Engaging the next generation requires learning their language

Many of a certain age will remember the film, Grumpy Old Men.  That was back in 1993 when two curmudgeonly neighbors, a cantankerous John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and a belligerent Max Goldman (Walter Matthau), were constantly at each other’s throat.  Despite the constant nagging and bickering, Grumpy was a box office hit.  Maybe it was…

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Nana time is the latest response to coronavirus disruptions

For those in their bonus years, the shift to retirement is one of the most important transitions they will make.  Especially today because ours is the first generation to reach its bonus years with the likelihood of living an additional 20-30 years – many to age 90-plus.  Increasing longevity is why a life plan to…

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The Navy and Rotary are bookends of a life serving others

Like many others in their bonus years, my K-12 years were marked by the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union, which included a nuclear arms race and later the space race.  This stirred my interest in national security policy, which led to a 30-year career as a professor teaching national security…

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At age 100, Annapolitan centenarian is still using his gifts

A few weeks back, we noted the US Census Bureau’s forecast that the US will have 130,000 centenarians by 2030, up from 53,000 in 2010. Two weeks ago, on June 26, 2020, the Annapolis area did its part, when Ken Nagler of Edgewater, a Bonus Years subject from yesteryear, celebrated his 100th birthday. Kenneth Nagler…

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Age-proofing the home is needed for successful aging-in-place

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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Engineer who helped US subs run silent also plays accordion

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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Post-pandemic cultural change likely, but how much?

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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Retired physician takes a time-out before re-entering the fray

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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When in doubt, consult wisdom based on decades of experience

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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Stuff matters less in retirement. Give experiences.

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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From Okinawa to Eastport, WWII vet still engaged

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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Somewhere woman enriches her later life

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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From schoolteacher to doorman, he still inspires

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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A significant life often is the sum of little things

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 speech at Georgetown, testimony before the House Financial Services Committee and other venues – continues to…

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A visit from England brings memories into view

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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Time to cultivate longtime relationships is a bonus years benefit

by Phil Burgess, unabridged from the Life section of the Annapolis Capital, Sunday, September 1, 2019 Tomorrow is Labor Day, first celebrated in 1882 in New York City.  By 1885, Labor Day celebrations had spread to many industrial centers around the US – and in 1894 President Grover Cleveland made it official, formally establishing the…

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Writer in bonus years has more chapters on her to-do list

(Photo credit: Annapolis resident Priscilla Cummings is the author of recently published young adult book, “Cheating for the Chicken Man”. (By Joshua McKerrow / Baltimore Sun Media Group) Renown cellist Pablo Casals once said, “The person who works and is never bored is never old.” He went on to opine that continuing to work with…

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‘Golden Girls’ sitcom gets real-life reboot

In a recent article on aging, Kori Miller asks “How do you feel about growing old? For some, it’s a scary time filled with change and loneliness. But it doesn’t need to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t. We’re social creatures and growing old isn’t a solo sport.” With increasing longevity, however, we have…

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Bonus Years Interview in the Talbot Spy

The following article is used with permission from “Better to Wear Out Than Rust Out While Aging with Phil Burgess” by Dave Wheelan, published on May 28th in the Talbot Spy. For the last four years, the Senior Summit, an annual gathering for seniors, children of seniors, and caregivers on the Mid-Shore, has gone out…

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