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Discover Your Dream Retirement: Top 7 International Havens Recommended by Experts

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Lifestyle experts agree: international retirement offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation that could be perfect for seniors seeking more than the standard retirement experience. We’ve compiled a list of seven outstanding locations where you can enjoy your golden years to the fullest, according to experts.

Spain

Spain frequently graces the top of lists for overseas retirement, and for good reason. The country offers a rich blend of history, culture, and cuisine, accompanied by a sunny Mediterranean climate. Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid resonate with vibrancy and life, while smaller towns and coastal villages provide a quiet and relaxed living.

Peter Lyon, a global travel expert says, “Spain’s cost of living is quite reasonable compared to other European countries, and it’s possible to live comfortably here on a modest pension.”

Portugal

Portugal, Spain’s neighbor, also warrants a spot on the list with its similar climate and affordability. Portugal is repeatedly praised for it’s quality healthcare system, perfect for the retiree wanting peace of mind.

As travel expert Peter Lyon puts it, “Portugal’s healthcare system ranks among the top in the world. Additionally, the cost of living is low, making it a practical choice for retirees.”

Thailand

Third on our list, Thailand is often referred to as the ‘Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people, combined with affordable healthcare and cost of living. Thailand provides a completely different cultural backdrop with its beautiful temples, exotic landscapes, and delectable cuisine.

An international living expert, Laura Begley Bloom, explains “In Thailand, you can live comfortably on $1,000 a month, including rent, food, and healthcare.”

Costa Rica

The tropical paradise of Costa Rica is a delightful blend of beautiful landscapes and warm weather. Its central American location provides a range of climates and experiences to cater to the varied preferences of retirees.

Laura Begley Bloom says of Costa Rica, “With its established expat communities, it’s easy to find like-minded peers and integrate into the local culture. The country also has top-notch healthcare facilities at affordable rates.”

Mexico

Mexico, another Central American gem, boasts a comfortable climate, rich cultures and traditions, high-quality healthcare, and affordable living.

Economist and journalist Kathleen Peddicord says, “In Mexico, you can live well for less. A retired couple can live comfortably on a budget of $1,500 to $2,000 a month including rent and healthcare.”

Italy and New Zealand

Rounding out our list are the breathtakingly beautiful New Zealand and the culturally rich Italy. New Zealand offers a mix of stunning landscapes, friendly locals, and a comfortable way of life. Italy, on the other hand, remains a favorite choice for its delicious cuisine, world-renowned art and architecture and the slower pace of life.

As travel expert Laura Begley Bloom puts it, “In New Zealand, retirees can enjoy a high standard of living, while Italy, with its rich history and exceptional healthcare, is perfect for those who wish to immerse themselves in culture.”

In conclusion, there are myriad options for those craving variety and adventure in their retirement. From the sunny beaches of Spain and the tranquil neighborhoods of Portugal, to the exotic landscapes of Thailand and the vibrant communities of Mexico, retirement abroad offers an unparalleled opportunity for enrichment and enjoyment.

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Understand the Hidden Effects of Melatonin, Health Experts Share 9 Side Effects

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Melatonin is a popular supplement among American adults – with nearly a third using it as a sleep aid. With 88 percent reporting that it helps them fall asleep faster, it’s not hard to understand the appeal. Yet, like all medications and supplements, melatonin can come with its own set of side effects. Weighing potential risks against benefits is crucial. In this article, we discuss 9 potential side effects of melatonin you need to be aware of as pointed out by health experts.

1. Daytime Drowsiness

“Some people experience daytime drowsiness while taking melatonin,” says Dr. Raj Dasgupta, a medical reviewer for NCOA and ABIM. He further explains that the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin can carry over into the next day.

“Melatonin encourages the onset of sleep, but the residual effects can linger into the next day. This can be dangerous if you operate heavy machinery or drive.”

2. Headaches

Headaches represent another potential side effect of melatonin use. Should your headaches persist, it is recommended to cease melatonin usage.

“Melatonin can cause headaches in some people, possibly due to changes in brain chemistry or interactions with other medications. This is more common with higher doses,” says Dr. Dasgupta.

3. Dizziness

While less common, dizziness remains a side effect to be aware of.

“It might be related to blood pressure fluctuations or how melatonin affects your nervous system,” Dasgupta suggests.

4. Mood Swings

Remarkably, melatonin can provoke mood swings, inducing feelings of irritability, depression, or anxiety.

“Melatonin fluctuations can affect some people’s mood, leading them to feel irritable, depressed, or anxious,” Dasgupta remarks.

5. Cognitive Impairment

Rarely, melatonin may cause cognitive impairment leading to confusion or disorientation.

“In rare cases, melatonin may cause temporary confusion or disorientation, especially in older adults,” warns Dr. Dasgupta.

6. Vivid Dreams or Nightmares

With its potent sleep-inducing properties, melatonin can lead to more vivid dreams or nightmares.

“Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone, and changes in its levels may lead to more vivid dreaming,” explains Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, a fitness and nutrition advisor.

7. Changes in Appetite

Taking melatonin can also result in changes in appetite.

“Melatonin may suppress appetite in some people or cause increased hunger in others,” advises Mohr.

8. Stomach Upset

High doses of melatonin can lead to an upset stomach, triggering symptoms such as “nausea, cramps, or heartburn,” says Mohr.

9. Interaction with Other Medications and Supplements

Taking melatonin alongside other medications or supplements can pose a risk, as there may be interactions. “Melatonin may interact with other supplements, such as St. John’s Wort or valerian root,” Mohr indicates.

As we’ve explored, melatonin’s reputation for being a natural and safe sleep aid comes with a few caveats. These are all side effects that you should be mindful of if you decide to use melatonin. Should you notice any of these symptoms, it is advised to consult with a healthcare professional. Remember, while melatonin may assist some people with their sleep challenges, practicing good sleep hygiene should be your first approach before resorting to supplements.

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Discover How Pets Can Improve Your Health in Surprising Ways

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Get ready to explore the unique world of pet ownership and its potential effects on human health. Our furry friends have been known to provide much more than companionship. This listicle will delve into how pets might contribute to our mental and physical well-being. But remember, not everyone’s experience with pets is the same; some benefits might not be experienced by all, and allergies or additional stress could be factors for some. With that in mind, let’s uncover 11 potential health benefits of owning a pet.

1. Possible Allergen Desensitization

Dogs, cats, and other pets bring different allergens into the house through dander, saliva, and bacteria. Interestingly enough, this could potentially desensitize you to these allergens over time. The impact of pets on allergies and asthma seems to depend on the type of pet and the age of the individual.

2. Emotional Well-Being Boost

Your pet companion could possibly uplift your mood! Interacting with pets can sometimes amplify positive feelings, while their mere presence may help reduce negative ones. However, be aware that the anxieties of pet care can sometimes outweigh the benefits.

3. Increased Physical Activity

Having a dog to walk might mean more regular exercise and its health benefits, such as a lower risk of diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. However, this varies from person to person.

4. Strong Emotional Bonds

Many pet owners develop deep attachments to their pets. For some, that bond may help boost self-esteem and alleviate feelings of loneliness.

5. More Social Interactions

Pets, especially dogs, can lead to more social interactions. Whether you’re discussing your turtle’s eating habits or your cat’s latest antics, pets can serve as an ice breaker, promoting numerous health benefits.

6. Stress Reduction

From stroking your pet to maintaining eye contact, these loving interactions can trigger a surge of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress. Even watching videos of animals can add to stress reduction.

7. Lower Blood Pressure

Having a pet might be linked to lower blood pressure, which in turn reduces risks for several health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

8. Better Heart Health

Some studies suggest that owning a dog, in particular, may lower your risk of heart disease and increase your chances of survival after heart-related emergencies.

9. Alleviation of Depression Symptoms

For individuals living with conditions like hearing impairment, HIV, or homelessness, having a pet could help alleviate symptoms of depression. However, research on this aspect is mixed and more is needed.

10. Enhanced Quality of Life for Seniors

For seniors, owning a pet (dogs in particular) can contribute to regular exercise, provide a sense of community, prevent the decrease in quality of life post-retirement, and may even reduce depression and loneliness.

11. Potential Cognitive Benefits

One study suggested that pet owners might have better concentration, memory, and processing speed, equating the cognitive benefits to a reduction in cognitive age by 15 years.

Now that you’ve plunged into the intriguing world of potential pet benefits, it’s important to remember that these are “potential”. The benefits you experience from owning a pet will depend heavily on your specific circumstances and the pet’s specific needs. While pets may provide companionship and numerous health benefits, it’s always wise to consider your current health, lifestyle, potential allergies, and stress levels before adopting a new furry friend.

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Live Better Past 50 – Eight Essential Habits for a Healthier, Longer Life

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Embracing the 50s and beyond doesn’t mean you should slow down or neglect healthy habits. Instead, this phase provides a unique opportunity to take on activities and self-care routines that not only enrich your experience but also enhance your well-being and longevity.

1. Reduce Loneliness and Boost Social Interaction

As you age, staying social is crucial. The impact of loneliness on mental and physical health can be significant, especially for older adults who might be disconnected due to relocations, physical limitations or death of loved ones.

“Social isolation has been linked to everything from heart disease and diabetes to cognitive decline and more. A recent advisory from the U. S. Surgeon General reports that social disconnection can shorten lives by about as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

2. Keep in Touch with Family and Friends

Physical distance doesn’t have to mean emotional distance. Regular voice and video calls to your family and friends can keep you connected. Organizations such as AARP provide technical assistance tutorials if you need help with the technology.

3. Volunteer

Volunteering is not only a way to contribute but also, it brings immense physical and mental benefits. According to a 2020 study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, older adults volunteering as little as two hours per week can significantly reduce their premature death risks.

4. Embrace Learning

Why not pick up a new hobby? Several organizations offer older adults low-cost classes from woodworking to dance. Apart from improving your social life, these activities can also enhance your cognitive skills.

5. Consider Adopting a Pet

A furry friend can provide companionship and motivate you to stay active. Studies indicate that pets can help older adults maintain cognitive functions. However, it’s essential to pick a pet that aligns with your lifestyle.

6. Regular Hearing and Vision Checks

Annual checkups should also include regular monitoring of your vision and hearing. As we age, these senses can deteriorate, leading to additional health issues. Hearing loss, for instance, can increase the likelihood of developing dementia, while vision loss can elevate your risk of falls and other health problems.

7. Prioritize Hearing Care

If you notice changes in your hearing such as needing to turn up the TV volume or difficulty understanding conversations amidst background noise, don’t ignore these signs. Talk to your primary care provider who can refer you to an appropriate specialist.

8. Regular Eye Exams

Vision loss is common as we age, so regular eye exams every one or two years are fundamental. Protect your vision from age-related conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration.

The 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond can be a beautiful and fulfilling phase of life, ripe with opportunities for personal growth and wellness. By embracing these eight habits, we can strengthen not only our social connections and mental faculties but also our overall physical health, enhancing our golden years’ quality and longevity.

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