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 ;-))

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

Caregiving, a Granddaughter’s Perspective

Caregiving, a Granddaughter’s Perspective

Many of us have cared for a loved one, a friend, a relative but nothing seems as intense as watching disease progress through the aging journey of your beloved grandmother. For many, it is the first time seeing death looming in the future and its undeniable effects, especially of our own mortality. Nobody wants to face that but we all must. We caregivers work so hard to stave of the inevitable. Accepting the sadness we feel can be the first step to doing a good job of caregiving. Recognizing when you need others and utilizing them to help when you need respite can be important for your own health. You need to stay healthy so you can stay strong for the job of caring. Respite is good for both the caregiver and the cared for. Getting a break from each other is important for both of your well-beings. You come back a little more refreshed on both sides. Seeing the same person day in and day out can be tiresome. There are many benefits to having a primary caregiver who knows the ins and outs of the cared for person’s condition and treatment.¬†

There is also work to be done by the one who is cared for. Don’t be that person that is making the caregiver’s job more difficult because you are holding on to the negativity of why it is happening to you. Aging will eventually get all of us. Aging isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. If we live long, we will most likely get some ailment that will need to be addressed. It would be good if we can be gracious to the person who is easing our way through the aging journey. My own grandmother was gracious until the end and I loved her for it. The very hard job was made easier.

Thanks for reading! ūüėČ

Laura Guluzzy, M.A. Gerontologist/9-11 Survivor

Laura Guluzzy, M.A. Gerontologist

Me, 12 years after surviving 9-11. I believe that I was spared because I had more work to do and a long life to live. I became a Gerontologist so that I could help further the quality of life for today’s seniors.

We Gerontologists believe that the first person to live to 140 is 60 years old today. Are we ready for the aging tsunami that includes you? The choices we make will determine how well we age. Are you ready for old age survival?

A basic understanding of gerontology should be in everyone’s perview so that we will do our best to stay healthy, and independent in our aged years. Eating healthy food including green leafy vegetables help. Staying hydrated with any exercise that you can do, even simply rotating your shoulders and ankles while watching TV can help keep the blood flow, and walking is truly good, breathing fresh air and keeping those joints moving. Swimming is also beneficial. Stay independent by your very mobility through good balance and gait to reduce the possibility of falls.

Are you ready?

Thank you 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

DSC04927

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

Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and Blue Monday

Gray Thursday, Black Friday, and Blue Monday

All the advertising thrown around lately about catching sales on Grey Thursday or Black Friday makes one pause to think about Blue Monday. That is the day after the weekend when many of our aging seniors are getting up after a long and lonely weekend. Sure most may have had Thanksgiving lunch or dinner where they live, or with friends or loved ones on Thursday, but what about the ones that didn’t? Let us take a moment and ponder about the older people we may know and give them a call just to say “Hello” or stop by for a visit and brighten their day.

Bring the kids with you when you visit an older person. It is important to share wisdom of all ages throughout generations. If you are an older person, welcome the younger ones that come into your home because there is much you can share with them. I still remember going into my Italian grandmother’s house and smelling the fennel she was preparing to cook with. It is a fond memory. Make some of your own sense memories with your relatives. You will be glad you did when one day much later and they are no longer here, you walk by some fennel in the store or the Farmer’s Market, quite caught by surprise, as you think of them fondly, and just for a moment, you remember.

During this holiday season it would be good if our older friends and family members don’t have any Blue Mondays. Take time out from shopping. If we have the time to spend the night in line for some fantastic sale or get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds to the store, certainly we can make a phone call. Maybe even while in line.

Thanks for reading ūüėČ

Life: Long Learning

We hear about lifelong learning all the time. Many elders enjoy keeping their minds sharp by taking classes and experiencing new adventures in learning. What we don’t consider at earlier ages is that life itself is full of constant adjustments and adaptations. As we adapt to what life challenges are presented to us, we change, we grow, in wisdom, and in knowledge. Having experienced life from being a child until we are considered an elder, we have learned many life lessons. One of the main things learned is that history truly does repeat itself. Styles come back, wars come and go, trends resurface, and sometimes we as a society make the wrong choices for solving issues time and time again.¬†Each generation¬†hands our knowledge down so that others can learn from our experiences and perhaps¬†right some wrongs.¬†

Some¬† people amazed me recently at an outdoor cafe when I happened to overhear their conversation ridiculing an absent friend over her first dinner party. She evidently had not ever served an avacado before,¬† so she didn’t know that she was supposed to take the peel off first before she sliced it. As I listened to her first dinner guests’¬†non-productive ridicule and¬†laughter over her inexperience, I thought of how great it would have been if one of them had offered to help her for other dinner parties so they could show her the way. I hoped they would consider it. Maybe they wouldn’t.

One of them went on to say that they couldn’t get over that their father had started a new hobby, “…at his age.” They were around 30ish so their father had to be 50-60ish, perhaps older even. What a ¬†narrow comment when the world is so wide and open to life experiences. As they went off to their boating experience for the day, very happy and excited, I thought of the father that was happy and excited in his new challenge and how delighted he must be to be doing it at the ripe old age of 50 or so (sic). Perhaps he is showing the way to someone who is receptive to his life and his long learning of experiences and wisdom. That is what elders in society do for others, they show them the way. Through an elders’ long life there has been much to learn. Perhaps mistakes of the past might not be repeated if previous experience is shared openly with one another, for learning from a long life.

Life itself is an education, learning long.

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;)