Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

Tastes change as we age—so how to adjust?

I come from a family of cooks. We associate food with caring for others and pleasant feelings.

Gatherings in my childhood included my mother’s mouthwatering pies, my aunt’s homemade squash-stuffed tortellini and my uncle’s oven-roasted fresh turkey.

There were always too many appetizers, side dishes and desserts. We left the table stuffed and content.

While dining out, I used to get a chuckle out of watching my parents split a meal or snack.

Many years ago my parents were at a cafe, each enjoying a cup of coffee and sharing a blueberry muffin. An elderly gentleman came over, noted how pretty my mom was and told my father, “Sir, if she were my wife, I’d give her a whole muffin.” That story is a family heirloom.

Charitable donations can aid in IRA distributions

Charitable donations can aid in IRA distributions

This is a column about individual retirement accounts, my dad and doing good.

For those of you with an individual retirement account who are over the age of 72, you know you are required to take an annual required minimum distribution, otherwise known as an RMD.

Since IRAs are funded with pre-tax dollars, the RMD rule ensures that people do not defer taxation in their lifetimes and leave untaxed income as an inheritance. The required minimum distribution from my parents’ IRAs was the subject of a running joke in my family.

The RMD deadline is Dec. 31 each year. Each fall as the leaves began to change, my father would begin his quest to determine his and my mother’s amount for that year.

One would think we were a family of CPAs or investment advisors, but we were not. My father was just an engineer who wanted

What happened to Silent Generation values?

What happened to Silent Generation values?

Recently I sent a survey to several Silent Generation seniors who are between the ages of 76 and 93. A great deal has been written about their beginnings as a cohort, but my goal was to understand their thoughts and feelings as they pertain to some of the more recent cultural changes in our society.

The Silent Generation is the demographic group after the Greatest Generation (1901 to 1927) and before the baby boomers (1946 to 1964). They were raised during a period of war and economic depression.

Many lost fathers or older siblings who were killed in World War II. Many of the men of the Silent Generation served in the Korean War.

While it’s impossible to say all individuals of a certain generation possess the same qualities,

Zoom cameras: Keep on or switch off?

Zoom cameras: Keep on or switch off?

During the past year I’ve been on more than my fair share of Zoom meetings. Every such meeting has a personality of its own.

During the past year I’ve been on more than my fair share of Zoom meetings. Every such meeting has a personality of its own.

Take, for example, the Zoom meetings hosted by Community Care Licensing, a jurisdiction Senior Concerns falls under. With hundreds of people on the call, we are provided with guidance concerning COVID as it affects program protocols.

It’s understandable that during these types of large-scale meetings most attendees have their cameras turned off because they are listening to the speaker’s information and possibly taking notes. There is no opportunity for interaction unless you post a question in the chat.

For those not familiar with video platforms like Zoom, when logging in from your computer, you have two options: keep your camera on so you can be seen or turn your camera off so that th

Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Right now I’m aware of several neighbors dealing with the sudden health crises of aging loved ones.

Once the short-term crisis is dealt with, they will have to decide where to turn next.

I have seen queries about these types of choices on Nextdoor. And while I love Nextdoor for restaurant recommendations and learning about wild animal sightings or local robberies, I get a bit concerned when subscribers seek recommendations for critical personal support at a time of need.

Most respondents on Nextdoor are well-intentioned, but at the same time their experience may not be the thing your loved one needs. Just as we generally would not ask neighbors to provide advice on a medical issue, what you do and where you go after a loved one’s health crisis can best be served by talking to exp

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

My husband keeps asking me why I cry at the drop of a hat lately.

I have always been prone to tears when really stressed or when something touches my heart. And I guess that is exactly why I’m crying these days.

For the past three months, my staff and I at Senior Concerns have been preparing for the grand reopening of our Adult Day program on Sept. 1.

With safety as our first priority, we installed a new HVAC system, complete with air purifiers that clean the air at the molecular level. We replaced our 18-yearold pergola to provide shade, and purchased new outdoor furniture to allow for outside activities.

A team of teenage volunteers helped to wash windows.

Other volunteers pitched in to

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

I think I’ve been under some misguided notion that life will get easier as time goes by—at least when it comes to the things I’ve been doing for years.

I’ve been in the workplace for over 44 years, and a homeowner for over 35. That’s a lot of time to repeat activities, learn the ropes and to become a bit wise about some things.

But now more than ever, I feel my attention to detail needs to be spot on for me not to screw things up. Let me tell you about some of things that have become harder.

For starters, hiring an employee. The labor laws are dizzying, and each year brings brand new requirements. For a small nonprofit like ours, just finding a job application that complies with current regulations is a challenge.

Then there’s entering into a contract,

Thieves targeting older women

Thieves targeting older women

Recently I noticed the ATM in my grocery store had been removed. I was a bit baffled by the decision, and a bit annoyed.

The location was convenient. I could combine my shopping trip with banking. One stop, two chores accomplished.

What I did not think about at the time is the safety and security that an in-store ATM offered me. The next closest ATM is in a bank branch, a newer building in the far corner of a shopping center.

A few Sundays ago, around 6 p.m., I parked my car and entered the vestibule of the bank to use one of the two ATMs there. I looked around at my surroundings and realized there wasn’t a soul in sight, no foot traffic or even cars driving by.

Trying to remember a life post-pandemic

Trying to remember a life post-pandemic

I’m hoping my cousin gets the healing she needs this month.

Almost a year after her brother David passed away, she is having a celebration of life for him.

I wrote about Janet in January 2020 in a column titled “A life is changed in the blink of an eye.” Janet had come to help her 60-year-old brother after his cataract surgery. While she was there he fell down the stairs, resulting in spinal cord, back and neck injuries.

Janet spent a good part of 2020 as a caregiver for her brother and her mother during the most challenging of times. After David spent months in a Boston hospital, Janet had him airlifted to a long-term care facility in Texas so they could be near one another.

She moved her mother there, too.

David died in August last year. 

Overcoming reopening anxiety

Overcoming reopening anxiety

After months and months of pandemic public health restrictions, stay-home orders and phased reopenings, the governor lifted the restrictions June 15 and we should come much closer to “normal” soon.

As I check in with my own feelings about this transition, the two words that comes to mind for me are anticipation and anxiety.

I dream of going places. Granted, I have been pretty busy at work this past year and have only traveled from home to work and back. I do remember that when I drove to get my vaccine I passed the agricultural areas of Ventura County and thought how refreshing it was to see something different.

I’m enjoying the anticipation of 

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