Long-term Care: Do You Have a Plan?

When our mother’s overall physical and mental health deteriorated to the point that she needed constant care, we were able to find a comfortable assisted living facility for her because she had some financial resources—at least enough for about two-years. But when our mother’s resources were gone, she had to leave her assisted living facility. Our mother was distressed when she had to move from a nice facility that had become her home. Because my sisters and I were not in a position to take care of her, we had to explore her options. Fortunately, her financial situation and her…

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Health-Span and Environment

Numerous studies have indicated that where we live affects our longevity. Our environment can also affect the number of years we live free of major chronic conditions (our health-span). One study suggests that most people will live about 20% of their lives with chronic conditions but that lifestyle can influence the number of healthy years we enjoy.  Our activity levels, our social engagement, our overall environment, availability of fresh food, and our access to healthcare are some of the factors that influence health-span. However, even if we lengthen our health-span, it is inevitable (unless we experience sudden death) that we…

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Think Like a Tree, Age Strong, and Stand Firm

Deadwood: Attitudes toward Older Adults The World Health Organization reports that ageism – age discrimination and stereotyping is the most prevalent form of prejudice in the world today. It also reports that ageism has adverse effects on our health and well-being. In the Public Domain: COVID-19 has peeled back long-held cultural attitudes about aging and older people. Even the Lt. Governor of Texas suggested that old people or “grandparents” wouldn’t mind sacrificing themselves for the good of the economy.  Of course, we do know that older people in nursing homes and poorer people – particularly poorer people of color—have been…

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Bullying and Age Discrimination: Fighting Back

In some ways, bullying and age-discrimination feel very similar. When I was a child, I felt powerless when bullied. But now when I feel bullied as a result of age-discrimination, I fight back; I know that I have power and am willing to use it. Growing up, kids at school could plainly see that I was different. My mother routinely cut my hair with kitchen scissors and I wore Good Will clothes and durable shoes that my grandmother might have worn. The harder I tried to become invisible, the more obvious a target I was for bullies. Sometimes the bullying…

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Common Threads: Influential Women 50+

Some of the most influential women in history shared at least three characteristics in common--each had courage, purpose, and a voice that helped articulate a vision. Four of those women include Susan B. Anthony, Ella Baker, Betty Friedan, and Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. While each of these women began their life’s work prior to reaching their fiftieth birthdays, they all continued to grow and become even more effective as they got older. Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) “Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations…can never effect a reform.” Born into a Quaker family, social justice and reform were…

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Social Security & COVID-19: Trust the News?

Is Social Security bankrupt? Are our lawmakers planning to do away with Social Security? Is COVID-19 now under control or is it out-of-control? Is COVID-19 a foreign plot to undermine the U.S.? As responsible citizens, it is important for all of us to stay informed. But with so much contradictory information available and from so many different sources, how do any of us know what to believe? I asked an expert for her advice on how to be a better consumer of news. Here are some of her tips. How to Distinguish Between Credible and Questionable News  By Melinda Benton,…

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Uncluttering and Discovering Hidden Treasures

Funny thing about sheltering in place—I have not been able to escape all the clutter I’ve collected over the years. Why did I save a dozen empty vases and then store them on top of shelves and cabinets? Why did I have a stack of bedding sitting on a chair and a closet so full that I couldn’t squeeze more bedding inside? Why did I have a bookshelf full of old textbooks from graduate school? Why did I have a double bed in a spare bedroom when I only needed a single and a fold-out for an occasional grandchild visit?…

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Aging in Place: Practical Considerations

Sixteen years ago, my husband and I moved to a rural area so I could accept a teaching position at the local community college. I was fifty-two at the time, and my husband was sixty-two. We are now both retired. We don’t have immediate plans to move; we enjoy our home, our friends, and our community. And, like many other retirees, we’ve long assumed we would age in place. Research suggests most retirees want to age in place. But there are considerations we all have to weigh when determining if, when, and to where we might need to relocate. As…

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An Important Rule of Aging to Remember

My father caught my grandmother trying to break up concrete with a pic ax when she was eighty-eight. Grandmother was both strong and strong-willed. I think of myself as taking after my grandmother. I am strong, stubborn, and had generally maintained the belief that nothing can stop me from accomplishing my goals—including physical activity goals. I suppose I had always thought of myself as rather invincible; I somehow thought that certain rules of aging would skip right over me. I think one of the rules of aging is that when injured, we aren’t going to bounce back as quickly as…

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