains to make the vital connections required to keep them healthy. So, heck...doesn't it make terrific sense to live in an environment dedicated to just that? Below is part of a recent press release from CC. They are running a survey on their website about lifelong learning and living environments, so please hop on over there and give them your thoughts.

Baby Boomers Could Live on College Campuses -- Online Survey Now Underway …

(ISSUED AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2006) -- When you near retirement age, maybe you’d like to live on a college campus? Chances are you never even considered the idea!
“In 20 years, there will be 70 million people over age 65 in the U.S. and traditional retirement lifestyles could be radically different,” says Gerard Badler, head of Campus Continuum based in Newton, Mass. Badler is pioneering the concept of university-branded 55+ active adult communities that are “tightly integrated with their academic hosts.” His emphasis is on ‘active’ meaning residents are ‘young old’ who will add to the vitality of campus life.
A relatively new concept, there are only about 50 such communities across the U.S. But the idea is gaining popularity, says Badler who has spent the past few years cross-crossing the country, presenting the novel lifestyle idea to college administrators and boards from Maine to California.

To determine the level of interest and what colleges may be the best candidates, Badler has developed an online survey asking prospective residents to identify campuses on which they’d like to reside and to indicate preferred amenities (
www.campuscontinuum.com). Campus Continuum will use the data it collects to promote the development of communities around the country. To take the survey (no obligation; anonymous if you wish) go to the website and click on ‘Consumer Survey.’

Badler notes several advantages for seniors to live on or near a college campus:
· Exposure to classes, campus life: Research says mental activity may delay dementia
· Opportunity to take courses – close to home at reduced cost
· Brings back fond memories of carefree college days
· Opportunity to serve as teachers or mentors for students
· Access to cultural and sporting events, and often athletic, dining and healthcare facilities
· ‘Intergenerational excitement’ lacking in traditional retirement communities (all seniors)
· An easy ‘commute’ to wide range of campus events, as well as volunteer and paying jobs

Badler’s Campus Continuum is close to signing its first deal. “We’ll be breaking new ground in more ways than one,” he says.