Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

/Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

5 Places for Seniors to Get Fit and Make Friends

Aging Baby Boomers want fun, creative exercise that not only keeps them active, but also provides an avenue for making friends. Luckily, programs across the country are stepping up to meet this growing demand. Here are five innovative places and programs that are keeping seniors active, independent, and social.


SilverSneakers is a unique senior wellness program that gives older adults access to over 13,000 fitness centers and classes across the country, all free of charge through qualifying health plans. Organizations that participate in SilverSneakers offer senior-centric fitness classes like low-impact circuit training, yoga, seated exercise, water aerobics, and fall-prevention fitness. More than just an exercise program, SilverSneakers emphasizes the value that friendship and social support bring to senior health. In fact, 74 percent of active SilverSneakers members report they’ve made friends through the program.


The YMCA and YWCA offer a wide range of fitness programs designed for seniors. Whether you’ve just hit your senior years and want to stay fit with Zumba, or you’re limited to chair exercises but still want to get out and stay healthy, your local Y has a senior fitness program for you. Most Ys also have pools, which means that seniors of all ages can enjoy low-impact water exercise to build flexibility and endurance without straining arthritic joints. Seniors can make friends in class and join senior group outings led by YMCA staff.

Multigenerational Community Centers

Senior centers are becoming a thing of the past, and multigenerational centers are taking their place. The new multigenerational centers mix the therapeutic recreation typically found in senior centers with social activities, fitness classes, and recreational sports that appeal to all ages. By creating a place where active people of any age can come together — without neglecting the unique needs of aging adults — multigenerational centers let seniors stay healthy side-by-side with friends of all ages. And since interaction across ages has been shown to be more beneficial to senior mental and cognitive health than senior-to-senior socialization alone, multigenerational centers can help keep seniors stay fit in more ways than one.

Ageless Grace

Ageless Grace combines physical and mental fitness to keep seniors healthy in both body and mind. With lessons that range from memory recall and imagination exercises to upper body strength and joint mobility, Ageless Grace takes a holistic approach to senior fitness. The classes are taught by independent instructors and can be found in churches, retirement homes, schools, and community centers around the country. Since Ageless Grace lessons incorporate both physical activity and mental games, they provide ample opportunity for seniors to interact and make friends. Ageless Grace participates in the SilverSneakers program, so qualified seniors can access their classes free of charge.

Senior Sport Leagues

Nothing promotes bonding quite like team sports, and senior sport leagues are a great option for active older adults who want to meet friends while staying fit. Seniors can access established programs like Granny Basketball, Senior Softball, National Senior League Wii bowling, or the National Senior Games Association. There may also be team sports for seniors available through local community and recreation centers. And if there’s no established league in your town? Enterprising seniors can start their own social league by advertising through existing fitness and community centers.

Staying active in your later years does more than keep you fit. In addition to helping you retain flexibility, improve your balance, and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, staying active can also be an excellent way to maintain a vibrant social life. And socialization comes with its own health benefits, from a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia to better physical mobility. With such a diversity of programs available, there’s a way for every senior to stay active and social.

Image via Flickr by sima dimitric




By | 2018-03-23T09:47:42+00:00 March 23rd, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on 5 Places for Seniors to Get Fit and Make Friends

Guest Blog: Burnout: Tips for Family Caregivers

Happy woman with elderly mother

By Dr. Nanette J. Davis, Ph.D.

Caregiving has often been compared to a roller coaster ride, with its inevitable ups and downs. This is especially true as your loved one deteriorates and faces the end of life. If you’re one of the 65 million family caregivers who has been feeling overwhelmed for too long, “burnout” may have set in.

Take that first step. Identify and claim the full range of your emotions—the anger, indifference, anxiety. In a recent study, 50% of family caregivers confessed to feeling depressed and some 69% admitted that frustration drove them to place their loved one in care. You may be experiencing the following, as well:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion over role reversal
  • Loss of interest
  • Withdrawal or isolation from friends and other support persons
  • Irritability
  • Illness
  • Poor sleep
  • Desire to harm self or others

These unwanted reactions can also be compounded by the guilt and shame about feeling this way. Here are a few suggestions that might make a big difference.

  1. Make a point to engage in outside activities for maintaining a sense of health and well-being. Sure, it could feel like “one more thing” to do. But if you choose your outside activities wisely—staying away from demanding people or events—you could feel surprisingly refreshed.
  2. Seek and accept outside help. Once you admit to yourself and others that you can’t do it alone, the burden suddenly lifts. Good starting points are: local organizations, social service agencies and faith communities. Don’t overlook family, friends and neighbors who may be able to lend a hand.
  3. Allow your loved one plenty of opportunities to practice functional skills—as hard as it may be. Feeling as independent as possible satisfies a basic human need, even for a seriously ill person.
  4. Consult with a geriatric specialist, pastor or counselor about the right course of action if your loved one has become overly dependent or has exhausted your resources—physical, emotional or financial.
  5. Admit that you are juggling multiple roles, and engaging in an ever-so-delicate dance of support. The dance can go on as long as you allow the role of who leads and who follows to shift as circumstances change.
  6. Pay attention to your own needs. You can achieve balance when you include time to sleep, exercise, eat and attend to your own medical needs. Time spent with family, friends or just being alone helps you bounce back, too.
  7. Practice saying—maybe even forcefully—“no” when appropriate, and “yes” when someone offers to help.
  8. Seek out quality respite care.
  9. Enjoy an occasional movie or lunch with a supportive friend.
  10. Don’t expect too much from yourself.

Continue to recognize, acknowledge and accept your difficult emotions, so you can then work on setting boundaries, letting go of control and developing coping skills. For example, meditation and yoga can be incredibly relaxing.

Your commitment to your loved one can be a renewable resource if you take the right steps and are willing to change strategies when the “same ol’, same ol’” isn’t working anymore.

You can visit Dr. Nanette’s ABCs of Caregiving blog at http://www.abcsofcaregiving.com/




By | 2018-03-21T12:03:38+00:00 March 21st, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Burnout: Tips for Family Caregivers

Guest Blog: Spending Tips for Your Grand Kids


Introduction: Being a grandparent is special in many ways. It sometimes means overspending and spoiling our grandkids. We tend to cut down on other expenses rather than buying gifts for our cute little ones.

What’s so special about being a grandparent? Grand parenting brings along with it opportunities for loving a new person, the magic of childhood, play and fun and the joy of parenthood minus the heartache that often goes along with it. It is also an opportunity to share your hobbies with a young, curious mind, watch as the kids grow and develop, provide encouragement and make an impact, draw upon your breadth of experience to guide the child through life’s challenges. Many grandparents, in today’s graying America, provide care for their grandkids while mom goes off to work. This can be a very enriching experience for both.

Why do we overspend on our grandkids? A 2012 study by AARP shows that 89% of grandparents spoil their grandkids. USA Today says that 40% of Americans spend $500 or more per year on their grandchildren. Some grandparents even pay for their grandchildren college education and afterschool activities, such as piano lessons and dance classes. Grandparents often find themselves in a dilemma where they would like to be there for their adult kids financially but don’t want to jeopardize their retirement savings.

Where can I cut on spending?

  • Give the gift of time. It doesn’t always have to be a gift. Going on a hike together or doing a baking project can be a very memorable one for the two of you, much more so then a gift. Share stories. Your grandchildren will be delighted to hear stories about when their parents were children. Get with the times and learn to text and build a relationship that will last.
  • Make a budget. “Making a budget is the most important thing you can do because then you will be able to understand where your money is going and where you can afford to make cuts,” says Meg Favreau, senior editor of Wisebread.com. Grandparents should not fall into the trap of overspending on their grandkids. “If it’s affecting your ability to meet your obligations or is dipping into retirement savings, that’s a sign that it’s excessive spending,” says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial. For full article, click here.

Save your retirement for the fun things in life. Very often, without proper planning, our retirement funds get totally wiped out down the road if a loved one requires long-term care. Medicaid will usually cover for many types of care, including in-home, assisted living and nursing home care. They will however “look back” for a period of five years prior to application to uncover monetary gifts granted- “spent down” during that period, in which case they will impose a penalty corresponding with the gifted funds. Plan ahead and gift the monies to your loved ones now, so it doesn’t hurt you in the years to come. A Medicaid planning company like Senior Planning Services can guide you through the application process if you’re eligible and help shoulder the burden in these stressful times.

Conclusion: Being a grandparent is one of life’s most meaningful pleasures, but it can also be a juggling act. Knowing when to educate, when to spoil, when to stop spending, when to “spend down” and when to save your retirement funds; are all part of this blessing called grandparenthood.



By | 2018-03-19T17:48:22+00:00 March 20th, 2018|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Spending Tips for Your Grand Kids
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