Preserve your family memories this Spring

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Spring is here and with that, an opportunity for renewal. This year, make Spring cleaning more than just a burdensome exercise in purging. Don’t avoid the boxes in your basement or closets marked “family photos,”  “vacation videos” or “important documents.” Most likely, these photos, audio and video recordings are in various states of disrepair collecting dust and disintegrating.

With some of the erratic weather we’ve had in recent years, we’ve noticed a common theme among Boomers who suffered property damage due to fires or flooding. Often, the first thing families search for among the rubble is not their new 3D television or iPhone, rather, they are concerned about whether or not their irreplaceable items such as photos, documents and videos are safe. Understandably, they are devastated if they find these items damaged beyond repair, that is unless they have taken the time to digitize and protect these memories. Make this the year you avoid any regret by getting these treasures to safety.

It can be difficult to find a starting point, especially when these items fill several boxes and have never been organized, but here are a few tips to get you started.

1. REMOVE ALL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 60’s/70’s “MAGNETIC” ALBUMS
A great first step in protecting your family photos is removing them from the sticky albums that were especially popular a few decades ago. The adhesive used in these albums contains acid, which can have detrimental effects on your photographs. Not only does the adhesive cause yellowing, but it can also erode the photos or adhere so strongly that the photo cannot be removed from the album. Here’s a great video demonstrating the best practices for removing these photos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcDlbNi-9D0

2. SIFT THROUGH YOUR PHOTOS, SCAN THEM AND SAVE THE DIGITAL FILES
Sift through your photos to decide which ones are important enough to digitize, then organize stacks by person or year. If possible, and with an acid free pencil, make note of any information you can remember about the photo on its back. Next, scan the photos at the highest possible resolution and save each photo to a hard drive as a .jpg file. It is best to include photo information [subject(s), date, location, etc.] in the filename itself. Then, if possible, upload those images to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive which will allow you to access your photos from anywhere and is an ideal back-up should anything happen to your hard drive or computer. We recommend storing the hard drive in a safety deposit box.

3. PLACE YOUR ORIGINAL PHOTOS IN AN ACID-FREE PHOTO STORAGE BOX
Once you have digitized your photos, place the originals in an acid-free storage box and ensure that you use acid-free folders or paper for any special photos that you wish to keep separated from the others. Place a label on the outside of the box with any helpful information about the contents of the box. Follow steps 1-3 with any other important documents or news articles you wish to back-up. Remember, once you have a digital version of the image, you can always get it reprinted if you ever lose the original.

4. GATHER YOUR HOME VIDEOS [VHS, 8MM CASSETTE] AND GET THEM DIGITIZED
Unfortunately, most people do not have the equipment necessary to properly digitize video to a format that can be converted to a DVD and stored on a hard drive or online, so this should be done by a professional. Price out services in your area, but be cautious about using Walmart or Costco for these types of services because, while their rates may be competitive, they send their videos overseas to be digitized and you may not want to take that risk with your prized possessions.

Once you have your photos and videos digitized, not only will you be able to rest easier at night, but you have limitless opportunities for displaying these items in video, book or web form so they can be shared with your family and friends now, and passed on for generations to come!
By:

Live Oak Legacies is a family history service that specializes in capturing and preserving our senior loved ones’ most important stories. We offer in-home photo and video archiving, digitizing services and produce legacy books, videos and private family websites. For more information or to set up a complimentary consultation, visit: www.liveoaklegacies.com or email info@liveoaklegacies.com

‘Tis the Season

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Tis’ the season for wreaths, Christmas trees, and Menorahs, as well as a time for gift giving and gift receiving. It is also a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate human compassion and kindness. Tis’ a great time to use your holiday spirit to spread good will, share your love, and give back to others in the community.

We have struggled for years to find the true meaning of Christmas as our holiday season has become more and more commercialized. However, as a result of the recent recession, this year appears to be different. Many have discovered that it is not the possessions we have in life that makes us happy or successful, but it is how we live our lives. As a result, many are donating more of their time to help address community issues and others are downsizing. Kudos to you, if you are one of these people.

As I began to reflect on my personal holiday traditions, I am reminded of two of my most anticipated Christmas shows including Dr. Seuss’ ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and Peanut’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Not only are these entertaining, but they attempt to remind us of the “reason for the season.” Maybe this is why they are my favorites.

In the Grinch, Cindy Lou shows us that there is more to Christmas than the glitter, the glitz, and the gift giving. She shows us, and everyone else in “Whoville,” that we need to follow our heart. Likewise, Charlie Brown in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” gets fed up with the commercialism of the holidays as he grapples with the true meaning of Christmas. Charlie Brown, like Cindy Lou remind us, that Christmas is all about kindness, helping others, sharing, and giving. It is a wonderful lesson for us to remember and share with others.

We can follow Cindy Lou and Charlie Brown’s lead and reach out to our friends, neighbors, family members, and others less fortunate. We can show people that we care, that we are thinking about them, and that we appreciate them. People would much rather have the gift of love than a store bought gift, anyway.

We can start new family traditions and teach our children and grandchildren the real meaning of the season. We can teach them about love, compassion and responsibility by showing them how fortunate they are, as well as, how they can make a difference by doing their part. Most importantly, we can share our personal wealth, time, and talents with others who are less fortunate and make a difference in our communities, one person at a time.

So gather your family members, your friends, your church group, your club or your organization and share your generosity in one of these ways:

  • Donate an hour (or more) of your time to a local charity. During the holiday season consider being a Salvation Army bell ringer, serve food at the local soup kitchen, help out at a local nursing home or share your musical and artistic talents by providing entertainment at a local shelter. Use the holidays as a kick-off for a year-long effort of volunteering.
  • Assist with your community’s “Santa to a Senior” or “Home for the Holidays” program. Buy a gift for an older adult in need. Help wrap or deliver gifts to older community members. Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office or Agency on Aging for additional information.
  • Work with everyone you know to pull together a box of food donations and give them to your local food pantry. Due to the holiday season, the recession, and increased demand for services, our local food pantries are in desperate need of food. Something as simple as one can of soup can provide dinner or lunch for a person in need.
  • Visit or assist a “shut in” who needs assistance. Assist with putting new batteries in their fire detector, take out the trash for them, offer to help clean up their house. Put up holiday decorations for them. Cook a holiday meal to them, or better yet, invite them to your holiday dinner. Drive them to a medical appointment or to the grocery store. The opportunities are unlimited.
  • Contribute to a cause in the honor of an older adult. Most non-profits will offer opportunities to make a donation in honor of another person, then let them know that you have done this. Consider making a donation in honor of an aging family member, friend or community member who has inspired you. What a wonderful way to show you care and to thank them while doing something to help others in need.
  • Go to the local “dollar store” and purchase bingo prizes for your local parks and recreation, nursing home or senior group. Little inexpensive treats are just as delightful as their more expensive counterparts!
  • Invite an elderly neighbor or friend to join you at the holiday church service or another holiday event.
  • Send an anonymous holiday card with cash to someone in need. Or mail a card with your name on it letting someone know how you appreciate them and how they have changed your life. With all the computer and electronics in our world now, getting cards and letters in the mail are a rarity these days.
  • Give a caregiver a break for a few hours. Offer to stay with his/her loved one so they can have a brief respite from care.
  • Take a small lap dog or friendly animal to visit an elderly person or a family with children who cannot afford a pet. Dress them up in silly Christmas bows and ribbons for their amusement.

These are but a few of the many ways we can spread love, goodwill and holiday spirit during this holiday season. I am sure you can think of many more. Whatever you do, do it from the “heart.” You will be glad that you did. Not only will you feel great satisfaction for doing something good, it will warm your soul, and be good for your health. It will also help make this a holiday you won’t forget. A small act of kindness goes a long way!

Happy Holidays!

A dream, a heart, and a choice.

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By Mel d’Rego

Being winter, at 7 pm, the light had already faded from the open windows of his office, and Raj still had a way to go.  His team were still toiling away, getting the last minute preparations for the bulk transfer of high-quality Australian meats to Japan finalized, disregarding, for now, the siren call of the Friday evening.  To make it easy on them, Raj had broken out a red wine, opened a small board of camembert and crackers.  And from one bottle it turned into two.

Raj was used to these kind of late evenings, it actually being part of the culture of the company: often staying back, working overtime to get things done.  And to ease the pain of the evenings, there was the wine, and sometimes, beer, and food while they worked.  Who could complain?

The team was done by 12ish that night, leaving behind a garbage bag full of pizza boxes, empty Magnum ice-cream wrappers and plastic wine glasses.  And the choice meat was on its way to Tokyo.

Raj (not his real name, but a real person, nonetheless) was a regular acquaintance of mine: our daughters attended the same school in Sydney’s suburbs, were in the same dance class, and, until he had moved quite a few suburbs away, we’d chat at least once a month.

He was a jolly, rotund man, chubby of face, big of belly, with the most girlish laugh you could find in a man, a laugh that was always trilling out whenever Raj was in the neighbourhood: a happy man who made friends easily.  His pride and joy were his children: he’d always be holding his little son’s hand when we’d talk.

Now, wanting a better place, a home of his own, Raj bought his dream house on a neat parcel of land.  After a year of deliberation he’d decided to make Sydney his home, and this was his dropping anchor, even though homes in Sydney don’t come cheap.

And so, he’d dragged his retired parents over from the Punjab to stay with his family and babysit his son, while his wife and he planned to work long and hard for the next 5 years to kill off the worst of the heavy burden that was their mortgage.

At a little past 12 that night Raj called his wife:  he was on his way home for the weekend.

At about 1 am he called his wife again: he was checking himself into the Blacktown hospital; he’d a pain in his chest.  Raj collapsed at the front desk of the Blacktown Hospital, and was immediately whisked away for attention.  Raj was declared dead of a massive heart attack at 2 am, at the tender age of 40.

I attended the funeral with another school parent: the saddest funeral I’ve witnessed in a long time.  A whole plane-load of relatives had flown over from the Punjab, all turbans and dupattas, and there was loud wailing all the time at the funeral parlor.  Raj’s wife and daughter simply clung to each other, unable to stand, bathed in each-others’  tears.  His 4 year old son was stoic, in shock:  nary a word escaped him.  Per Indian tradition, he would be the one to finally light the funeral pyre, but as this was a coffin-cremation, they lifted the little boy up to tighten the fastenings on the coffin, the sight breaking the heart of everyone present.

Youth is a wonderful thing.  We rarely worry.  And with the habit of youth, arriving on the edge of 40, we rarely think about our mortality.  And it is only when we lose someone as young as Raj do we wonder if we are doing what’s right for ourselves, and for our loved ones.

And while we age, though we can shift any financial risk onto our insurers, the one loss that we can never replace is that of ourselves.  The insurer may pay for a house, but it is you who make that house a home, and that grouping of people into that precious unit called your family.

If my research for my books has taught me one thing it is this: that our minds are the source of all our results, of all that we achieve.  Our minds make our choices, our decisions, consciously or unconsciously.  But it is our heart (and those of our loved ones) that, in the end, regrets those choices. Beware the unconscious decision, the “default decisions” we make when we choose to make no decision, to take no action, against all the admonitions of the knowledge we have accumulated.

  • Right now, like Raj, we are making choices, despite that uncomfortable weight that nudges us daily.
  • Right now we are making choices about the kinds and quantities of food we eat and the drinks we consume in spite of what we know about healthy nutrition.
  • Right now we are making choices about our priorities in our lives: a TV show instead of exercise, a cigarette instead of fresh air.

They are the

  • The activity,
  • The nutrition and
  • The lifestyle choices

that overtake our lives, affecting them to our detriment, especially as we age.

Don’t let your life be railroaded, and overcome, with unconscious “default” decisions.  The choice, as always, is yours.  Choose consciously.  Choose wisely and well. And your heart will thank you for it.

 

Amore: Love, Dating, and Relationships in Later Life

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

By Denise Scruggs & Cathie Eagle, Lynchburg College

“There is only one happiness in life—to love and to be loved,” according to French novelist, George Sand.  Numerous studies spanning over 100 years have supported the emotional benefits of marriage and love and gone further to link love, marriage, and positive relationships to good health and longevity. As we get older, however, feelings of inadequacy in sex and relationships can be difficult. To feel loved is unlike any other feeling, as it validates us a human being, man or woman.

When in love, our days seem a little brighter and we feel differently than we normally do. We experience joy, exhilaration, and attraction.  We enjoy the warmth of our partner’s presence, even when they are miles away.

The physical side of love is also positive. Holding hands, kissing, giving a hug, or having sex, are good for our emotional and physical health. Aging doesn’t change these benefits. In fact, we are wiser and have more experience in love and life, so romance and love will be more fulfilling.

We are never too old to fall in love, to marry, or to enjoy the health benefits of love. Take eighty seven year old, Frank Foskett, and seventy five year old, Virginia Hailey, for example. After meeting over bingo in a Plymouth nursing home, they were married. They are part of a growing trend of couples falling in love then marrying or living together later in life.  What used to be considered “taboo” in our society, is now welcomed as people are starting to live healthier, more active, and longer lives.

Unfortunately, as we age, our relationships can change significantly. We may find ourselves unexpectedly widowed or divorced. If we are single, we may find that our social support group has dissolved.   Our friends die, some become more frail and move into nursing homes, while others move to be closer to their children.

Whatever the cause, we may find ourselves alone, feeling lonely, depressed and unsatisfied. We may feel something’s missing in our life, and want to seek out the love and friendship of others to fill this void. To do this, we may find ourselves on the dating scene at sixty or seventy years of age. Thinking about having a new relationship can be really scary, but everyone at every age experiences these emotions. Take a chance and reach out or let someone else reach out to you.

Unfortunately, the dating scene we find ourselves in now is very different than it used to be and it’s a lot more complicated. The unofficial “rules” of dating, the expectations, and “how” we date has changed significantly. We now have to worry more about personal safety. We even have speed dating and internet dating.

Sexuality can become an issue when we start dating again. While we may no longer need to worry about pregnancy, we do need to take precautions against STD’s.  It is still our responsibility to keep our bodies healthy and safe.

Family squabbles can also add to the complexities of dating and marriage in later life. Grown children may believe we are too old to date, they may worry about our being taken advantage of, or they may find it hard for them to see their “mom” or “dad” with someone else. They may even worry about losing their inheritance. If we remarry, we may have to deal with angry step-children, who are worried about losing their parent’s affection. The key to preventing these squabbles is to talk with our older children and keep the lines of communication open.
While there may be some challenges to finding love in later life, none are insurmountable. So when you decide you are ready to date again, there are a number of “safe” ways to meet others including:

  • Volunteer, it is a great way to help others while meeting new people.
  • Join a club or organization to find others with interests similar to yours.
  • Take a class at the local college or parks and recreation department.
  • Travel. There are a number opportunities offered through travel agencies.
  • Take care of yourself and learn to like your own company. If you feel good about yourself, and maintain a positive attitude others will be drawn to you.
  • Reconnect with old friends and family members.
  • Participate in church and community activities.

Most of all remember, you are never too old to make new friends, to fall in love, to date, or to marry. While you may still need to kiss a few “toads” before finding your prince or princess, the end result makes it worthwhile. What is the worst that could happen? You have fun and you meet new friends…

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Caring for Aging Parents is a Roller Coaster Ride

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I recently heard a lyric sung by Ronan Keating, which perfectly describes the emotions evoked when caring for aging parents: “Life is a rollercoaster/Just gotta ride it.” Not a Six Flags aficionado? Me neither. We don’t get to choose. Mom will break her hip at a time when we’re already stressed to the max.

The past eleven years caring for my 93 year-old dad have been like an extended stay amusement park and I still have a series of barrel rolls and corkscrew turns to go. I’m starting to think feline genes run in my family. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining about Dad repeatedly pulling through after I’d given him up for dead, but this ride on Space Mountain is shortening my own life.

If you have a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you know that Sherlock Holmes skills are a must. My dad can’t tell me what’s wrong when he stops eating, if he’s in any pain or why he doesn’t want to get out of bed. Behavioral observations yield only educated guesses.

Last week I was sure my dad was about to transcend to the pearly gates. My dad’s doctors, hospice team and experienced facility staff were convinced he had pneumonia and was aspirating food. He looked terrible and refused all sustenance, save three glasses of orange juice per day. When my dad started behaving like a fickle feline, turning his nose up at chocolate ice cream, his favorite treat, I knew something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

My husband and I were on death watch, visiting Dad several times per day, scouring the answering machine for messages the moment we walked in the door, and emailing “Dad updates” to my brothers and sisters. We were so confident of our psychic powers that my brother contacted the pastor at the church where we’d buried my mom’s ashes to alert him to the fact that she would soon have company. We double-checked Dad’s cremation plans.  I googled “How long can a person live without food?”

As it turns out, our crystal balls had malfunctioned in unison. Five days after Dad was down for the count, he had a sudden reversal of fortunes. His health returned to baseline and his mood resumed its wild swings between perky and cantankerous. If Dad were still verbally adept, he would have scolded up with Mark Twain’s retort: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

This is the second time Dad had played rope-a-dope with a virus, and like Ali, ultimately won the fight. These recurring resurrections throw me for a loop and evoke starkly conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I’m pleased that my dad is still with me so that I can continue to shower him with my love. Yet, I also wonder what’s in store for Dad. Will his resilient body persist and allow his dementia to progress to the point where he forgets how to swallow? I hope not.

All I know for certain is that I’d better get used to thrill rides. That’s the reality of elder care. I just hope I haven’t inadvertently stumbled into Ohio’s Cedar Point, home of 17 roller coaster rides. I don’t think my stomach could take it.

 

 

Lorie Eber, JD is a Gerontologist and Certified Personal Trainer, who teaches Gerontology at Coastline Community College. She is also a writer and a Keynote Speaker on Healthy Living, Healthy Aging and Elder Care issues. Lorie’s Dad is 93 years-old and suffers from vascular dementia. Visit her website: www.AgingBeatsTheAlternative.com. Read her eBook: www.amazon.com/author/lorieeber.

Change makers for equality for women

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By Marcia Barhydt

There’s an extraordinary new group of women coming together to lend their visibility and wisdom to all of us women boomers. The name of this group is Makers and their name refers to a three-hour documentary for PBS called MAKERS: Women Who Make America.

Their ranks include some very high profile women — Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Marlo Thomas, Barbara Walters, Oprah. And with only slightly lower profiles, Roe vs. Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington, First Female Justice at the Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor, Tennis Ace Billie Jean King, Stewardess Fighting Discrimination Dusty Roads, Xerox CEO and first woman member of the Augusta Golf Club Ursula Burns. Plus many “ordinary” ground-breaking women confronted with what equality means in their own lives.

From the program’s website: “MAKERS: Women Who Make America will tell this remarkable story for the first time in a comprehensive and innovative three-hour documentary for PBS, to air in early 2013. Built on the extraordinary archive of stories already completed for MAKERS.com, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and the unintentional trailblazers — famous and unknown -– who carried change to every corner of society.”

So, what does this group do for us, for you and me? To start, at the very least they bring their own brand of equality for women and at the very most, they bring their high profile to lend credibility to their message in the documentary. The more visible equality is for women, the more this equality filters down to all women, particularly Boomer Women who are having some dynamic influences of our own in our own small circles.

These women, this documentary, both are highlighting the remaining imbalance of the roles women take on today. The women individually are inspiring, and collectively they are a steam roller for equality in allfacets of our lives.

I’m old enough to have witnessed the original Feminist Movement in the 1960s when feminism became mainstream for female boomers. Between the impact of the issues and the huge size of the female boomer population, the message of equality spread quickly, often aided by some evening news story of yet another bra burning. We fought for and often won a new vision of equality; not always, but often.

I’m also old enough to have gushed with excitement when I met Gloria Steinem in 2007 as I covered a luncheon fundraiser for a local women’s shelter. Between gushes, I said, “You spoke to me; you spoke to all of us.” Ms. Steinem replied, “And there are still so many to speak to, so many that we still have to help.”

Makers and their documentary will, I believe, bring the concerns of today’s boomer women to the forefront once again, just as they did in the 60s. But today we’ll be adding our forty more years of experience to our cause and to our voices.

 

Boomer Reflections: I’d Rather Be an Old Lady Than a Teenager

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We baby boomers don’t like to admit that we’re getting old. Botox, face lifts, cellulite removal, and tummy tucks; they all sell. So far, I’ve resisted the lure of the age-denying fix. Good genetics and living a disgustingly healthy lifestyle have insulated me somewhat from the ravages of aging. My aging complaints, by any objective standard, are relatively minor.

Nonetheless, I notice an accumulation of unsettling, creepy things happening to my body. It threw me for a loop when I had to replace my Imelda Marcos-worthy shoe collection and get my wedding ring re-sized, due to bunions and arthritis. Nor am I happy seeing scalp where there once was a thick crop of hair. I get no thrill out of suddenly realizing that everyone in the room is younger than I and probably calls me an old lady behind my back. Even more disturbing, I’ve turned into somewhat of a scatterbrain, misplacing items and religiously relying on To-Do lists. This new persona, which I have often derogatorily referred to as being a “space cadet,” stands in stark contrast to my earlier ability to maintain a Tiger Wood’s-like laser focus (pre-scandal Tiger, that is.) In my law practice days, my secretary could come into my office, remove something from my desk and I was none the wiser.

As a glass-half-full person, I can’t let this planned obsolescence of body and brain get me down. Experience tells me that things are only good or bad by comparison. Recently I hit on a technique I want to share with you. I was racking my brain to think of a phase in my life that trumped aging as a bigger downer, and it hit me: being a teenager.

I now delight in recalling the days when the zit monster took over my face, my emotions went from deliriously happy to suicidal in 2 seconds flat, and I felt totally confused and befuddled by almost everything in life. When I really need to cheer myself up, I find joy in reflecting upon some of the crazy, reckless things I did in my youth. A few examples will suffice. I routinely hitchhiked and would jump into any car that stopped, no matter how drug addled the driver, had unprotected sex in the time of illegal abortions, and happily experimented with a variety of illegal substances. Somehow I survived all that and hopefully my judgment is a little better now.

All in all, when I think back to my life at 16, which I now make a point to do on a regular basis, it’s no contest: I’ll take 56 years-old.

Lorie Eber, JD is a Gerontologist and Certified Personal Trainer, who teaches Gerontology at Coastline Community College. She is also a writer and a Keynote Speaker on Healthy Living, Healthy Aging and Elder Care issues. Lorie’s Dad is 93 years-old and suffers from vascular dementia. Visit her website: www.AgingBeatsTheAlternative.com

A MELANGE OF MISCELLANY Ten Timeless Observations from a Timeless Woman

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In the past year, I’ve written a number of articles for Mimi Magazine, which has morphed beautifully into Timeless Woman. Writing those articles has made me aware of the vast quantities of knowledge that we have, now that we’re celebrating the better half of our lives.

These are a few of my observations, thoughts, ponderings and rants.

1. We can choose now to unlock our doors. I’ve learned that opening my own doors, becoming receptive to the events, happenings, challenges and even the threats ‘out there’, has given me a vast spectrum of experiences to embrace or to reject, as I chose. But no matter what my choice, I’m now able to allow myself the experiences of these choices.

2. We have the time now to be aware, observe, even embrace life’s serendipities.

I now seem to be able to make the time to allow serendipity into my day, should it knock. And to make the time to be in the moment with that serendipitous event for as long as it wants me there. Now, I see serendipity as the beginning of infinite possibilities.

3. We’re closer to finding that elusive ‘balance’ in our lives than ever before. Change your life to reflect scheduling as unnecessary, to prioritize yourself and your family as number 1 in importance, to find time to sit quietly alone in a dark room, to live in the moment rather than worrying about the next crisis.

4. We need to stop judging ourselves for our past.  I no longer judge myself or accept others judgments of me. I celebrate at 65 with a hindsight that allows me to accept myself as the mother I was at 40.

5. We cannot tolerate and we must stop ageism. If we realize now that jokes about people from other heritages are racist and discriminatory; if we realize now that jokes about other religions are intolerant and discriminatory, if we realize now that jokes about the opposite gender are sexist and discriminatory, then why don’t we realize that jokes about older women are ageist and discriminatory?

6. We seem to be finally understanding that our beauty comes from inside us. I like to think that whatever colour I choose for my hair will look great, because I now have the ability to see what really counts in the way I look. Colour does not make a bad hair day. Frame of mind does.

7. We can now accept, live with and be proud of our bodies. We are comprised of so very much more than our bodies, and I believe it’s essential that we embrace that thought as we move ahead. My beauty neither starts nor stops with the shape or condition of my body. My beauty is in my soul and in my mind and in my heart. And I will still believe that I’m beautiful on my 90th birthday.

8. We can choose to nourish our sensual, sexual sides. I’m not so naïve to think that both male and female sexual dysfunction isn’t a very real thing with some very real repercussions. When the day comes for me to consider this personally, then I’ll probably be less outraged about the concept of chemically engineering my libido than I am right now. Frankly, I’ll probably be beating down the door to my own doctor’s office when this happens and dragging my partner behind me too.

9. Just because we’re older, it doesn’t mean we’re ‘seniors’. We all know people who are old at 30 just as we all know people who are young at 90. It’s a state of mind, isn’t it? We need to stop our perceptions in their tracks. We need to stop painting with a broad brush. We need to see each person as the individual she really is.

10. We have no other support equal to the support of our sisters. We’re there for each other. That’s what women do. I think this is a uniquely woman thing. And I think I am so lucky to be a woman, to experience this support. In our lives, other people come and go, life events occur and evolve; even the men in our lives can change. But these women are constant. Never changing. Always there for us.

 

© Marcia Barhydt 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearing Health – Never Too Early to be Concerned

ANTHONY CIRILLO - FACHE, ABC, President, Fast Forward Consulting

Can you imagine living in a world where you can’t hear music? What about being unable tohear the dialogue of your favorite movie? Hearing loss is a problem shared by many of all ages, but did you know that hearing loss among seniors is rapidly becoming a growing public health issue?

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found that approximately 44% of people suffer from significant hearing loss by age 6966% by age 79and 90% after age 80. The number of Americans affected by hearing loss is also expected to shoot up- from about 36 million Americans today to 78 million by the year 2030.
Because of these stats, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s (NYEE) has announced a new hearing health initiative. 

The PSA was created to raise awareness about hearing loss, particularly among baby boomers and urges viewers to visit a new educational website about hearing health. Hearing loss can impact our relationships, work, leisure pursuits and even safety. That’s why all adults should take control of their hearing health as soon as possible.

As a musician I can relate to the hearing issue. Fortunately I have not suffered at least yet. I jokingly say I can hear two seniors talking to each other in the last row of a crowded auditorium and then shock them when I recite what they said. On the other hand, my wife says I cannot hear her two feet across the table!
Find out more about hearing health and take an Online Hearing Quiz to learn how healthy your hearing really is.
You can also visit their Facebook page and enter the NYEE’s Favorite Sounds Sweepstakes. Choose to “like” the page by recording your own favorite sounds, and by doing so enter the sweepstakes. The sweepstakes prize is the $5,000-value opportunity for the winner and ten friends to share dinner with Chris Botti at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s November 15 fundraising gala.

Caring for a Parent is the True Form of Giving Back

Lorie Eber, JD, Gerontologist, Certified Personal Trainer Educator/Public Speaker/Boomer Blogger, Healthy Aging & Elder Care

I’ve always been annoyed by the phrase “giving back.” I practiced law for 23 years, re-careered myself as an aging specialist, and then worked for non-profit for 6 years. People presumptively characterized my work for the non-profit as “giving back.” My response was that I had not “stolen” anything when I worked 12 hour days solving my clients’ legal problems. In fact, working for the non-profit felt selfish; it made me feel good to help others.

My Dad would deny this, but he was a wonderful parent. His love compensated for my mother’s total disinterest in raising her five children.  Imagine going bra shopping with your Dad! I did. I have vivid memories of climbing onto the toe boxes of my Dad’s Florsheims when he returned from work and feeling loved. Led by my Dad, my siblings and I crunched fallen acorns under our feet while strolling through Georgetown munching on a “walk apple.” Dad even went to bat for me when the nuns complained that I exhibited a bad attitude in high school. He simply pointed out, in his curt fashion, that I was a straight “A” student. The nuns never called him in again. Finances were so tight that my Dad borrowed rent money from my younger brother, who saved every cent he ever laid eyes on. Of necessity, my Dad became an expert in the art of paying down one credit by borrowing on a dozen others.

I’ve cared for my Dad for over 10 years now. Since he’s been afflicted with vascular dementia, he’s become totally self-absorbed. Several years ago, when I told him I was going into the hospital for a hysterectomy, his response was “Who will care for me if you’re in the hospital?” On a gut level, this threw me for a loop, but then my logical brain kicked in and I reminded myself that the unfeeling response was the result of Dad’s brain disease.

It is undeniably difficult caring for a loved one with dementia. But, the reward for me is that it allows me to “give back.” And, even if my Dad lives to be 100, I’ll never be able to return all the love he’s given me.

- Lorie Eber, JD, Gerontologist Certified Personal Trainer Educator/Public Speaker/Boomer Blogger, Healthy Aging, & Elder Care