“Society sends a strong message that successful aging means living continuously in your own home for as long as possible,” says Stephen Golant, a University of Florida gerontologist and author of Aging in the Right Place. It may take a crisis or major upheaval to make people rethink the matter, Golant says, such as the death of a spouse, a serious fall, a bad car accident or repeated hospitalizations.
The challenging gray area is when less-dramatic events begin to add up. The mail is piling up; unfilled prescriptions or chaotic medicine assortments suggest needed treatments are being missed; the lawn hasn’t been tended to; the laundry is all over the place; the house doesn’t look good, or there are charred pots or countertops; expired food in the refrigerator. Seniors living alone in their 70s and beyond may keep serious problems to themselves because they don’t want to worry the family or feel like a burden. It may be reassuring to hear “I’m fine” when you call, but your instinct is telling you that maybe things are not so fine. They stop doing things they used to love doing and give all kinds of reasons, but you begin to suspect there is more to that story.
There can be a tipping point when it’s clear that aging in place isn’t working. Read More
In December, the Washington Post published an article about the need for, and use of, geriatricians by those who are retired. “Geriatricians are patient centered,” said Laurie Jacobs, a geriatrician and president of the American Geriatrics Society. “They are internists on steroids – they know about medical problems but know a lot more about people. Read More
We hear the term “successful aging” quite a bit these days, and it’s usually accompanied by advice about exercising or eating healthy or how to look and act younger. That’s all well and fine, but most of us just age anyway. Endurance and stamina decreases naturally with age, and we reduce our level of activity to match. Very few actually run marathons into their 90’s. An increasing number of foods have increasingly bad side effects on older tummies and bowels, so we eat more comfort foods that aren’t good for us but at least they fill us up. Fancy make-up and creams work when one still has some collagen in the skin, but there comes a time when it all just makes one look older than we actually are. So what then? What does successful aging become? Read More
We all have our own ideas about what constitutes normal aging, but then we also wonder if that new ache or inability or recent fall is cause for concern. Dr. Thomas Gill, a geriatric professor at Yale University, along with three geriatric experts drew on their decades of practice along with the latest medical data to help identify what are often considered signposts of normal aging. They came up with a guide for folks who practice good health habits and get recommended preventive care along the way. Dr. Gill acknowledged that “the physiological changes that occur with aging are not abrupt but happen over a continuum as the reserve capacity in almost every organ system declines. Think of it, crudely, as a fuel tank in a car. As you age, that reserve of fuel is diminished.”
While you can find a link here to the full article written by Bruce Horovitz in Kaiser Health News, and I would encourage you to click and read it because it is much more informative, the Cliff Notes version would be this: Read More
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Some folks compare life to a journey, but a garden might be more appropriate. Our first garden in life starts with beautiful annuals for immediate results just like our education. Over the years we enlarge our garden and add more flowers, maybe vegetables to be practical, create a winding path for interest (jobs/friends/family). Maybe we get busy and neglect our garden, or move and have to start over again. We get older and plant perennials to make less work. Some gardens are tended well, some grow wild, maybe in wonderful ways. Some are just full of weeds. Our life’s garden reflects our lives. Have we taken care of ourselves over the years so that our gardens still create joy and beauty? Do we still tend the flowers of friendship and family.
It’s easy after retirement, certainly after life events and transitions, to become isolated and slide into inactivity and non-involvement and not tend to our garden as well. But it isn’t too late…
With plenty of choices available to everyone here at GMC, our garden of life can become active and colorful again just by stepping out the door. Check our newsletters for various activities each month and select something to get started on. If nothing sounds good to you, suggest something to our activities director and see what can be done.
A great way to get something growing again is to help someone else or volunteer. Enlarge your garden by eating with different people. Forgive someone who has become a weed in your garden and watch it sprout a new bloom. Perennial relationships are necessary in life, but annuals make good friends too. Today’s garden may not look like gardens of your past, but it can be just as beautiful and nourishing. Use this month to plant the seeds…
Of all the months of the year, December is the one where we all remember and celebrate miracles: the miracle of light in a Jewish synagogue, the miracle of birth in Bethlehem, the miracle of fire that would not burn a saint (Lucia), the miracle of cycles and seasons in the Winter solstice, and renewal and remembrance in Kwanzaa. That is part of what makes this month and this season so special – the rituals of remembrance and renewal that have become traditions. Read More
Too many times we spend our days focusing on the pain or aggravations of daily living, and we forget to find small things to be thankful for that are right in front of us. Experts tell us that the effort to change our outlook changes not only our overall mental health but our physical health as well. November is the month to focus on those things and people who make us happy. So let’s begin the month with being thankful!
Rev. Swindoll, a wise Texas minister, once said: “We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”