Category Archives: Gen Plus List

Lists of things to do for Boomers and 50 Plussers. Send submissions for consideration to wspiegel@genplususa.com

Little secret about blogging

One of the little known areas about blogging is the PR machine that tries to reach the bloggers.  I thought it might be amusing to open the curtain a bit.  When I started blogging in 2004, it was still a relatively new medium.  I actively wrote for about 5 years and developed a large readership.  Before the meltdown of 2008,  baby boomers were still trying to find and keep jobs and reinvent themselves as they heading into their 50’s and 60’s.  Very few of us talked about boomers…it wasn’t “the demographic” that advertisers were looking for.  However, because the small group of us were very niched, anyone who was trying to sell anything to those edging to gray, reached out.  And quite creatively at the beginning, too.  Companies wanted their products to be authentic and I was inundated with cell phones with large numbers, boomer-geared music, books, movies, lingerie…from electronics to mobile homes to funeral offerings…marketers wanted a real picture to be shared on the web.

By 2009, Yelp and other user-reviewed sites had started to gain traction and marketing moved away from sharing of true experiences, and twitter parties, contests and user stories, to a search for reviews.  So publicists started offering their CEO’s, writers, talent, inventors and experts for interview, so that they’d have their online “quotables”.

I slowed down my blogging in 2009 for various reasons.  First, it was depressing to try and help others find work when there really was no work available for anyone…let alone anyone over 45.  Secondly, my business (a pet care services company) was taking off and I really didn’t have the time to devote to the hours I needed to write thoughtful posts.  So I laid back, but always kept a finger in here and there when something interested struck me.

From 2009 to today, every day, I am inundated by press releases from agencies who would like my reviews.  And clearly, they just want a review, because in 2015, there is no doubt…an online review by someone who has a good audience carries more weight than almost any other venue of advertising. How do you choose a restaurant today?  Usually Yelp or Google reviews guide the way.  Find a gardener or handyman?  Angie’s List, Nextdoor Neighbors.  How does a movie gain traction?  Rotten Tomatoes will make or break it, along with what fans are saying on Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.  Because I blogged for a long time, I’m on a lot of lists.  I don’t mind that at all.  But I’m finding it a rare day that something comes across my laptop screen that compels me to dig deeper.

If I were a publicist today I’d be focusing the same way, probably try to be a bit clearer about my targets and try to be a bit interested in who I’m trying to connect with.  I’d also get rid of market speak.  “Hello!  How are you?  I’m reaching out to you today to….”  or “Hi. Our CEO would love to connect with your readers…” or “Hi! Following up on our communication last week to see if…”.

Anyway, I do read all the plugs because you never know what’ll be interesting to you.  So, if I do share my thoughts on something with you, or review a product or a bit of literature, it’s because I felt it was something worth sharing.

Hope you enjoy the window into this funny little world.

Gen Plus List – October 14, 2010

Lots of goodies to share with you today. 

First out of the gate —

Decide. Create. Share

AARP has just launched Decide.Create.Share., their newly launched public education campaign, meant to increase awareness among women of the importance of assessing future needs and planning for their unique lifestyles and goals with long-term care. I’ve addressed this issue in the past, and I thought you might find the campaign and information worthwhile.

There are several long-term care planning resources featured at http://www.aarp.org/decide. They include a quiz to determine how ready one is for the future, and easy, free, and practical tips that women can use to stay on track. You’ll also find video clips of boomer women Patricia, Jeannie and Mary Ann, who share their personal stories of why and how they’re planning for their futures. I hope you’ll consider embedding or linking to them to share with Gen Plus readers.

Many women associate long-term care with insurance and nursing homes, but in actuality, that’s just one small part of it. Future planning is really all about women living life on their own terms (and staying in charge). True long-term care planning includes assessing future needs across home, community, health, legal and finances, which is why this campaign hopes to encourage boomer women to take the steps toward planning for their needs, especially as according to a recent AARP survey, 59% of women ages 45 to 64 haven’t determined how they’ll pay for their long-term care needs. More information on why long-term care is a women’s issue can be found here.

Delicious and Deliciouser

 I’ve found my Italian boyfriend…at least from afar.  A few seconds of listening to the magnificent voice of Vittorio Grigolo will have you booking your next vacation to Tuscany.  From the Sony press release:

 Hailed as one of the finest tenors in recent times, Grigolo’s debut album (click link for samples), The Italian Tenor,  was released by Sony Classical on October 5th,  and features famous arias and lesser known discoveries.  Also, on October 16, Grigolo makes his highly anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Rodolfo in La Bohème. [note:…sadly I won’t be there…]

 Grigolo purposely waited to record his first operatic solo album until he had something unique to communicate in the repertoire.  According to Grigolo, “I chose arias representing the culture I come from.”

 Born in Tuscany, Grigolo began his career as a young boy performing as a soloist in the celebrated Sistine Chapel Choir.  His distinctive voice attracted the praise of the great Luciano Pavarotti when, at age thirteen, he starred alongside him as the Pastorello in Tosca at the Rome Opera. He went on to be the youngest tenor ever to debut at the legendary La Scala, Milan and has conquered many of the world’s great opera houses since, appearing with the finest artists and conductors of our day. Grigolo made his Chicago debut in 2008 starring in a tribute to Pavarotti in front of thousands at Grant Park.  He made his Washington, D.C. debut in 2009 sharing the stage with Renée Fleming in a lauded production of Lucrezia Borgia conducted by Plácido Domingo.  Recently, he triumphed in his debut at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in Massenet’s Manon.

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The Italian Tenor presents arias from three great operatic composers – Gaetano Donizetti, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.  These include Donizetti’s “Una furtiva lagrima” (L’Elisir d’Amore) which was made famous by Enrico Caruso, whose famous performance of the aria paved the way for the opera’s return to the repertoire after years of neglect. 

The Italian Tenor was recorded in the Teatro, Regio di Parma, a venue particularly associated with Verdi. It was recorded with the resident orchestra and conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi, with whom Grigolo shares a personal musical connection and admires greatly. Grigolo makes special mention of Plácido Domingo for having offered him guidance and unwavering support throughout Grigolo’s career. 

Winter Songs

Well in time for Christmas party prep, or just to put you in the right mood, Sony has a new compilation release (of previously released tracks – click the link to listen to song samples)  “Winter Songs: A Windham Hill Christmas.”  The album is in stores now, and features such popular Windham Hill artists as LIZ STORY, ALEX DE GRASSI, PHILIP AABERG and JIM BRICKMAN.  From the tracks I listened to, these are just lovely, diverse acoustic arrangements of true Christmas classics (Joy to the World, Circle of Joy, Greensleeves, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, just to mention a few).

John Edward (medium)

What can I say?  He intrigues me.  This year, as John celebrates his 25th anniversary as a practicing medium, he shares his tips for developing your own psychic intuition in his new book Infinite Quest (October 2010; ISBN 9781402778933; Sterling Publishing).   In it, John enables readers to learn how to own their power, take a chance to go outside the norm, and make more empowered choices-to use intuition to better help them take charge of their life.  Thought you might enjoy this short article with some of his positive action tips.

Trouble seeing these words?

 Staying healthy and active at every stage throughout one’s life is very important, but sometimes eye health is often overlooked. EyeCare America, is a national non-profit organization that provides eye exams at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible patients.

Perhaps you have heard some of these common eye health myths:

–          Using computers or reading or sewing in dim light can cause damage to your eyes. False. The truth is none of these actions will actually harm your eyes.

–          Eye exams are only needed if you notice a change in your vision. False again! Did you know that there are actually a bunch of vision conditions and diseases that lack clear warning signs?

Would you like to see if you or your loved ones qualify for sight-saving eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost?  Visit the online referral center at: www.EyeCareAmerica.org to find out!  And to learn more about those who have benefited from EyeCare America, check out this special video PSA: www.westglen.com/online/saveyoursight.htm

Gen Plus List – 8/9/10

Did you all notice that yesterday (my sister’s birthday, by the way) was August 9th, 2010…or 8,9,10?  I realize today is 9,9,10, but I liked yesterdays numerology…hence that date added to the Gen Plus List!

Tons ‘o’stuff to share.  In no particular order:

For years, in our family, we opened our doors to international students and created friendships with these wonderful kids…many that have lasted for many, many years.  There is a great host family program that might interest you, whether your kids are out of the house, or still living with you.   Welcoming a high school foreign exchange student into your home is a great way to increase global awareness for your family, your schools and even across your community. Learning more about the EF Foundation for Foreign Study may encourage you, your family, or friends to learn more about becoming a host family!

The deadline for this year is coming up quickly and the EF Foundation for Foreign Study is looking right now for host families for the 2010-2011 school year.

EF Foundation has:

  • Connected over 100,000 talented, enthusiastic students from 30 countries with caring host families across America 
    • Been facilitating foreign exchange for more than 30 years.   
    • Connected more students with American host families than any other program of its kind! 

 This is a PSA which showcases some of the young people and families that have benefited: EF Foundation  Definitely worth your consideration.

AND…

…a new article Women Will Steer the Fate of Health Care Reform written by author Dora Calott Want, M.D.  The article discusses the role of women and the fact they have a large role in steering the health care choices of their family. Now with the new Affordable Care Act, the actions of women on behalf of their families will collectively shape the future of health care in America.

Dora is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine and the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, she received her M.A. in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been the recipient of a writer’s residency from the Lannan Foundation. In addition, her new book The Kitchen Shrink is published by Riverhead Books, The Penguin Group.
AND…
…mmmm….mmmm….mmmm!  What chocolate is to the palate is Lang Lang to a renewed love affair with classical music.  Many of us only “met” Lang Lang through the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, but if you DON”T know who he is, then it is time you did.  Do you remember when you first saw the Beatles shake up and create rock’n’roll?  Lang Lang is that same elixer to the classics.  With his emotion just bursting out of him, you can feel what the meaning of the music is.  Sony Music got it right on and signed him on.  And, boy is it right.  His first album for Sony, “Live in Vienna”, is also is the first time he records Beethoven sonatas: the famous Appassionata, and C major Sonata op. 2, no. 3.  Frankly, I’ll listen to Lang Lang anytime…playing anything.  Watch this clip and see if you aren’t blown away.  Good job, Sony.

Releasing August 24th.

AND….

As you may know by now, I’m really big into good, healthy eating.  Well, author Judith J. Wurtman has just released  The Serotonin Power Diet (Rodale Inc.; December 2009, ISBN: 978-1-59486-972-3, $15.99, Paperback).  This book shows readers how to eat in order to maximize their bodies’ serotonin production.   I’m ALL for that.  Born with the most sluggish of metabolisms (yes, I could withstand cold Siberian winters subsisting on pototo soup) and exercise copiously just to be able to eat a home-baked chocolate- chip muffin, I, for one, can’t wait to read this book and see what I can do to give me some of that full pleasure that seratonin provides (vs. eating more chocolate!)

Based on over 30 years of pioneering research on the connections between food, mood, brain, and appetite, Dr. Wurtman and her colleague, Nina T. Frusztajer MD devised and clinically tested this groundbreaking program.  The program was developed at a Harvard University affiliated hospital weight loss clinic to help people on antidepressants lose weight. The diet continues to work for those who have a few pounds to lose or more.  

Dr. Wurtman is currently an Expert on WebMD’s The Exchange she also blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.
Now THAT is some great Gen Plus list stuff, don’t you think?

Gen Plus List — June 16, 2010

Lots of goodies to share with you.

Literally…goodies from Cheerios:

I’ve obviously become very label-conscious and Cheerios has made me aware of their new campaign, focused on encouraging Americans to make heart health a priority, so they can do more of what they love.  The campaign will be using real stories from active people and you get to film yourself participating in your passion or hobby.  There are Cheerios story kits available (HD video camera, two memory cards, batteries and a Cheerios cereal sample) to a small number of potential storytellers!  If you want to bring your personal story to life and have the chance to be featured on the new Cheerios website, then head to www.Cheerios.com/love  and request your own Cheerios Story Kit .

And get ready to swoon:

Remember these?  “I Say a Little Prayer”,  “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”, “It’ Our Little Secret”…

Bacharach’s brilliant score is the epitome of the pop-Broadway hybrid, and this revival adds two of his best songs (“Say A Little Prayer” and “A House is Not a Home”) to nuggets such as “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”     – Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post

MASTERWORKS BROADWAY proudly announces the upcoming release of the New Broadway Cast Recording of PROMISES, PROMISES.  The recording is available nationwide physically and digitally on June 22, 2010 and is produced by Grammy Award winners David Caddick and David Lai.  For the first time in over forty years PROMISES, PROMISES returns to the stage starring Emmy Award winner Sean Hayes and Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth.  Directed and choreographed by Tony and Emmy Award winner Rob Ashford, this new production of PROMISES, PROMISES, with Neil Simon’s funny and touching book and Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s hit-packed score, opened at the Broadway Theatre on Sunday, April 25, 2010.

PROMISES, PROMISES stars Sean Hayes as Chuck Baxter, Kristin Chenoweth as Fran Kubelik, Tony Goldwyn as J.D. Sheldrake, Tony Award winner Katie Finneran as Marge MacDougall and Tony Award winner Dick Latessa as Dr. Dreyfuss.  They lead a cast of 27 including Brooks Ashmanskas as Mr. Dobitch, Peter Benson as Mr. Kirkeby, Seán Martin Hingston as Mr. Eichelberger and Ken Land as Jesse Vanderhof.

Based on the 1960 Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder film The Apartment that starred Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, PROMISES, PROMISES tells the story of the Consolidated Life Insurance Company and Chuck Baxter, one of its charming young employees. In an effort to advance his career, Chuck lends executives his apartment for their extramarital romantic trysts. But things become slightly complicated when Chuck discovers Fran Kubelik, the object of his affection, is involved with one of the executives. 

PROMISES, PROMISES earned 4 Tony Award nominations including: Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Sean Hayes), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Katie Finneran), Best Orchestrations (Jonathan Tunick), and Best Choreography (Rob Ashford) and features orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, with music direction by Phil Reno and dance music arrangements by David Chase.

Masterworks Broadway is a label of Sony Masterworks.  For email updates and information on Masterworks Broadway please visit www.masterworksbroadway.com.

From 2Young2Retire:

Candy Spitz, LCSW, ACC, Certified Life and Career Coach, has signed on as Director of Training and Facilitator Relations.  An experienced 2young2retire facilitator, Candy will be conducting the next facilitator training starting July 21, 2010, and running five consecutive Wednesdays from 5-6:30 pm Eastern via teleclass. 

If you are a coach, social worker, career counselor or have professional experience in team building or leadership development, the 2young2retire facilitator certification is a credential that prepares you to work with people 50 and older in designing a meaningful second act.  Graduates of the training  – 270 at last count – are bringing the 2young2retire course into their places of work, community and senior centers and community colleges.  The 2young2retire program helped the City of Glendale, Arizona, win the 2009 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award, the first for a city. 

For more about Candy and the training and to sign up, visit: http://www.2young2retire.com/facilitatorform.html  and http://www.candyspitz.com/tablegen3.html  Questions about your qualifications or other matters?  Contact Howard@2young2retire.com or 401-523-0953. Registration closes July 13 and enrollment is limited. 

From Berret-Koehler:

And I’m anxiously awaiting Wander Woman: How High- Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction (Berrett-Koehler;  
1605093513; June 14, 2010) by organizational psychologist and Master  Certified Coach Marcia Reynolds. In the book, Reynolds provides a wealth of exercises and practices so  women can better understand the needs that drive decisions, discover  
new ways of finding direction, and thoughtfully choose and plan the  future — whether climbing the corporate ladder, finding satisfaction  below the glass ceiling, or setting out on their own.  For more information please visit www.wanderwomanbook.com and follow the  author on Facebook and Twitter.  I’m interested in the “setting out on their own” section!

Gen Plus List — April 24, 2010

I’ve been so preoccupied with business that I’ve been a bit remiss about…business.  Here, in no particular order are some items worthy of press mentions…all good, so take some time and read through and link through.

  • I completely missed Paralyzed Veterans of America Week  which honored these veterans the week of  April 11th.  Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) marked its 64th birthday with a whole week of awareness-raising activities.  This year’s theme was Empowering Lives.  Paralyzed Veterans of America Awareness Week 2010 highlighted the unique challenges facing veterans with spinal cord injury/dysfunction as well as the relentless work of Paralyzed Veterans to empower seriously wounded heroes and their families.   Do something good — for more details about Paralyzed Veterans of America visit www.pva.org
  • Who doesn’t love a contest? ThirdAge.com just announced a new contest that’s tailored towards our Baby Boomer generation. More details and a link to the Facebook entry form can be found here: http://www.thirdage.com/aging-well/best-advice-youve-ever-received-contest Third Age is asking anyone who wants to enter to tell them about the best advice they’ve ever received. If Facebook’s community of users and ThirdAge fans choose the entry as a finalist, they’ll then hold a vote for the winners – giving out a grand prize of $250.00 in cash while also awarding two runner up prizes of $100.
  • I’m anxiously awaiting my review copy of  MOM STILL LIKES YOU BEST: The Unfinished Business Between Siblings (Doubleday; 5/4/10) by Jane Isay.   Isay, author of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents (2007), turns her wisdom to the sometimes heartbreaking but always meaningful bond between brothers and sisters and shows us how differences caused by family feuds, marriages, distance, or ancient history can be overcome.  Based on scores of interviews with brothers and sisters young and old, MOM STILL LIKES YOU BEST explores a wide range of relationships between siblings, from the very close ones, to the Wedding and Wake siblings, to those who are virtually estranged. With her razor sharp insight, Isay paints a vivid portrait of siblings in love and war and asks how we can get close and stay close with those who’ve known us the longest.  I’ll let you know what I think of the book once I’ve had a chance to read through it!
  • University of Virginia professor Jim Burroughs and Health Central CEO, Christopher M. Schroeder presented findings on the unique attributes of empowered patients – those who ask for treatment and prepare for their doctor appointments. You can click to view the study here http://www.healthcentral.com/about/the-empowered-patient/ Using established consumer psychology scales, they surveyed nearly 3,000 patients from their communities and found:

-What drives an empowered patient, including need for cognition and relationship with doctors

-How empowered patients can convert traditional mainstream patients to in-control consumers

-Where to find and how to recruit empowered patients effectively

Gen Plus List — February 24, 2010

I’ve received a slew of info about lots of important stuff related to the Boomer and 50 Plus demographic…yup…you.  So here goes…in no specific order:

  1. Have you or someone you know been ripped off or spotted a scam?  If so, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants to hear about it.  Their new animated How to File a Complaint video shows how and includes examples of the kinds of things someone might complain to the FTC about. View the video at ftc.gov/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint.shtm (in Spanish at http://ftc.gov/multimedia/video/scam-watch/file-a-complaint_es.shtm), or youtube.com/FTCvideos.  People can help stop scams, rip-offs and fraudsters by sharing their experience with the FTC.   The video’s announcement comes as the FTC releases its report listing the kind of consumer complaints filed with the agency in 2009. Read more at http://ftc.gov/opa/2010/02/2009fraud.shtm
  2. Also from the FTC — Who are the easiest targets?  People in need.  And right now, jobs are darn hard to find.  It’s hard to believe someone would steal money from a person looking for a job. But unfortunately, no matter how bad the situation, scammers see opportunity. Many people looking for work have been ripped off by scam artists who promise a job, access to special job listings, interviews, or a way to make a big income working from home – that is, if they just pay a fee or turn over their credit or debit card information.  In the end, they’re left with no job…and some are robbed of hundreds of dollars. That’s why the FTC has produced a video warning consumers:  “Don’t Pay for a Promise.” The video, which you can find at ftc.gov/jobscams, features details on how consumers can spot and steer clear of job scammers, and how to report rip-offs to the FTC. Also, the FTC and its partners across the country today announced a law enforcement sweep cracking down on job and work-at-home scams (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/02/bottomdollar.shtm ).
  3. From AdvaCAL, a calcium supplement, this interesting finding:  With osteoporosis an increasing concern among women of all ages, a recent report in the medical journal Osteoporosis International found that women taking the AAACa (AdvaCAL®) calcium supplements had the highest bone density increase among 32 different calcium studies conducted between 1977 and 2008. The 32 studies involved 3,169 postmenopausal women, 79 skeletal measures and 7 different types of calcium, including dairy. You can read full report details here:  www.stoposteo.com (Note:  I’m an unusual case — I show early stage bone density loss, yet my calcium levels are too high for me to need a calcium supplement…anyone know what that is all about??)
  4. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has launched a financial workbook series to help folks get their finances in order. You’d think it would be easier, but it’s kind of like repainting your house.  You can try to figure out how to scrape, sand, fill, prime and paint on your own (and figure out how many gallons you need of each color, oil, latex, combo, etc), but bottom line, it is a heck of a lot easier to find a painter who knows his/her stuff who can tell you how and what to do.  The NFCC sees your finances in the same way and has created exclusive workbooks that’ll help get you on track towards that goal. From “Better Fortunes” to “More than One Way Out,” and “Live a Richer Life,” these workbooks are filled with tips, advice and strategies straight from the experts!  You can purchase the workbooks for a low cost by visiting http://www.nfcc.org/publications.
  5. The All Eyes on Glaucoma campaign is spreading the word about World Glaucoma Week, March 7-13th.  Throughout this week people are encouraged to learn about eye health and the importance of regular, comprehensive eye exams. Did you know that John Patrick Shanley, Academy Award Winner for Best Screenplay for Moonstruck and playwright of Doubt, was diagnosed with advanced glaucoma twelve years ago and has experienced significant vision loss? 

 “Although glaucoma runs in my family, I took my sight for granted until I was faced with the harsh reality that I could go permanently blind from this condition.  Fortunately my timely diagnosis and treatment has allowed me to live my life fully and to continue doing what I love.”

To hear more of Shanley’s story and why he encourages everyone to receive regular eye exams, please watch this special iPSA: http://www.westglen.com/online/all_eyes_on_glaucoma.htm

Media alert! Gen Plus List — Jan. 26, 2010

Are you trying to figure out next steps in dealing with the recession?  A major national publication is LOOKING FOR THREE GENERATIONS LIVING UNDER ONE ROOF!

The number of three-generation households has increased as a result of the recession. Have you and your spouse and/or kids moved into your parents’ home? Or have your kids recently moved back into your house?  

A national magazine is looking to talk to three generations who have recently decided to live together for a story on coping with this kind of arrangement. You will have to disclose some financials that relate to the situation (how mortgage costs are shared, etc.), but you will also get targeted financial advice from one of the country’s top financial planners about making this kind of transition work. If you’ve recently moved in with parents, had parents move in with you, or have been thinking about such a transition, send an email to Lauren_Kelleher@moneymail.com, telling us why it happened and how it’s been working.

Include a recent photo of all three generations, along with your names, ages, occupations and household income.

Please let me know if you connect with Lauren.  If you get published, I’ll be happy to post a link to the article here on Gen Plus, too!

Have an event, product or service that you want Gen Plussers to know about?  To promote activities of interest to Boomers and 50 Plussers, send an email to Janet at  wspiegel@genplususa.com and we’ll include you on the Gen Plus List.  Not all submissions will be included.  Please allow 3-5 days for your listing to appear.