COVID-19: Communicating Safety Expectations

I live in a rural county with a little over 111,000 people. Just over 26% of our population is over sixty-five. I’m one of those older county residents.  I know that regardless of how healthy I am, my age puts me at greater risk for serious COVID complications. My husband, who has some underlying health issues, is at an even greater risk. I try to be very careful when I am around other people. I wear a mask when shopping, and I social distance when I interact with other people. I do this not only for my benefit and the…

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Common Experiences & Unique Perspectives

The Common Experience of Being Invisible A Pew Research survey found that women in our culture are primarily appreciated because of their appearance. Men, however, are more commonly valued for other attributes such as character. Once women reach their fifties, our appearance can start changing fairly quickly. Once we lose our youthful looks, we may start feeling invisible. Men may also start feeling invisible after fifty, though it is generally women who tend to talk about this experience. About two years ago, I wrote To Be or Not to Be Invisible After Sixty for an online site called Sixty and Me.…

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Retirement: Over-Indulgences that Lead to Habits

My husband and I have a sweet 110+ pound Labrador Retriever.  When our dog, Ranger, developed a little ear infection, I took him to his veterinarian. The vet gave me a prescription for Ranger’s ear infection and a strong recommendation to quit overfeeding him. All I feed the dog is one cup of “fat dog” kibbles twice a day. Of course, I put a small amount of chicken breast on top of his food for flavor. I also feed him green beans for snacks—oh, and I do give him dog chews and dog treats after we take walks. And maybe…

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Aging Realities: Knowledge is Power

Sometimes living in denial is easier than accepting reality. It took me a while to realize I wasn’t going to be “forever young.” I suspect that being in a state of denial is why research suggests a whole lot of people don’t adequately prepare financially, physically, or emotionally for the realities of getting older. But the truth is, all of us are getting older. Thankfully, I was initially pushed a bit to prepare. However, as I started educating myself about the realities of not only retirement but of aging, I became pretty motivated to start taking steps towards my best…

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“Elderly” is Not a Neutral Term

Shame on Writers Who Refer to Us as Elderly I’m truly tired of seeing headlines that refer to active, older adults as “elderly.” Even the style guide for the American Medical Association now recommends against using that pejorative term. Recently, I saw an article that Time.com ran using the term “elderly” to describe a seventy-five-year-old protester. Other publications referred to the protester as “older.” I contacted the editors at Time magazine about the recent article describing a protester as elderly.  I mentioned that the style guide for the American Medical Association advised against using the term “elderly” because it stereotyped groups…

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Racial Injustice: Protesting as an Older White Woman

During the past several days, I’ve seen images of young people all over the country protesting racial injustice and the brutal death of George Floyd. As an older female who remembers the 1960s, I’ve witnessed a lifetime of racism.  But until recently, I did not recognize the extent of my own “white privilege.” When a group of individuals organized a silent protest in my community, I knew that I needed to take a stand. Those with Hope and Those with Little I never thought much about enjoying certain privileges because I was born white. I grew up as a hard-scrabble,…

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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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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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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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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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