Author Archives

For Many Seniors, Home Is Where the Help Is

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Question: I am 80 and my husband is 85.  If I should survive my husband, I do not know where I would live.  I cannot imagine living alone in my home.  Being with people and feeling engaged is extremely important to me.  I am a vibrant type of lady.  What are my choices?      Answer: […]

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Dreams Don’t Have to Retire

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Question: My 66-year old husband is thinking about retirement.  As owner of a small high-tech company, he has worked hard for the past 40 years.  I am 53 and fear that he will retire at a time when I would like to return to school for a second career as a chaplain.    We’ve had a […]

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On the Trail of Female Pioneers

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Question: I am a 66-year-old female theater producer who was active in the women’s movement in the late ‘60s.  My success has been directly influenced Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and others.  I know the “up” sides of the women’s movement.  Have there been any down sides?  Just curious.  Answer: The timing of your question is […]

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How to Raise Kids…Again

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Question: My wife and I are in our mid-60s and own a small business.  We’ve worked hard all of our lives so we could retire and do what we wanted to do.  We now have full custody of our two grandchildren, 7 and 10 whom we love.  We are committed to provide the best life […]

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Keeping Minds Sharp

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Question: Do you have any suggestions on how to find a tutor to help seniors keep their minds sharp?  I am looking for a tutor that would come to my home and work with a senior on a weekly basis – on reading, comprehension, math and other related areas.  We keep reading and hearing how […]

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The Trials of Baby Boomer Job Hunt

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Question: When will I know it’s time to stop looking for a job and accept retirement? After completing two master’s degrees and certificates to practice a career – and years wondering what to do when I grow up – I am sitting here about to turn 60. Did I miss something? When was I supposed […]

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What to Do When Someone Dies At Home

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Question: A friend and I, both in our late 70s, were discussing what to do if we found our spouse died unexpectedly at home during the night.  It is our understanding that  paramedics will not respond if the person is deceased. Who should we call?  Neither of us could come up with the answer.  Perhaps […]

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Should a Man with Dementia Be Driving?

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Question: My brother-in-law is a retired physician.  The family is convinced he has some form of dementia, yet he refuses to see a doctor. He repeats himself, is forgetful, exercises poor judgment and frequently gets lost.   The problem is driving.  His family wants him to stop, but he refuses. They have turned to me for […]

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Baby Boomer’s Status Is Changing

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Question: As a 55-year old baby boomer woman, I feel I am at a disadvantage in finding a well-paying job.  Maybe it’s because I never believed age would get in my way.  Weren’t the boomers supposed to have it all?  What happened?   Answer: Yes, at one time the 78 million baby boomers born between 1946 […]

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Sibling Relations Can Change Over Time

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Question: I am the mother of two sons who do no speak to one another.  In my mid-70s, I hope that before I die, they reunite.  This riff has been going on for 10 years.  Do you have any suggestions on what I can do?  I am a very sad “aging” mother.   Answer: My heart […]

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Lifestyle Changes Promote Longevity

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Question: I am worried about a close friend, age 67, who has suffered a number of ailments over the past few years including arthritis, a hip replacement and cancer.  Fortunately she has recovered well but, in the meantime, is physically inactive and gained about 75 pounds.  It’s the latter that worries me.  How can I […]

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Learn To Enjoy Farewell Party

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Question: I am 62-year-old female executive who has worked for the same large company for 15 years.  I soon will retire.  Having attended many recent retirement parties, I am dreading my own. The parties are too long with too many accolades.  I would prefer to go “quietly into the night” and avoid the scene.  My […]

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Changing Career Course Doesn’t Make You a Quitter

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Question: I’ve had a successful 25-year career as a nurse and thought I wanted to become a psychotherapist. At 54 and a perfectionist, I’ve taken several of the graduate courses and am concerned about the length of the program and the internship. I’m having second thoughts about spending four years in the program, yet I […]

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Family Caregivers Face Many Changes

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Question: My 74-year old mother is a challenge. She has an unknown condition affecting her balance and strength and is clear about being independent.  I arranged care for both day and night.  My mother dismissed the night person.  As a self-employed graphic designer, I fill in the time when the caregiver is not there — […]

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Dr. Gene Cohen

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

This is about the loss of a leader in the field of aging. The man is Dr. Gene C. Cohen, director of the Center of Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University.  He died Nov. 6.  Known as a pioneer in gerontology and geriatric psychiatry, he shifted the focus of aging from problems to […]

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Employment Frustrations

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I have recently received letters and e-mails about the difficulties and frustrations in finding employment, particularly if you are a “bit older.” Therefore, this week I would like to share a newly published report by David DeLong, commissioned by the MetLife Mature Marketing Institute,  titled,  “Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?”  The title is a […]

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Health Scams

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Question: I recently read a number of ads and promotions about quick fixes to health problems. At age 74, I have osteoarthritis, peripheral neuropathy, a heart condition and bad knees. Are these short-cut remedies of any value?  Answer: You have identified a big problem – health scams. Let’s begin with the first rule: Consult your […]

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Retirees, Discover What Drives You

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Work experiences can serve as a starting point in creating that next chapter of life.  James Birren, the founder and former dean and executive director of USC’s Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center said it well, “You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.” Work is where many of […]

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Younger Retirees Have Different Issues

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Question: As a young retiree (56 years old and female) I am at a point of considering which way to go in my life.  Can you address some of the issues of being a young retiree?  We don’t exactly fit in with a lot of retiree and senior-citizen groups, but we do have things in […]

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Trends of the New Retirement

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Question: I have been reading a lot about seniors working in retirement.  As a 72-year old educated woman with lots of skills, what do I need to understand about this new time?  I may need to return to work.   Answer: You have recognized a big change –  it is called a retirement revolution.  Work and […]

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Searching for Contentment in Second Half of Life

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Question: As a successful engineer, program manager and expert witness, I have always experienced excitement and pleasure from work throughout my life.  This past January, as a 70-year old woman, I decided to take a sabbatical (also known as retirement) from my consulting practice.  It has taken me eight months to clear my desk.  I […]

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Bridging a Generation Gap at the Workplace

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Question: I am a full-time working woman in my early 70s, with gray hair and a rather robust figure. I feel that my young female office mates in their 30s and 40s are somewhat patronizing. When I wear something they consider fashionable, they make a big fuss – too big a fuss. I also feel […]

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Don’t Be Retiring About Retirement – Communicate!

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Question: I just retired from a law practice and love every minute of my new freedom.  The daily tennis games, books groups and lunch with friends make this time of life just terrific.  My problem is that my husband, a small-business owner, won’t discuss any part of retirement.  He has made no plans and just […]

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Project to Find Work for Seniors

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

This is one of those times when I come across a project that I believe is relevant to successful aging.  The subject is age and work.  The project is “Tapping Mature Talent,” a national effort to provide career and work opportunities for those 55 and older.  I am providing some training/education for the project.  Here’s […]

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Looking at a Variety of Ways to Treat Arthritis

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Question: I am 73 years old and suffer from arthritis.  The last thing I want to do is to have surgery or take lots of pills.  I’ve been reading about alternative medicine for pain and am not sure if it would be worthwhile or even safe?  Can you provide some information on this?    Answer: […]

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Cards Make Fun of Aging

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Question: I am disturbed by the lack of choices for birthday cards. I tried to buy a card for my 75-year-old friend and found most of the cards in poor taste and not very funny. I am 72 and certainly do not feel old or look like anyone on those cards. At what point do […]

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When Preparing to Move, Less Is More

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Question: I am 73 happily married to my 80-year old husband who has some physical limitations.  Our home where we have lived for 40 years is multilevel with 10 stairs to enter the front door.  I know we will have to move to a smaller one-story place as soon as the real estate market changes. […]

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Planning End-of-Life Issues ‘Your Way’

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Question: I am a 63 year-old woman and a successful business owner.  As an only child without family, I am concerned about who will be there for me in my old age?   I already have a durable power of attorney for health care but feel that is not sufficient.  I’ve been reluctant to address this.  […]

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Finding Volunteer Work that Fits and Is Fulfilling

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Question: For five years I have successfully run a small satellite gift shop in a museum as a volunteer.  I consider it my work and passion, particularly since my husband died.  I was told last week that the satellite shop is closing in one week.  I am devastated.  Any advice?   I am 73.    Answer: What […]

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Employment for the Silent Generation

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Question: I am turning 65 and wonder if there are companies that particularly hire those over 60.  I am a pre-baby boomer and just beginning to grasp the changing thought process on this subject.  I want to continue working part time or full time.       Answer: Employment in mid- to later life is a […]

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Strive for Successful Aging

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It’s time to celebrate.  Although aging can present risks of illness, limitation and loss, we are living in a time of increasing opportunity to age successfully.  The term “successful aging” first appeared in 1987 in Science magazine.  Since then, more than  100 scientific articles have been published on the topic. There is no single definition […]

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Steps to Jump-Start Your Energy Level

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There is good news.  As we age, fatigue and energy loss is not life sentences.  A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report on “Boosting Your Energy,” describes “A 7-Step Plan to Jump-Start Your Natural Energy” for all ages.   Step #1: Set goals – determine where to expend your energy. Setting goals can be a motivator.  […]

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There’s a Reason You May Be Feeling Tired All the Time

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During the recent Easter and Passover holidays, I spoke to several women in their late 60s about the wonderful times we had with family and friends.  Aside from enjoying the grandchildren and their parents, all had the same comment.  “I’m exhausted.”  The women weren’t sure how many more years they could have the Sunday Easter […]

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What to Look For In Assisted Living

Published by . Filed under Helen Dennis. Total of no comments in the discussion.

Here’s the story on assisted living.  Such facilities generally serve people 60 and older by providing room, board, housekeeping, supervision and assistance with personal hygiene.  They are designed for those who can no longer living independently, but do not require around-the-clock nursing care. According to California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the average monthly cost […]

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Parkinson’s Disease and Assisted Living

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Question: My mother suffers from Parkinson’s disease and lives with my sister, her husband and five young children in the Midwest in a small house. Mother sits in front of the television all day with no exercise and sees a local doctor who is not a neurologist. She is unhappy and would like to return […]

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Alcohol Has Greater Effect On Older Adults

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Question: I have a good female friend, 72 years old, who drinks about three glasses of wine a day. Since her husband died, she has a third or fourth glass of wine at her bedside and sips it before going to sleep.  She says wine is better than sleeping pills.  Her behavior and activities haven’t […]

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Older Workers are Invaluable

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I would like to share some information from a conference I recently attended in La Vegas. It was a workforce summit sponsored by the National council on Aging, and was part of a larger conference, titled “Aging in America,” sponsored by NCOA and the American Society on Aging. The keynote speaker was Robert B. Reich, […]

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Tired of the Word “Retired”

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Question: I recently completed teaching my last daylong seminar and found the heavy training demands too much for my ongoing recovery from hip surgery.  People now ask me if I am retired. Although I am 70, it’s hard for me to call myself a retiree, and the term retirement is unappealing.  I don’t want to […]

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Separate Bedrooms Are Becoming More Common

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Question: I have been married for 40 years. My husband and I recently retired and remodeled part of our home. Upon my husband’s request we now have two bedrooms – one for me and one for him. He says that at our age (I’m 65 and he’s 68), sleeping apart is normal. Is it? Answer: […]

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Conversing is Key to Quality ‘Couplehood’

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Husband and wife problems can occur in retirement. One woman wrote that she has become irritable, sleeps late, would rather read than watch TV with her husband, and feels unmotivated and exhausted.  She wanted to know how she and her husband could get back on track to quality “couplehood.”  I would like to discuss some […]

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Retirement Can Lead to Relationship Problems

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Question: My husband and I are retired for two years.  I find my attitude about being at home is changing.  I have become irritable, sleeping late, prefer to read rather than watch TV with my spouse, feel unmotivated and exhausted, have headaches and trouble sleeping.  And we seem to have less to talk about with […]

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Is It Early Alzheimer’s or Normal Aging?

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Question: I have two octogenarian friends who always have had a positive outlook on life. I’ve enjoyed their company.  Recently, they seem emotionally fragile.  They misinterpret my conversations, resist help from me, forget the time I would pick them up for an event and have become argumentative over trivialities – often claiming no one is […]

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What to Call Grandmother

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Question: My granddaughter is now 6 months old and I still can’t decide what she should call me. I am 63, at the height of my career and attractive (I am told). Grandma or grandmother just doesn’t seem to fit. Am I obsessing or is this a real issue? Answer: You have hit on a […]

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Tips for Finding a Home Helper

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Question: My 88-year old mother needs a morning caregiver.  She requires help getting up in the morning, dressing, having breakfast, getting a little exercise and perhaps lunch.  We can’t afford a care facility and can’t bear the thought of her being in one again.  Where do we begin?        Answer: Your mother is in […]

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Don’t Fret Over 50th Birthday

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Question: I am about to turn 50 and am “freaked out.”  I have always been the youngest among my women friends and don’t feel that way anymore.  My friends tell me to think about all I have accomplished and to “get over it.”  Is this a boomer problem?  Can you assist?  Answer: Congratulations for living […]

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Caregiving Creates Sibling Conflict

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Question: My father is in a nursing home in northern California; I live in southern California.  I can only make quick trips to visit him since I have a full-time job and I need to keep it.  My brother, who lives closer to my father, is resentful that I am not doing more.  He feels […]

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