Kona Sunset

Kona Sunset

Kona Sunset in Fall

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 😉

Pet Therapy and Aging Adults

Pet Therapy and Aging Adults

T.C., short for Taro Chip stating his wishes by sitting on my things while I was trying to leave. Not only are pets good for pet therapy in aging adults, but people can be good for them as well. T.C. was a rescue and has separation anxiety so he let’s us know when he needs attention too.

Maintaining Social Ties for Optimal Aging

We all may assume there is importance to maintaining social ties for elders’ well-being and the latest edition of The Gerontologist acknowledges just that.  The article, The Importance of Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Social Capital for the Well Being of Older Adults in the Community by Cramm et al (2012) concludes that “…social capital of individuals, neighborhood services, social capital, and social cohesion are beneficial to the well-being of older adults.” They specifically noted obtaining support through direct ties of communication. However this may be accomplished, should be considered by families to support optimal aging. This is especially important to maintain with single and less affluent older adults. The study showed that more affluent and married older adults fared better through their own natural social affiliations. Neighbor social cohesion for each other was particularly acknowledged for the support aspects especially when one was sick and needed minor assistance such as transportation, picking up the mail, etc. When one has a feeling of social connectivity there are also psychosocial aspects attributed to their well-being like higher self-esteem and enhancing mutual respect. There are also the benefits of intergenerational communication within families and friends to be considered. Historical information is protected and sharing between generations may improve familial relationships. Communicating with friends who understand may help maintain feelings of self-worth. Staying socially active whether it is through in-person visits, friendly phone calls, photo or video sharing, video chats, texting or email correspondence are all options for optimal and successful aging. Elders can live their best life maintaining communication with others.

Thanks for reading 😉

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!

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 😉

Being An Old Dog Pays Off

Inspiration From My Old Dog
Inspiration From My Old Dog

 As an aging person, sometimes it is hard to make ends meet. Having persistance and perserverance is important to budget survival. Many businesses and services available to seniors offer discounts and special offers for people 55 and older. All you have to do is ask. There may even be different levels depending on how old you are. One Senior Center that I am aware of even has a list for Senior Discounts available to their participants from over 40 local businesses.

The Village to Village Network that had their first village start up in Boston, has new Villages popping up all over the country. They offer vetted vendors low-cost and discounted services to seniors through their local Village project. These are grass-roots networks with already over 110,000 members nationwide. The Village to Village Network itself offers national discounts through their Village BetterBuys program online to all the members. Sure, you have to be able to have access to a computer and many seniors aren’t yet online. The Village Volunteers in your Village can help you with that. Even with so many seniors not online yet, there are 1 in 3 Seniors who are Facebook users already. There are easy to use computer devices like FamilyLink.net, that work with a simple touchscreen, and many other computer systems available today. Don’t be afraid to be the old dog learning new tricks. It just might pay off.

Living within a budget is already hard. Make it easier on yourself and embrace some new technologies today. Once you get past the stigma that it might be hard, you may be happily surprised to find how really easy it is…and save a little money.

Thanks for reading 😉

Aging Smarter and Wiser

Are we aging smarter and wiser?

When speaking with an older elder, one must remember they have been around much longer than many of us and have had the opportunity to learn many more things. Recently, I had occasion to ask the opinion of one such smarter and wiser individual and she gave me such great advice. I am so happy that I took the time to listen to her. I asked her to critique something for me and she went on to empirically describe what should be changed and what shouldn’t. She was infuriated in some parts and pleased in others. I must confess that I knew she would react that way but I needed to validate it for someone else. We must remember that our aging population are a world class resource for validity. Their experience predates all of ours and when you need to have a go-to person, seniors are a great way to go.

If only we all would age smarter and wiser and show it now but unfortunately we can’t put the “cart before the horse” as my friend would say.

Thanks for reading 😉

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 😉

 

The Aging Push

Sometimes when a person is aging they don’t want others to see they are losing their faculties, so they push friends and loved ones away. I call it the “Aging Push.” As long as they are being cared for by their significant other, or reliable caregivers, it may be best to respect their privacy, and don’t push back.

Coming to terms with aging is difficult for many people and they have to do it at their own pace. It may be sad and difficult for the one being pushed away but sometimes the best you can do is to remain supportive, friendly, kind, and let them know that you are available when needed. “The Aging Push” happens at the beginning signs of dementia as well. They are trying to hide the fact that they can’t remember things, even your name. Watching for signs, working with your doctor, and catching dementia early can help slow the process.

Some may say that they want to push the issue and fight their loved one to remain heavily involved in their life but as a wise man once said, “Don’t go where you aren’t wanted.” When they are ready, they will ask for you. If, in the case of a form of dementia, they don’t, or aren’t able, do what you can before that happens. Think of what you can do today for your aging parent, friend, or associate, before it is too late.

Push yourself and your aging friends to stay social, and involved in life. Have them and yourself join a committee, take a class, or simply go out for lunch. Push “The Aging Push” before it pushes you.

Thanks for reading 😉