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Empty Nest, Full Life: A Guide to Aging Well

Photo credit: Getty Images

The empty nest years often get a bad reputation, but this stage in life brings new freedoms—to travel, to downsize, to pursue new careers or passions. Here, we offer tips and ideas for embracing and redefining your midlife. Click through the list below to find what you need and how these experts can help you achieve it.

3 Trips for Transformative Travel
8 Benefits of the “Lock and Leave” Lifestyle
4 Specialists You Need to See and When
Your Resource Guide to the Experts

3 Types of Trips to Add to Your Bucket List

With more time and less responsibility on your hands, it’s time to chase your curiosity to all corners of the world. While a week on the Cape or resort travel are relaxing getaway options, you’ve been there and done that. Mix up your vacation style with an outside-the-box itinerary. Take a few weeks (or more) to delve into a new project, culture, or country. You might just learn something new about yourself and the world.

1. Give back. “Voluntourism” can help you see the world from a new perspective. Opportunities range from teaching English in Southeast Asia to working at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa. Companies such as Discover Corps and UBELONG can connect volunteers to opportunities—and help keep them safe along the way.

2. Take a road trip. Consider aiming for one of the country’s stunning national parks. Acadia National Park and Shenandoah National Park are both reachable from Boston within a day, but if you have a few weeks to travel, western parks are also within reach. And don’t worry if your days of roughing it in a tent are behind you—many national parks have luxurious lodges amidst incredible scenery.

3. Go off the grid. No cell service? No problem. Without kids or work to consider, you’re free to trade in life’s daily hustle and bustle for far-flung destinations and adventures. Consider Machu Picchu in South America or the Galápagos Islands.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Goodbye Big House, Hello Easy Living

Empty nesters are ditching their oversized dwellings and flocking to luxurious “lock and leave” communities. But what is a “lock and leave” lifestyle? This new trend describes many baby boomers’ interest in shedding the responsibilities of owning a home in favor of freedom. Community buildings allow residents to lock the door and leave, returning whenever they want—no strings attached. These spaces usually include all of the customizable amenities of a single-family home, plus concierge and housekeeping services to take care of the nitty-gritty details. We break down the benefits of saying so long to the family home.

Bring down the upkeep
With gutter cleaning, snow removal, landscaping, and more, homeowner maintenance can be daunting. Choosing a condo or moving to a luxurious community means those are no longer your responsibilities.

Sweet services 
Residential buildings and communities can offer concierge services such as laundry, dry cleaning, and food delivery. Some might boast luxury amenities like a spa or fitness center, salons, dog walking, enrichment classes, and personal training.

Location, location, location
Moving to an urban condo or nearby suburban community opens up your date night plans with greater access to culture and entertainment.

Get going
The daily scavenger hunt for a parking spot is over; communities offer reserved parking garages. If you don’t drive, take a complimentary bus shuttle or allow the concierge to order a private car service with ease.

Peace of mind
Never worry again about trespassers or burglars with 24-hour security. Brightly lit hallways, gated entrances, private car garages, and valet service or guards on desk duty all ensure that safety is the top priority at your new high-end address.

Green living
Leaving a larger home means you’re no longer paying the price for unused space by continuing to heat or cool empty rooms, which is better for the environment. Plus, newer homes are often built with sustainable or green materials and are constructed with energy efficiency in mind.

Travel time
And speaking of taking trips, you have the flexibility to jet set at a moment’s notice. There’s no need to ask the neighbors to mow the lawn or check your mail. In a community, you have the freedom to leave at the drop of a hat without any hassle.

Don’t think of it as downsizing; it’s rightsizing. This change to a smaller space is what makes the most sense for your lifestyle. The only problem is that you might have to give up hosting holidays and housing your kids, in-laws, and extended family…well, maybe there is no problem after all.

Photo credit: Getty Images

How to Know When It’s Time to See a Medical Specialist

No one’s as well-positioned as your family doctor to handle a medical concern or diagnose it as something more serious. But when that concern or problem becomes difficult to treat, it may be time to consider a specialist. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear who you should turn to and when. Healthcare has become a confusing maze of specialties, particularly for older adults, whose diagnoses and treatments tend to be more nuanced. Consider this your field guide to the specialists who you’re most likely to need as you age.


Expertise: Most commonly associated with dementia—a blanket term for a host of disorders that affect the brain—neurologists cover the entire nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. They’re also the next line of defense against diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.
When to see one: Dementia, including Alzheimer’s, can be diagnosed fairly accurately at its onset, but treating it is much less straightforward. A neurologist can address persistent issues with brain functions, like memory and language skills.

Sleep specialist

Expertise: Sleep medicine specialists diagnose and treat the full range of sleep-related conditions, including excessive snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and circadian rhythm disorders.
When to see one: Sleep habits often change as we age. Your family doctor should be able to help you improve your sleep habits and treat most underlying causes. However, if those changes don’t yield results, it’s time to seek out a sleep specialist.


Expertise: Dermatologists evaluate and treat conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. They can also provide support for cosmetic issues, helping patients revitalize the appearance of skin texture and tone.
When to see one: While many adults visit the dermatologist for concerns related to skin cancer, dermatologists can also help with dry or blotchy skin and balding. A cosmetic dermatologist can also recommend procedures—such as Botox and fillers, microdermabrasion, or an eye lift—to rejuvenate your appearance.


Expertise: Periodontists prevent, diagnose, and treat infections and disease in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth and the jawbone to which the teeth are anchored. They are the dental professionals who place dental implants and perform other procedures to improve a smile.
When to see one: Periodontal disease affects 70 percent of Americans over 65, and steadily mounting research reveals a link between periodontal disease and chronic diseases that increases as we age. The most common path to a periodontist is through a referral from your regular dentist.

Contact an expert from our resource guide below for more information that can help you in your next stage of life.


Fox Hill Village
10 Longwood Drive, Westwood
781-329-4433 | foxhillvillage.com
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Their unique community offers more than 111 acres of wooded and landscaped land which every resident shares in ownership. They are always adding to their offerings based on what you, the residents, want in your community.

Lasell Village
120 Seminary Avenue, Newton
617-663-7000 | lasellvillage.org
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Lasell Village is Newton’s only continuing care retirement community. They offer a unique and outstanding education program, beautiful and spacious apartments, and a variety of amenities and activities on the campus of Lasell College.

New Pond Village
180 Main Street, Walpole
508-669-0034 | newpondvillage.com
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New Pond Village is a Benchmark Signature community offering services in independent and assisted living, memory care, and a skilled nursing benefit. New Pond Village is the only certified memory care community in Walpole, Massachusetts.

Waterstone at the Circle
385 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Boston
617-232-3634 | waterstoneatthecircle.com
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Waterstone at the Circle in Boston’s Cleveland Circle neighborhood offers luxury senior living in a sophisticated, urban setting. Residents enjoy five-star services and amenities, gourmet dining, and a vibrant lifestyle with access to supportive services.


Brookline Hearing Services
1842 Beacon Street, Suite 403, Brookline
617-232-1299 | brooklinehearing.com
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Brookline Hearing Services is a full-service audiology clinic that provides individualized care for all your hearing needs, including comprehensive hearing evaluations and consultations, state-of-the-art hearing aid fittings, and patient-centered care.

Dr. Jeannie Chung
40 Walnut Street, Suite 202, Wellesley
781-235-3223 | drjeanniechung.com
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Dr. Chung provides patients with a natural, rejuvenated look and inspires an improved outlook and sense of well-being. Her practice utilizes minimally invasive, non-surgical approaches as much as possible, emphasizing prevention and health maintenance.

Dr. Ted Filandrianos and Associates LLC
1400 Centre Street, Suite 101, Newton Centre
617-244-4871 | teethbydrted.com
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Creating beautiful smiles and solving dental problems that come with aging teeth are Dr. Ted Filandrianos’ areas of expertise. Whether it is misaligned bites, missing teeth, pain when eating, or even sleep apnea, his office is well-equipped to address any problem.

Katrinka L. Heher, M.D., F.A.C.S.
185 Devonshire Street, Suite 350, Boston
617-426-0082 | katrinkahehermd.com
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Dr. Heher is an oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic surgery of the eyelids and non-surgical full face rejuvenation treatments, such as Botox and fillers, for a more youthful appearance.

Newton Dental Associates
93 Union Street, Suite 402, Newton
617-965-0060 | newtondentalassociates.com
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Newton Dental Associates is an award-winning, multi-specialty practice owned by Dr. Anna Berik, one of the country’s Premier Cosmetic Dentists. They focus on quality care, personalized treatment, and patient comfort.

Warshauer & Santamaria
2nd Floor, 396 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
617-437-1520 | backbaybostondentist.com
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An award-winning, multi-specialty dental practice in Back Bay, Warshauer & Santamaria has both general dentists and renowned specialists working together to provide world-class dental care, while creating beautiful smiles and meaningful connections with patients.