AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer Ed Batsel recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Biden for more than 25 years of service and 4,000 plus hours delivering meals currently through FiftyForward Fresh Meals on Wheels. Despite recently losing his wife, Batsel keeps a positive attitude and shares tips to help us navigate the passing of years. Soon to be 90, he is a model for active aging and is enthusiastic about health, hobbies, and engagement, especially for retirees. In this podcast, we learn about his life and hardships — including the recent loss of his wife — and how he is coping. One FiftyForward teammate said, “For me, meeting Ed has changed the picture of what it looks like to be 90.”

You recently lost your wife after 65 years of marriage, will you share a bit about that?

Well, a lot of our listeners, I suspect, know what it means to lose a spouse. I think probably the biggest adjustment I’ve had is simply being alone, sleeping alone, and normally not having anybody come into the house.  And, I discovered very, very quickly that the answer to that is to get out of the house, which is what I have done.

In our conversation, he shares with candor and humor some of the lessons he has learned as well as coping mechanisms and forward-looking strategies to help others. In addition, Batsel shares how his own health issues surfaced and have shaped his life.

What advice do you have for others to prepare for life’s unpredictable situations?

For a man, you better learn to cook…  I’m surprised at how many men whose wives do all of the finances. That’s a bad sign. My wife did ours, but that’s only because if it were left up to me, we would not have any money because I’m a spender. She was a very careful, organized budgeter.  But she left me with Excel spreadsheets that were totally organized, and the formulas are all worked out … all I have to do is enter the monthly totals.

In the podcast, Batsel stresses the benefit of having tough conversations related to the end of life including wills, living wills, powers of attorney, and tips that can provide peace of mind for families, especially during times of loss. His roadmap is thought-provoking and offers insight and tips for all of us. Learning about what he called his “very famous blue book” offers a very real example of advanced planning.

While sharing about his roots and career we also get a sneak peek of how education shaped the spirit-filled man, his career, and why he became dedicated to service.

How do you suggest people prepare for retirement?

Have something to do, have a hobby, volunteer at Meals on Wheels, get active in something.

Intergenerational sharing is key to Batsel’s fulfillment. His stories showcase real-world examples of learning from people of all ages ranging from a 100-year-old military veteran who received FiftyForward Fresh Meals on Wheels to his very own grandson who is an entrepreneur and a social media influencer.

What would you tell your younger self?

Get started sooner on the non-material things of life, the spiritual side, particularly people, and relationships.

What is it that you do to Squeeze the Day?

I am an early riser and it’s the first hour — although it’s getting longer – an hour and a half that I spend in prayer, reading the Bible …  Recently it’s about journaling where I just react to what’s happening. Good, bad, indifferent.

Don’t miss this podcast full of wisdom and life experience peppered with the importance of preparation, service, and hobbies. Join us for a juicy conversation to learn more about how to Squeeze the Day.

This Squeeze the Day is brought to you by the All of Us Research Program from the National Institutes of Health. Learn how you can help change the future of health by participating in the program.
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