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!

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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 😉

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 😉

 

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;)