Older Americans Month is a time for connection

Older Americans Month is a time for connection

May is Older Americans Month, a time to recognize older Americans' contributions and reaffirm commitments to serving the older adults in our communities.

My heart is always uplifted when I hear about acts of kindness ordinary citizens bestow upon seniors.

As I was watching events unfold at Senior Concerns’ Caregiver Recognition Day last week, I received a phone call from my friend, Vince, an older adult himself.

He wanted to share with me his interaction with a woman he recently met at the doctor’s office. I will call her Alice.

Alice is wheelchair bound. Vince struck up a conversation with her and as the two began to talk,

What’s in your purse or wallet?

What’s in your purse or wallet?

Years ago, I remember getting permission to go into my mother’s purse to get a piece of gum or hard candy. 

Inside was a veritable treasure trove of items for a young girl to examine. Lipstick, a compact, eyeliner, a hairbrush, a calendar, a pen, an address book, an embroidered cloth handkerchief, keys, a nail file, and a wallet as fat as an overstuffed sub sandwich (we will get to that later).

Back east we called them pocketbooks, here they are called purses. What’s universal is that their contents are as unique as each person.

A few years ago, my wallet was stolen from my purse,

Getting organized can boost wellbeing

Getting organized can boost wellbeing

If you are not traveling to see family or have relatives staying with you over this holiday, you may have some downtime on your hands.

When many of us are juggling schedules and working on a never-ending list of to-do's, an organized space can seem like something nice to have rather than a priority. Plans to declutter and organize are usually the first to go when our cup is overflowing.

So, besides the great food and festive spirit of the holidays, I love the fact that I have spare time to get some stuff done.

Getting organized and taking care of chores that set me up for the new year gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Here’s a list of my annual time off tasks.

Successful aging role models can inspire

Successful aging role models can inspire

Ageist thinking has been a staple of American culture for hundreds of years.

How many times have we heard these sentiments being touted as facts? Being old is a bad thing; older adults aren’t fit for work; older adults need protecting; older people are slow and stuck in the past; and older people have less value than younger people.

With increases in life expectancy, it is an important time to move beyond ageist thinking. According to 2021 data, more than 55.8 million adults ages 65 and older live in the U.S., accounting for about 16.8% of the nation's population.

By 2040, that proportion is projected to grow to 22%.

To move us in the right direction, identifying role models of successful aging may encourage us to have more positive views on aging and inspire us as we grow older.

A train trip may create lasting memories

A train trip may create lasting memories

Many years ago, when my husband Peter and I lived in New Jersey, he took the train to Manhattan for work.

It was far from a glamorous experience.

Cutting it close each day, (because he wanted to squeeze out every minute of sleep in the mornings) he jockeyed for a parking spot in the very full lot and often ran to make his train.

Once boarded, he would pass row after row in search of an empty seat. Laptops didn’t exist at the time, but he often read business briefs for the hour it took for his train to arrive at the station. From there he walked 15 blocks to his office. He’d wear sneakers to work because of the long walk and change into his dress shoes upon arrival.

Does our world shrink as we get older

Does our world shrink as we get older

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to visit my sister in Del Mar.

Though I love my sister and we are very close. I knew we hadn’t been to see them in quite a while, but I was shocked to learn our last visit had been in December of 2019.

I was in disbelief. How could that be? Well, of course there was COVID which kept many of us at home and then there were challenges finding a dependable and caring sitter for our blind and deaf dog. 

It was not as if we hadn’t seen my sister and her family during that time. My brother-in-law’s business takes him to our neck of the woods every so often and he and my sister will stay with us when that happens. And my niece and nephew, both adults, live in LA and come to visit periodically.

But still, the last time I was at my sister’s home was three and a half years ago?

Information overload may come at a cost

Information overload may come at a cost

If you are anything like me, your mailbox and email in box are filled with statements every month.

They arrive for credit cards, banks, investments, utilities, service providers, and more.

If you want to stay on top of them, it is easily a multi-hour a week job to review charges, reconcile bank statements, examine quarterly returns, and track utility usage. It all takes time, focus, and patience.

Some of us were born to enjoy this type of work. My husband, who is a CPA, might not say he fully enjoys it, but he is comfortable with it and knows what to look for.

However, as we get older, even the most detailed oriented of us may experience challenges.

Working from home uncovers cost saving opportunities

Working from home uncovers cost saving opportunities

My husband Peter has been working from home for quite some time now. Mid pandemic he joined a new firm in a remote job. His company is headquartered in New York City.

Unlike me, he’s the kind of guy that can go all day crunching numbers and talking to workmates on Zoom, never seeing a human in the flesh, unless you count waving to the Amazon delivery driver.

Being at home each day has afforded him the opportunity to listen to the inner workings of our household systems. In particular, he kept telling me that our water heater was running 24/7, wasting energy, and it was loud.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the majority of natural gas used in homes is for space heating, which includes both air and water.

One night we’d invited some friends for dinner.

The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

The gift of friendship - asking tough questions

My friend, a fellow solo-ager (older adult without children), recently asked me some provocative questions.

They were, I think, a sign of the times that people are broadening their thinking around what’s important.

She began by sharing a recent article in the New York Times about individuals who bequeathed assets upon their death to friends rather than family. She asked me what I thought of that concept.

I explained that my best friends have ebbed and flowed through the years and have changed as my life circumstances have.  Friends from school

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

As one year comes to an end, a new one begins.

I recently received my 2023 monthly planner. Full of expectations for the coming year, I can’t wait to begin to fill it up with appointments, activities, and events.

Each year I spend some time looking for just the right planner, one with a bright upbeat cover and big boxes for each day of the month to make notations.

Somewhere in my growing up years, I was taught to be productive and prepared. My monthly calendar helps me to look forward and visualize my day, week, and month to get myself ready for what is coming my way.

On a practical side,

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