Jill O'Donnell portrait

At 77 years young, Jill O’Donnell is a specialist on successful aging. Not only is she the Director of “Jill Cares”, a division of Spark Direct Health, but she is also a well-known presenter at international, national, regional and local conferences on aging.

Another hat

Jill wears is author. And we met up with her to talk about her latest endeavour “Single by Choice or Chance”, a book she co-wrote with Jackie Porter.

Jill was inspired to write a book that would help women 45 and older, many of whom are single due to choice or chance, to thoughtfully plan for their future. This book helps women discover where they want to be and what they want to accomplish later in life, and how they are going to pay for it.

“I’ve always felt that women are not properly recognized for the fact that they are, or may become, single by choice or chance, and therefore aren’t making decisions for themselves in knowledgeable ways,” says Jill.

What Jill and Jackie set out to do was create a comprehensive handbook to address common issues that arise later in life and help women better prepare.

“Many women today who are widowed didn’t have the wherewithal to have their own portfolios. They counted on their husbands to look after the financials, then all of a sudden they’ve lost their husbands and their pension,” says Jill.

But before you can discuss finances, Jill says you need a life plan that focuses on the non-financial issues. These are things such as personal fulfillment, family and care, without losing sight of the need to save and invest in the future.

“It’s great to have dreams but you need to be able to fulfill them. Figure out what it is that you want and how much it is going to cost to get there. Is it realistic or do you need to adjust?”

Once you have your life plan, a financial strategy can follow. Jill and Jackie have strategically outlined their book so that you don’t have to read chapter by chapter. Instead, women can flip through and easily go back and forth between sections.

But what is a life plan and turning retirement dreams into reality, without friends to share it with? Jill says that, “Socialization is the key to keeping people healthy and well.”Single by Choice or Chance

Study after study has shown the connection between socialization and improved health. Yet, as we age our friendships tend to dwindle.

“People want to meet up but they don’t necessarily want to date. Having the ability to connect with others, form friendships and foster them, that is really important as we age,” says Jill.

Amintro is the social community designed exclusively for those 50 plus looking to expand their social circles. It is a place to make connections and create good old-fashioned friendships.

“The great thing about Amintro is that it is a place to make friends. It is not a dating site! You can go to Amintro to find people who are looking for the same things you are – socialization, friendship and new opportunities,” says Jill.

Membership to Amintro is free, and you can learn more about us, our community and how to become an Amintronian by following us on Twitter: @AmintroFriends, or liking us on Facebook: AmintroFriends.

By Christine Tompa