Compliments of
John Verster
Changing Places Vancouver
Volume 12 Edition 1
Financing Your Retirement

One of the “funnies” my friend forwarded to me the other day by email was a website that can forecast my life expectancy if I plug in the relevant details. I figured why not? I uploaded the requested data and the answer was 101.5 years!  Well, I am in my early seventies in pretty good shape and look after myself, my mom died at 96, statistics claim centenarians are becoming one of the fastest growing demographics and medicines are keeping us alive even longer. There is a reasonable chance that my demise at the age of 101.5 is not a joke. There is only one problem: I will have far outlived my retirement funds! When I retired 10 years ago, like most people, I calculated the cost of living on the basis of 60-70 percent pre-retirement income, a foundation still used today. I did all my due diligence with a budget and with the mortgage paid off, and no other debts, I thought that my wife and I were well within the comfort zone of income coming in from investments and pensions.

It wasn’t too long before reality surfaced - nothing drastic, just “things” that were never given a heading in the old budget. More to the point, it was the realization that while our income was more or less fixed, our needs were increasing.

What are your missing items? If you are about to retire, and counting your chickens, listen up! If you are well into retirement, you can just nod and say, “Yup, he’s got that right!”

If you’ve decided to stay in your house, budget for that new roof or other major maintenance. If you’ve downsized and moved to a townhouse or condo, strata fees will increase regularly and there are regular assessments. For those who haven’t switched to riding a bike or a scooter, you’ll eventually need to replace your car. Allocate funds for these items unless future depletion of capital is not a problem.

God bless them, those kids and grandkids - the more the merrier. With their significant others, how many birthday and Christmas gifts need to be purchased? What about grads and weddings or other special occasions? Put aside a chunk of money for these expenses. Oh, and let’s not even talk about the potential cost of helping out children coming home after a marriage break up, job loss or other financial disaster - the kind of events that could trash any budget.

If you were lucky to keep your extended health insurance from employment, great! If not, you pay the premiums, which increase with age and health problems.
If you pay the freight as you go along, just some simple blood pressure meds, vitamins and supplements, eyeglasses and perhaps a hearing aid, physio and dental may run into thousands. As you age, these costs keep going up! And have you considered critical illness insurance?

That was on the top of the list for your retirement activities, right? Before you go anywhere, you had better have travel insurance and hope to be healthy, because on top of the age-based increases in premiums, the extras for various health problems are significant. Then you need to allow for the ever-increasing cost of all travel-related functions and hope that in 10 years’ time you can afford to travel further than Calgary!

Even with the best financial advisor managing your funds, another trashing by the markets like a couple of years ago, may put a major damper on your financial future. You’ll need all the help you can get unless you are a financial wizard or independently wealthy, in which case, none of the above would bother you. Happy retirement!
Article by, By George Zador, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine

How Does Age Affect Blood Donation? - Part 1

Q - I heard there is an age cut-off for donating blood – is this true? What are the most common reasons a senior donor might be deferred from donating blood? And what are the most common reasons a senior might need blood products to stay healthy?
A – These are great questions and will hopefully help spread the message about the importance of blood donation! We’ll start with answering your first question in this edition of “Maturity Matters”, followed by responses to your second two questions in future issues. For many years, Canadian Blood Services deferred donors from giving blood once reaching a certain age – either 61 years of age for first time donors, or 71 for regular donors. Over time, increasing evidence indicated that healthy, senior donors could safely donate and also, many of our loyal, long term, and highly motivated senior donors were advocating that they be allowed to continue donating. In December 2004, after careful assessment, Canadian Blood Services obtained Health Canada approval to allow seniors to begin donating blood after age 61 and continue donating beyond age 71, after assessment of their fitness to donate by their physician.  Seniors are asked to complete a medical document, called the “Letter to the Attending Physician” which is given to their doctor, to indicate their assessed fitness to donate and, which is then returned to Canadian Blood Services. The form can be obtained at your local blood donor clinic or online at, and should be completed if you are a first-time donor above the age of 61, or annually for donors above the age of 71.
Today, senior donors are an important part of Canadian Blood Services’ donor base. In British Columbia, for example, while donors above the age of 65 account for 3.7 per cent of the overall donor base, they also account for 5.2 per cent of all donations, proving they’re among our most loyal and frequent blood donors.
Dr. Mark Bigham is a Medical Consultant for both Canadian Blood Services and Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia.

Egg-White Souffle

Soufflés are tricky as they puff up beautifully and then collapse before you know it. The best part about it all is that you get to see it happen and enjoy the creamy delicious flavour that it has. Choose a 1 L (4 cup) size bowl for this simple soufflé to watch it grow and puff in the microwave as it cooks. Makes 1 serving.
Ingredients - 10 mL (2 tsp) soft, non-hydrogenated margarine, 60 mL (1/4 cup) skim milk, 15 mL (1 tbsp) all-purpose flour, 1 mL (1/4 tsp) dried oregano, Pinch cayenne pepper, 15 mL (1 tbsp) finely chopped roasted red pepper, 1 egg white or 30 mL (2 tbsp) liquid egg white.

Directions - In 1 L (4 cup) bowl, combine margarine and milk. Microwave on High for 30 seconds.  Whisk in flour, oregano and pepper. Microwave on High for 30 seconds. Whisk to combine. Whisk in red pepper. Using electric mixer, beat egg white until firm peaks. Fold into milk mixture until evenly combined. Microwave on High for about 1 minutes or until puffed and cooked through. Slide out onto plate to enjoy.

Nutritional Information Per Serving - Calories: 137, Protein: 7 g, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Cholesterol : 1 mg, Carbohydrate: 10 g, Fibre: 1 g, Sugar: 4 g, Sodium: 200 mg, Potassium: 181 mg

Recipe developed by Emily Richards, PH. Ec. ©Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011.


Sharing Happiness

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.  One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'
Epilogue: There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy. 'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .'

Author Unknown


Canada Pension Plan

Canada Pension Plan benefits are revised annually. For 2011, they increased by 1.7 percent (for those already receiving CPP benefits) effective January 1, 2011, reflecting the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the last year. The CPI increased by 1.7 percent in that period, and consequently Canadians already receiving CPP benefits saw their benefits increase by that amount. The maximum CPP retirement benefit for new recipients increased from $934.17 to $960 per month on January 1, 2011. This is calculated based on the Average Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings for the past five years.



Physical Limitations When Travelling

Travel Tip - Seniors should consider their physical limitations when planning a trip. Those with heart disease, for example, might choose an itinerary that does not involve strenuous activities. Seniors may also have a hard time recovering from jet lag and motion sickness, so they should take these factors into account when planning a trip.


Financing Your Retirement
How Does Age Affect Blood Donation? - Part 1
Egg-White Souffle
Sharing Happiness
Canada Pension Plan
Physical Limitations When Travelling