Retirement Coaches Association: Conference #2 - September 2018

I attended the first Retirement Coaches Association conference held in September 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan... and I am back again to report my experience for 2018!

I am highlighting just a few things in each session that my retired audience might find interesting. 

First, if you are a Retirement Coach finding this page, please learn more about the RCA and next years conference here.

RCA Founder:

Robert Laurathe founder of the Retirement Coaches Association, is a Retirement Activist and Financial Planner. The conference is so refreshing to me -- because of the tight Retirement Coaches niche.These people speak my language - retirement! Every session I learn something new, even after being in the retirement field for over 30 years!  Kudos to Bob and Amie for pulling off a superb event!

Robert Laura does the opening session. In 2017, I grabbed this quote as I couldn't have said this any better. Today I will repeat it:

Isn't that the truth? Yes, certainly is!

Conference Sessions and Speaker Links

As I did last year, I will highlight the speakers who might help retirees. The majority of the speakers worked on Retirement Coach topics, our conference topic, but a few I need to share here!

Your Brain on Retirement:
Dr. Benjamin Hampstead

Dr. Benjamin Hampstead from  the University of Michigan, Psych Dept., was the first speaker and his session was really interesting as I love neuro-research. I took 5 pages of notes which I need to digest more, but a few quick points:

  • Dementia is the overall term for mental decline, including Alzheimers.
  • Dementia varies greatly... like MCI (mild cognitive impairment) is about not finding the words you want, some deficits in everyday  living. 
  • Dementia does NOT always get worse: l/3 gets worse, l/3 remains as is, l/3 gets better.
  • Brain games can't hurt, but no scientific evidence they do work. However, they empower you, instead of feeling hopeless, so mentally they can help you.
  • The more active your retired lifestyle, the likelihood your brain will stay engaged longer, thus dementia does't set in as early. 

THE SINGLE BEST THING WE CAN DO: EXERCISE.  This helps our brain, heart, vascular, is a mood enhancer and releases opiates too.

Couples in Retirement:
Dr. Dorian Mintzer

Dr. Dorian Mintzer from Revolutionize Retirement spoke about the variety of different "couples" in today's society:  heterosexual, same sex, long term couples, 2nd-3rd-4th marriages, committed but not married, and on it goes!

Who will HELP you later in life? Who is your Safety Net?

Divorce over 50 is increasing. Women work and are not as dependent on the husband. You might have 20-40 years left and simply don't want to remain in this marriage. Each person in a relationship needs to have a voice -- speak to each other, eye to eye.

Topics couples can and should discuss:

  • timing of retirement
  • finances
  • expectations (no assumptions, talk it out)
  • changing roles and identities (who does what)
  • time spent together and apart
  • obligations with family (gets complex with blended/extended families) 
  • how and where to live (aging in place, downsizing, plan ahead)
  • social life and community (we all need friends)
  • spirituality
  • end of life issues (act of love)
  • legacy (your footprint: what to leave to whom, ethical will, video life history)

You might want to take advantage of this conversation starter resource from The Conversation Project! 

Finally, use *I* statements. Instead of blaming your partner with "you did this... " try using: "I think ..."   Use WE instead of Me and You to make your conversation more balanced.   YOU CAN DO THIS, Retiree!

Helping Clients Understand The Caregiving Role:
Leslie Koc

Leslie Koc is a Retirement Coach and Caregiver for her husband. I am also a caregiver to my parents (age 90 and 92) though not to the extent as other caregivers as they do live independently... but I am there daily to help.

Some statistics on Spousal Caregiving:

  • Age 62.3 is the average age of spousal caregivers
  • Caregivers lose approximately 1/3 of daily living
  • Caregivers have a 63% higher mortality rate
  • 7 of 10 retirees turning 65 today will need care
  • Life can change immediately (illness/injury) or gradually (dementia)
  • Changes include: spousal roles, parenting, home management, financial, decision, social interactions, medical coordination
  • We need to get creative on duties and needs, not resent it
  • Lose flexability and freedom of retirement when caregiving

She then spoke about Ambigious Loss, which is defined as: Ambiguous loss is a loss that occurs without closure or understanding. This kind of loss leaves a person searching for answers, and thus complicates and delays the process of grieving, and often results in unresolved grief.

Now LOOK at what happens to caregivers:

  • constant sorrow as things don't get better
  • anxiety of the unknown and every moment can be different
  • depression
  • role changes
  • family & friendships: some caregivers become invisible now
  • isolation: friends back away, long hours caregiving - we become self-contained and use phone/online for friendships
  • guilt/shame: wonder what if this didn't happen
  • lack of self-care: calendar flexible, always tomorrow, dress, indecision, alcohol/substance abuse

Caregivers need to take back control of our lives through exercise, sleep, and mindful eating!

There is a big difference between Caregiver and Care Manager. 

  • Caregiver: we do it all, alone.
  • Care Manager: delegate tasks, assure your loved one is cared for but find help!

One last thought about the Care Recipient: they are really invisible. Please be sure to talk TO them, not just the caregiver. We often create a Child atmosphere around them, so please chat with them. Taking them out, to a restaurant, brings some control and independence back to them. I love taking my dad out to eat, he has a hard time choosing what to eat, I read items over and over, but he enjoys having the choice!

Retirement Coach training

Joanne Waldman does the webinar training for Retirement Options Coaching. Many of the retirement coaches attending were trained here. One thing that really caught my attention in her talk last year (and repeated here) was about giving permission to retirees -- to follow their dream, to BE yourself!  You have to be ready to change. Inactivity brings on stress.  She asks her clients:

Retirees have been given a GIFT: the opportunity for positive change, empowering perspectives and a pathway to new beginnings!  #truth!

The Retirement Coaches Association conference had more sessions dealing with networking, RCA planning, marketing -- things not necessarily of interest to my retiree audience, so my summary will end here.

Thanks once again to Bob and Amie Laura for the time and attention to details invested in this conference... Even the food was great and the desserts were fab! :)