With nine out of 10 Americans aging in place and with more Americans living into their mid-80s and mid-90s, finding ways to create an age-friendly living environment is high on the agenda of aging Americans in every region of the country.  Downsizing or moving to single-level living is one approach.  Renovating an existing home is…

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After reading last week’s Bonus Years column on assisted living and other types of senior housing that have developed over the years, Annapolitan Dick Schoeller gave me a call. “Hey, Phil,” he said, “I read your column today.  I took a different path.  We should talk.” Anytime I get a call from Dick Schoeller I…

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Artists rendering of the new Bay Village development in Annapolis

Over the years, we’ve been treated to many expert forecasts that have turned out to be wrong. Among the most flagrant were forecasts after the 1970 Census about the coming “grey tsunami” and how the rapid growth of aging Americans would overwhelm everything – from housing to hospitals.  Well, the “grey tsunami” part happened.  The…

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“If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made.” Those in their bonus years, who went to school before “modern” history books, will be familiar with this laconic but also profound observation.  It’s often credited to German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck – the celebrated 19th century general and political leader who created…

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For nearly two months, we’ve been called to “shelter in place” as part of a public health strategy to beat the coronavirus.  Like most others our family has complied.   At first, I was proud of our compliance, but as time passed, I’ve realized it was a forced change in lifestyle because we didn’t have a…

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Man pushes a boulder up a hill like the myth of Sisyphus

“Fifty years ago, I made a decision to go to George Washington University medical school.  I’ve never regretted it.  Now, having turned 75, I decided it’s time to retire.”  Those were the words of Dr. Robert Greenfield, our family physician since we moved to Annapolis in 1993. Greenfield continued, “I’m so grateful for the opportunity…

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The coronavirus is hitting older Americans harder than any other age cohort.  Older Americans are vulnerable because many have pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to the disease.  Some infection data show, for example, that a 76-year-old is 20 times more likely than a 36-year-old to die from COVID-19. Many others cannot isolate themselves because,…

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These past three weeks of so-called “social distancing” have, ironically, been some of the most “socially connected” we’ve experienced in our life. Indeed, for those of us in our bonus years, there are lots of folks to connect with, so we’ve been “socially connecting” all over the place – both in time and space. In…

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How old is old? After spending another week in isolation but observing the daily reports of the White House coronavirus task force – and especially the remarkable leadership of Dr. Anthony Fauci (age 79), the public face of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – it’s noteworthy that people aren’t questioning the advanced…

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Listen as we chat with Ray Loewe about living with purpose in your Bonus Years! EPISODE SUMMARY “It’s better to wear out than to rust out.” This is the wisdom Phil Burgess found after “failing at retirement twice.” After his several false starts at retirement, and lots of self-reflection, Phil wrote a book called, “Reboot:…

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With only three shipping days till Christmas, last-minute gift-buying can be a source of tension.  Some gift-buying decisions are easy.  For example, for young ones, there’s the rule of four: something they want; something they need; something they wear; and something they read. However, gift-buying for friends or relatives in their bonus years can be…

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The 111th Naval Construction Battalion landing at Omaha Beach before the Mulberry was installed, 6 June 1944.

Anyone who has read Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation knows that more than 16 million American men and women served in WWII.  Though nearly 15.5 million came home, fewer than 400,000 survive – and fewer than 6,000 WWII survivors live in Maryland. Despite the odds, it was my privilege and honor to meet one of…

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by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from Bonus Years in the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, December 1, 2019 We bought a new TV last week – a so-called “smart” TV.  In the old days, with dumb TVs, you bought the TV, put it in the trunk, unpacked it when you got home and plugged…

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Unabridged Bonus Years Column from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, November 24, 2019 Back in 2017, British demographer and commentator, David Goodhart, introduced the idea of “Somewhere” people and “Anywhere” people – what he calls “the new Great Divide” in the cultures of the UK and US. Tailoring Goodhart, Somewheres are people…

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Unabridged Bonus Years Column from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, November 17, 2019 Readers of this space know I’m a fan of “experience gifts” – i.e., instead of gifting stuff gift an experience such as an airplane ticket or a Netflix subscription. Experience gifts are especially suitable for those in their bonus…

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by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from Bonus Years in the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, November 10, 2019 Last week it was my privilege to get to know Bobby Villares, age 62, and his son, Gabe, age 24 – and to learn about Langton Green, a hidden jewel in our community.  First, the people. …

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by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, November 3, 2019 Have you noticed how some individuals and many organizations have a need to do “big” things with their time, talent and treasure?  For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – who has been making the rounds in Washington with a…

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by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, October 27, 2019. Tales of the sea abound.  Think of The Odyssey by Homer, Melville’s Moby Dick or, more recently, the nearly two dozen novels by Patrick O’Brien such as Master and Man, depicting sea warriors during the Napoleonic Wars – and,…

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by Phil Burgess, Unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, October 13, 2019 Most writing about aging holds that one of the great blessings of the bonus years is grandparenting.  Now that we have two granddaughters, with the older turning four and the younger turning two, we share those views. Fortunately, our…

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Over the past decade, Clint Eastwood has presented a provocative profile for aging – both in his personal life and through recent characters he has played in acclaimed films that depict an aging man adapting to a changing culture.  In “Gran Torino” (2008), Eastwood plays a petulant old man and a disgruntled Korean War vet…

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Remembrances.  Reflections.  Recollections.  Time for musings is clearly a benefit of the bonus years.  With each passing year, our life experiences pile up.  Some we want to forget, especially memories of those times we got in the way of good judgment.  But most memories are rooted in positive anecdotes, rich tales or experiences that tell…

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