Why Aging Education?

Recently, someone asked me again why I continually give of my time to aging education. It is a simple question really, with a complicated answer. Why do any of us give with our time, talent and treasure? To help make another’s life better, of course!

Typically, as a former salesperson, I know to find the customer’s needs, and fill them. Learn what someone desires, and give it to them. Know that a question needs an answer, and give it. We must do anything we can to quench the thirst for knowledge in the aging arena. That was our mandate in our Gerontology Masters Program, Give aging education wherever, whenever and however you can to our aging tsunami of 78 million Americans. Teach them to build their own networks to aging quality. There will not be enough care for all of us in the future.

For too long doctors didn’t give answers with transparency, government only answered what absolutely needed to be answered, families have kept their problems behind closed doors. None of these practices have served to educate our aging population.

The internet has opened a world to “stay-at-homes”, the under-educated, and the under-estimated. We can Google any question we have and get peer-reviewed and evidenced-based research articles. we read them and can make educated decisions. There isn’t any reason to not educate ourselves on the aging matters of the day. We don’t need to rely on Wikipedia like many of our youth have in the past.

Aging education outreach is another way to socialize with other aging persons and learn at the same time. Whenever there is an opportunity to attend a program on any aging subject, it behooves us to go…and learn of our future. We want to age at home and have an excellent quality of life so let us arm ourselves with the tools of our new trade…aging!

Thanks for reading!

Kindest Regards with warmest Aloha,

Laura ;-))

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Senior Car Buyers Beware

You may be seeing car advertisements on television like the cute little vehicle coming out of the ocean and driving up on the sand, or another darling little car driving across the desert as if it is a mirage, and must seem too good to be true. Well, maybe it is.

One unknowing purchaser bought the cute little car for her husband’s birthday and was pleased to learn there was a 4 year, 50,000 mile warranty. The purchase was made in California with the intention that the car was to reside in California. When circumstances changed and the couple relocated to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, they checked if there was a dealer there and were relieved when they found out there was, so they shipped the car at great personal expense.

When the first thing went wrong with the car, they took it to the dealer and were told they didn’t have an authorized repair person on the Big Island so the car would have to be transported by barge to Oahu were they could have an authorized repair person fix it. It was something minor, so they didn’t see the sense of sending it all the way over there so called Detroit and spoke to customer service. After many, many hours on the phone negotiating with them, they finally agreed to let it be fixed locally. The couple had to pay for it and then send in the bill to Detroit and then they were reimbursed. They said that it was a “One-time goodwill gesture.” The overall cost was a couple hundred dollars after many hours of their staff time and the couples’ time spent haggling over it. Blood pressure was raised.

Several months later when the car was around 2 years old and had only 31,000 miles on it, it stopped driving in a shopping center parking lot when it wouldn’t shift. The husband had it towed by his insurance company to a local repair shop who he knew could fix it. Again, a call was placed to the headquarters in Detroit. After much negotiation and the car company agreeing to pay for the car being transferred, it was sent by barge to Oahu to the dealer with the authorized repair person. The husband suggested they fly the mechanic over to do the work because that would be cheaper than the transport fees of approximately $1200.00 round-trip.

Once the car was in the car dealer in Oahu, the repair person determined that it was the clutch plate assembly and it MAY be covered under warranty. The husband again called Detroit and was told that it was not covered, that it was “Normal Wear and Tear.” The husband was incredulous and explained that he had driven a standard shift all his life and 31,000 miles was not enough on a two year old car to be “Normal Wear and Tear.” He asked to speak to a supervisor. He spoke to a man who said that he would get back to him. He didn’t so the husband called for three more days in a row and the man was always out. Meanwhile, the husband was also without a car so he and his wife had to share one. With a limited retirement income, they couldn’t afford to rent a car, and the car company wouldn’t give them a rental because the deal they had with a rental company was on the wrong island. The couple’s insurance company wouldn’t cover the rental either because the car hadn’t been in an accident.

At this writing the F__T Car Company has not called the man back, the work has not been done on the car, the couple has only one car, the dealer has it taking up space at their lot, and nobody is remembering the commercial of the happy drivers coming up the beach!

Ask these questions before you buy:
1) Who does the warranty work if I move the car someplace without authorized dealer repair?
2) How much money will you take off the purchase price of the vehicle if I can’t get the warranty work done?
3) Who do I refer interested prospective buyers to that take up so much of my time asking about the car every where I go because it is so cute? And, do I tell them that the $20,000.00 purchase price is only good for the first 31,000 miles?
4) Are they an “Aging-Friendly” business or do they take advantage of older adults by wearing them down with lack of communication and customer satisfaction?

Let the Senior Car Buyer Beware!

Thanks for reading! ūüėČ

Planning for Alzheimer’s

Do you want to know when you will get Alzheimer’s Disease and be able to plan for it? A new study from Georgetown University states that with only a simple blood test you may know if you will get the disease within three years. It is interesting to note that the test is on fats in the body. It begs the question that if there are less fats in the body, maybe less Alzheimer’s? Something to ponder.

Finding out early about contracting Alzheimer’s May have many ramifications benefitting families. Monetary and caregiving considerations may actually be planned for, easing the burden of sudden onset.

Some may not want to know, afraid of knowing, but it is only staving off the inevitable. Being ready can help by starting some medications earlier to put off the severity and consequences of memory loss. Planning for your own caregiving options will give you the say on how you will be treated and cared for. Your children will know and not have to guess about what your wishes were/are!

Perhaps looking at it like you have a three year option to stay as healthy as possible and tackle your bucket list will help some. Remember that knowledge is power and you can take control of how you will handle the disease.

Thanks for reading! ūüėČ

Aging Reflections, Fiscal Tiff and Lucky 2013!

Thinking back on the past year on aging issues many things come to mind.

The forming of the Non-profit Foster City Village has been a long and time-consuming process. The rewards will be great for Foster City’s aging population who need services that allow for their aging in place with dignity and grace. I will stay on in¬†an active role as a member¬†of the Advisory Board. Aging transportation services are expected to roll out in the next couple of months. Memberships are available now. The website is: www.fostercityvillage.com. We are seeking funding for help with the start-up and¬†appreciate any input from anyone interested in supporting our aging population to remain safe at home.

In other matters, important discoveries were made in aging medicine. One such discovery was in being able to detect the Alzheimer’s gene 20+ years in advance of getting the disease. According to ABC News, it is an important discovery for doctors to begin prescribing drugs earlier that may help stave¬†off its progression,¬†like Lipitor.The National Association of Professional Gerontologists has news and weblinks on other issues pertaining to aging on their website at: www.napgerontologists.org

The news has been so full of disasters and tragedies over the last year. The U.S. Congress has been so unbelievably insensitive having not settled before the holidays, the “Fiscal Cliff” with their “Fiscal Tiff” leaving us all to wonder over our Special Occasion Dinners. What the h_ _ _ !!! When I think of the San Francisco Giants game that my husband and I attended this past year and two separate families had kids behind us who had to go hungry because their parents couldn’t afford to buy hot dogs at the game, it is sad. Their parents told them they would eat when they got home. That would have been around 10:00pm. We would have bought them some if we had the cash ourselves. America’s favorite past time and no hot dogs for kids! It is shameful.

We are all learning to adjust to having less. Senior citizens in many cases are relying on food sales and day-old pastry items to feed themselves. So we have all three generations (perhaps five)¬†hungry in the Bay Area, seemingly one of the wealthiest places to live. What the h_ _ _!! Let’s hope that it is a lucky 2013!

Dinner of the Seven Fishes for an Older Generation

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It used to be that when the Sicilian custom of the Dinner of the Seven Fishes was held on Christmas Eve, it was so it would pass the time for waiting to go to Midnight Mass. Today, many of our seniors go to bed before they could possibly stay up to go to Midnight Mass. Having said that, last year after our own Dinner of the Seven Fishes, I was in bed by 10:00pm myself and I am not yet quite in the senior category, at least by Social Security standards.

Speaking of Social Security, I sure hope it is there by the time I need it since I have been paying into it since I was 15 years old. This Baby Boomer, at least, wants what I was promised. I am concerned that the promises made to our generation by the generations before us will not be kept. We must also promise the generations after us that they will be covered too. Conditions need to be assessed now and provisions put in place so that worthy American citizens get the respect they deserve and the quality of life they expect in the latter years.

Watching our nations elders lose their retirement in stock dives is, and has been¬†extremely disconcerting. That is why I agree that the wealthiest Americans should step up and help pay for Seniors in their retirement years. Companies that can help out should also, after all many of them were built buy the very seniors that can’t afford to put food on their tables judging by the rise in Food Stamps usage.

So as you enjoy your Christmas Eve dinner, even if it isn’t the Dinner of the Seven Fishes, think of the senior citizen, possibly diabetic (judging by the rise in Type II Diabetes),¬†that may be eating day-old pastry picked up for free at their local¬†community center, and remember our duty to protect our citizens, especially the nation’s elders.

Thanks for reading ūüėČ

When An Old Friend Dies, “An Ageing Badge of Courage”

Death¬†is never easy for the person that is dying, of course,¬†nor the family and friends engaged in the process. It is especially poignant for friends that have made a significant difference in our lives.¬†One such friend is currently in hospice as we wait for the inevitable end. We are no longer allowed to visit at the family’s request and those were also his wishes, we were told, and we respected it.

My last visit was last week. He gently told me that he hadn’t realized that he had such an impact on many of our lives. There had been a steady stream of visitors while he held court in the VA Hospital, truly a palace of hospitals. They all¬†told him how he had touched their lives, and many were significant.¬†Though he was terminally ill, he remained jovial and in unbelievably good spirits. He told me that the doctors couldn’t believe how his mental stability remained so healthy, while his body failed. I believed it.

This dear man has been a warrior, a pundant, and a fierce newspaper writer. He¬†is a Rotarian and an author. Though he is in and out¬†of consciousness now,¬†his philosophy has been¬†to always ask a person about themselves, and remembered what was important to that person, and ask them again when he saw them later. He liked to make people feel friendship, and happy, and loved. He was of great assistance to others when they needed his help. For me, he told the local newspapers to “print her stuff” when I was writing press releases for work and charity. And, they did since he had requested it. Once when I wrote an article, he critiqued it so rigidly that it almost wasn’t mine anymore but he¬†encouraged me take the credit because he wanted me to learn to write better. I think I do because of him. He said to look for the good whenever you can because people really do want to hear what is good. It made me smile since he wrote publically very critically of politicians using the many historical references that he was so famous for. Learning from this person in his eighties,¬†was a gift he gave to many. How lucky we were to sit with him and bask in the glow of his knowledge.

He remembered to me how much he enjoyed dancing with his wife as if he would be seeing her soon. I touched his knee as I gave him the new Rotary pin for the year, and left it where he could see it. When I was walking out the door he quietly said, “Come again anytime, I am always glad to see you.” I am sure that he said that to everyone that visited him. I would expect nothing less.

As we wait for the end, we still consider the living that he touched, made better, and changed us for his having been here. His grace in dying should be a lesson to us all to not regret anything as we live our best life, and be thankful that we lived it.

The ageing process is inevitable and all generations should understand and expect it bravely. We shouldn’t let the fact that someone is old or infirm deter us from making contact to enjoy their company and learn from them. We should look at their wrinkles and gray hair as¬†an “Ageing¬†Badge of Courage” and try to be like them…because we inevitably will.

Thanks for reading;)

Aging Healthy is Diverse

We are all aging from the time we are born but managing aging is diverse. For different cultures managing recuperation from illness varies¬†especially as it relates to pain. The Brits are taught from an early age to “Have a stiff upper lip” while we Americans have heard over and over, “No pain, no gain.” Italians just started discussing some¬†medical issues within the family like breast cancer within the last generation, and they pray about it.¬† Collective societies like the Chinese all pitch in to get the best result. Mexicans tend to take care of themselves, and along with Blacks, look to their places of worship to get through difficulties. My source for this information, besides my own experiences,¬†came from Mehrotra Wagner’s book, “Aging and Diversity.” Of course there are differences among many within their own ethnic groups but the point is that we should be considering their differences.

Too often we see medical practitioners and long-term care agencies handling everyone the same way. There are movements to change this within the Ageing field. For instance, The Jewish Home in San Francisco is a good model. They not only cook for their clients’ cultures and beliefs but offer counseling and religious services¬†within the perameters of their Jewish faith.

Other considerations to be made are¬†that some¬†have hearing and sight deficits, but not all. Simply because a person has gray hair isn’t a reason to talk louder, for instance. I say it all the time that we shouldn’t assume anything. If a person can’t talk doesn’t mean that they aren’t in pain. Stroke victims may be able to blink once for “yes” and twice for “no.” We shouldn’t assume that they can’t communicate because they can’t talk.

By learning about the ethnicities of the diverse people we are caring about, and caring for, we may be able to take te pain threshold down a notch. At least we can all try.