Category: Aging

When Do You ‘Put Your Affairs in Order’?

The Quippery

Unless your Doctor has given you notice that your ‘Best Before Date’ is rapidly closing in on your ‘Expiry Date’, you might not have thought about the most important thing you can do for yourself now AND leave for your loved ones when you depart this world.

This important thing costs no more than a sheet or two of paper, but it is priceless. It is a List of All the Things you know now – but might not remember later. It is a list of things the Executor of your Estate won’t know until they have rifled through your desk, file cabinet and all sorts of places obvious and obscure – so that they can wrap up your estate and deliver it to your rightful heirs.

Think about this: Do you keep your documents in obvious locations like your desk, file cabinet or a shoe box under the bed? Does your family know you also stash important papers in a fake cabbage (or lettuce) in the fridge, a former box for fish cakes in the deep freeze, a secret cubby hole, a hidden safe, behind a trap door, or in a plastic case under a paving stone in the garden?

The QuipperyOur Experience: The Car Guy’s Dad passed on to the Great Fishing Hole of the Beyond a few months ago – without making The List.  The Car Guy is the Executor of this relatively simple Estate and fortunately he knew that the Original of the Will was in a safety deposit box – but he didn’t know which Bank owned the box nor where the keys were kept. That was just the beginning of what The Car Guy didn’t know.

Fortunately, The Car Guys Dad kept just about everything in a desk and file cabinet (and a Safety Deposit Box that the Bank won’t release the contents of until some unknown date in the future). It  took weeks to sort through all the documents, make a list of  possible assets and trace accounts back to their source to see if they were still active. Multiple layers of Government, Banks and Financial Institutions had to be contacted. Each of them required a large number of detailed and correctly filled out forms.

The whole process is like doing a Jigsaw Puzzle, except you don’t know how many pieces there are and you don’t have the box lid to see what the picture is going to look like. This experience has been the incentive for us to make our List of Things our Executor will need to know. It has been a good motivational exercise that has encouraged us to reassess what we are responsible for, and what we can get rid of. If you are similarly motivated, here are some things for you to consider, roughly in order of when your Executor will need the information:

The Basics: Full Name (‘Fishin’ Fred isn’t going to be good enough); Birth Date and Place (somewhere ‘down East’ before the crash of the stock market’) is just a bit vague; Location of all government issued documents and the ID numbers.

Burial or funeral instructions – that aren’t in your will.

The Family: Names and Contact numbers for all Immediate Family; Parent’s full names, where they were born; Spouse – Full name and location of the original marriage certificate.

Government, Career, Financial Information: List Company Names, Policy or Account Numbers, and Contacts for: Employment, Pensions or benefit plans; Health and Insurance plans; Government Insurance and benefits; Income tax documents; Bank and Credit Cards; Investments.

Real Estate: Properties you own; Loans and Mortgages; Utility companies you have accounts with.

Affiliations: Groups, associations, memberships, newspapers, magazines and all those things that will have to be redirected or cancelled.

Online: Internet accounts and passwords.

Wrap it Up: list all the places where you keep documents and valuables. Explain what is in those places. Summarize  your assets and liabilities.

That is it! It will take some time to gather this information, but it will be as valuable to you now as it will be to your family when you pass on!

Have you been Executor of an Estate? Do you have a secret hiding places? Have you made a List?

 

He said, “I Don’t Want the Chicken”

I’m helping my Dad downsize. He will probably be moving to smaller living quarters in the not too distant future. The ‘weeding’ process isn’t easy for him. He has a strong attachment to just about everything old in his apartment. His bonds to the distant past grow stronger, as the memories of the near past fade.

If he is willing to let me remove anything, it is only because he is very certain that a family member will take ownership of the item and treasure it as much as he does. Everything I have carted off so far is now safely stored in The Car Guys Garage, pending resettlement somewhere. The pile is fluid. Some of the things I put there last week must now go back to Dad’s place – a change of heart and mind.

As I was getting ready to haul another load down to my car yesterday, he suddenly said, “Take the chicken. I really don’t want that chicken.”

552-rooster-portugal-27

That surprised me. The chicken, (more accurately a Portuguese Good Luck Rooster, I suppose) sat in a place of prominence in his living room. I don’t know how he acquired it, but it was clear from the tone in his voice that he would be glad to see it go.

Since I know someone who might want the Rooster,  I put the bird on the handy catch-all ledge in my kitchen. A row of sharp knives is nearby – a rather appropriate reminder to the bird of the historical method of dispatching fowl, should the bird need to be kept in line.

As I look at all the ‘treasures’ that reside in my house, I think about which ones I would want to keep till ‘death us do part.’ What will be my ‘chicken’ when my children are carting some of my material memories out the door?

We all need some of the material things that provide continuity to our lives by always being there and always being the same.
– Andy Rooney –

Are you still in the accumulating stage of life, or have you started to downsize?

Post 552

Give Me the Good Old Parking Meter, Please!

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said ‘Parking Fine.’
– Tommy Cooper –

Parking Meters used to look a bit like Jelly Bean Machines.

I’ve become the family chauffeur since The Car Guy had his motorcycle accident.  I don’t mind driving, though it would be much more pleasant if all those drivers who never do a shoulder check would stop trying to occupy my car’s geographic location. Arriving safely at our destination, and finding a parking spot is always a relief.

The true challenge comes when it is time to pay for the parking. Gone are the days when I handed my ticket and money to a kindly attendant in a little booth at the exit or plugged my coins into a friendly machine that looked like it could dispense jelly beans. No, today I am faced with the pure evil of electronic ticket machines. They are the silent but efficient guardians of the place where I will abandon my vehicle in order to sit in a Doctor’s office for eternity plus a 3 minute consult.

There is no universal parking ticket machine. Each parking lot is the proud owner of a machine that was designed by someone who failed ‘your grandma might park here some day 101′. This means that each machine is unique in: the order in which you insert your ticket and credit card; the direction you insert said cards; the location where the pertinent buttons are; and the cryptic little symbols that replace a language I might understand. After three less than successful attempts to master three machines in three different lots, I figured out that the easiest way to pay the machine is to turn to the person directly behind me in line and say, “This will be much faster for both of us if you just show me how to pay this &%@#$ ticket.”

There was a time, not so many years ago, that I could board a plane in the Middle East – three layovers and 30 some hours  later, I’d be back at my Canadian home. All by myself, I could buy tickets, change planes, ride trains, even stay in a hotel.  Now I can barely negotiate a trip to the city if it means I have to park somewhere. How pathetic.

If your access to health care involves your leaving work and driving somewhere and parking and waiting for a long time, that’s not going to promote healthiness.
– Larry Page –

Post 351

Scanning my Mind and Computer for Memories

lady laptop

Do I plug this into my left ear or my right ear?

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.
Unknown –

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could plug one end of a USB cord into your ear, the other into your computer, and download every memory that resides in your brain?  A nifty little software program, like an Access database but far easier to use, would sort the memories by year, topic and any other category you wanted. Then a Scrapbook program would create wonderful photo journals of your life.

I mention this because I believe the memory bank in my brain needs to be defragged. Bits of information keep getting mislaid. I found the date of my next Dentist appointment filed with the trip to Galveston in 1979. And The Car Guys office phone number is mixed in with the cost of my car in 1984. Retrieving information can be a challenge some days. It would be nice to have the contents of my brain on my computer – it has a much better search function than my head does.

I’m not just sitting idly by, though, waiting for the computer industry to fulfill my grand dream. I have piles and piles of other things that I can scan onto my computer. I won’t have to lug out photo albums, slide carousels and file folders full of wedding invitations and birth announcements. I’ll just power up my laptop, click on a year, and scroll down a page of memories.

The 35 mm slides and negs will be fairly easy to scan, as will old prints, cards, and letters. The 110 negs are going to be the challenge. Building my own 110 film holder isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I’m on Prototype 5, and it involves heavy card stock and my sewing machine…

Here are two of the photos I’ve revived in Photoshop Elements. The pictures certainly help me to retrieve the memories in my mind!

A small daughter was seeing life through rose colored sun glasses that day.

______________________

A successful launch sequence, lift off and landing!

Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.
– Henri Cartier-Bresson –

Post 256

Good News for Seniors – Not Everything about Aging is Bad

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.
– Will Rogers –

The Crabby Lady from the Complaints Department was in my office when I arrived this morning. “It’s a conspiracy!” she cried. “They are trying to kill us all by scaring us to death! Look at this headline in today’s news!” I looked at the paper she had shoved under my nose (The Paranoid Times). The headline read, “The Dangers of Breathing for Seniors“.

“It’s part of their series called “A Danger a Day”, and I tell you, they want to scare us to death so that the Government doesn’t have to pay out Seniors Benefits. Yes, the Government and the Media are in this together…” Before I could duck, she had slapped another yellow stickie on my forehead, and stomped off.

I peeled off her note and read: “Give me some good news about aging. I’m tired of all the negative crap.”

This jolted me out of my happy world of Sunshine, Daffodils, Paddling Ducks, and Hawks that swoop down and pluck up Gophers. Good News for Seniors. That wasn’t going to be easy when the whole world seemed to be heading into group hysteria over the perceived catastrophe of  Baby Boomers entering seniorhood.

After a lot of research, I came up with these three positive stories:

–  Scientists are finding more and more correlation between Heart Disease and the many forms of Dementia. Medications and lifestyle changes that have been used to promote heart health may actually protect brain health as well.  One study has even shown that treating high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in people already starting to show signs of memory problems!

The Quippery– A three year study of 3200 Germans aged 75+, showed that seniors that drank a glass of wine or a pint of beer a day were less likely to develop Dementia and Alzheimers.

– Exercise continues to be of importance to Seniors. The good news is, the exercise doesn’t have to be at all strenuous. Being “active” can include physical activities such as housework, yard work, child care and just about any activity that requires standing up and moving around.

Now, it’s your turn to be crabby: There is no question that most of us will just keep getting older – what would you change in your life, family or country to make being a senior better?

Post 226

A Fiery Birthday Story

candles birthday cake fireman

It would be quite all right for me to take the day off today and not write in my blog. It is my Birthday, and I believe a birthday should be a day of indulgence.

But I enjoy writing and I like my blog. It is akin to having a child that isn’t ever going to be a teenager. Or owning a cat that doesn’t shed or claw the furniture or choke up fur balls. Or a job I can do from home in my pajamas. Or a car that never needs gas… (Actually, I have a car like that. My  Spousal Unit, The Car Guy, is very good about keeping my car clean, serviced, and gassed up.)

So what else have I got planned for the day? I’m not sure yet, but it certainly IS NOT going to involve a birthday cake. The candles are getting so numerous that they pose a fire hazard.

I’m not going to talk about getting older either, because, there is no upside to thinking those kinds of self defeating thoughts. As Bernard B. Baruch said, “To me, old age is 15 years older than I am.”  Helen Hayes echoed that idea when she said: “Age is not important unless you’re a cheese.”

Most days, if I didn’t look in the mirror, I would be the same person I was 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Except I am more sure of my opinions. Although, as Dave Barry points out: “I’ve been hanging around with people roughly my age for the bulk of my life, and I frankly do not feel that, as a group, we have acquired the wisdom and maturity needed to run the world, or even necessarily power tools.” So, although I might seem confident, you should be wary around me if I’m holding anything that is plugged into a wall socket.

Well, enough of that. I’m off to indulge myself on the next thing that pops into my head. I believe it might involve chocolate…

Post 160

 

Am I Old Enough Now? Aging and Baby Boomers

teen school

Did you know that there was a time when there weren’t any Teenagers? The term is one that was coined and came into popular use in the 1940’s. Up until then, older children might be called youths, but by the time they were in their early to mid teen years, many of them were finished with school and had entered the work force. They were adults. This would have been due to the fact that life expectancy at that time was about 64 years, having increased from an average life expectancy of 51 years in 1900. A shorter life span meant a shorter amount of time was spent being a youth.

My Grandparents were certainly never teenagers. My Grandfather and his brother were in the trenches of France in World War I when they were 16 and 18 years of age. My parent’s generation were more likely to stay in school for a longer period of time, but many were in the workforce either part time or full time before they had exited their teen years.

By the next generation, teens were fully entrenched in society, and governments responded by confusing an already confused period of time in a young person’s life. They set an upper limit, an Age of Majority, when they deemed an individual should be given “all the legal rights and responsibilities that are generally available to an adult of sound mind”. That age varies from place to place and can range from 16 to 21 years.

But within that time frame, there are also numerous Ages of License, which govern everything from operating motor vehicles, leaving school, consuming alcohol, voting in an election, renting a car, possessing a firearm, giving sexual consent, and getting married. (What have I missed here?)

To put this confusion into perspective, when I was between the ages of 20 and 21, married and with one baby, I still couldn’t vote in a Canadian federal election, hadn’t reached the full legal age of majority and could not legally drink in my province.

I am now at the other end of the road, just about to become a senior-ager. It is just as confusing a time as the teen years. No one can agree on what age it starts. Governments, the workplace, and the marketplace are as inconsistent as ever in conferring the coveted entitlements, such as retirement, discounts, benefits and pensions.

Did I say Entitlements?  That seems to be a contentious word with many of the younger generation, who fear that the Baby Boomers are going to bankrupt society. The boomers argue that they have paid into these ‘entitlements’ for about 45 years or so, and certainly have an expectation that they will reap something from what they have sown.

If a younger society isn’t willing or able to support the aging Boomers, then what? The Boomers, who pioneered the concept of rising expectations, will be just as quick to force everyone into lowering their expectations. In practical terms, that might mean every working age family has a resident Boomer living in a suite over the garage all summer, and most of Arizona and Florida consists of Canadian Snowbirds living in trailers all winter…

So, what are you going to do about an aging Boomer in your family?

Post 150

 

Alzheimer’s Statistics in Canada – They Make me Nervous

pie chart dementia

How are you with Statistics? I get nervous whenever I see a bunch of them hanging around. I wonder what they are going to try to tell me or sell me. I know they are not liars, but I also know they aren’t exactly telling the whole truth either.

For example, last week I browsed the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society website. With statistics and prophesies, they paint a picture that suggests Alzheimers and other dementias are on the rise, and it will be a huge economic burden in the future. The society asks the reader to donate money to “keep providing vital services to people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers and to continue searching for a cause and cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”

I don’t part with money easily, so I skipped to their financial statements to see how they use the money they collect. In 2010 they took in about $10 million from public donations. They spent $2.9 million on research funding, $1.8 million on public education, $3.6 million on fundraising and $1.2 million on general, administrative, board and committee.

Personally, I’m all for the research part, but this isn’t where the bulk of my money would go if I donated it to this Society. And while I don’t doubt that the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society does lots of good things, I would prefer to make a donation to a group that funds research for a cure.

To summarize, here are the statistics on the website (in italics):

– in 2008, 480,000 Canadians had Alzheimers or a related dementia,1.5% of the population
– in 2038, 1.125 million will have this set of diseases, 2.8% of the population
These figures are based on the highest rate of population increase that the Canadian Government forecasts. The increase in percentage of Alzheimers is due to the fact that the Boomer generation will push up the numbers of elderly people. The Elderly are the ones with dementia.

– in 2008 the Economic Burden of dementia was $15 billion
– in 2038 this will be $153 billion
If the number of people who will have the disease is going to double in 30 years, why is the economic burden going to increase ten fold?

– 1 in 20 Canadians over the age of 65 are at risk of having the disease.
And 19 out of 20 Canadians aren’t at risk. This is the “glass half empty or glass half full” way of looking at things.

– 1 in 4 Canadians over the age of 85 are affected by the disease.
And 3 out of 4 Canadians won’t have it. The average life expectancy in Canada is 81, by the way, so the majority of people in the country won’t live long enough to reach the age where they are at highest risk.

The next time you come head to head with some statistics, look them over carefully. What story are they telling you? Is there another story that you should look at too?

Post 127

 

My 52 Friends Plan for Retirement

retirement guests

We lived in the Middle East for 3 1/2 years. When we left that part of the world to return home to Canada, we were entering a new phase of life – we were retirees! It was a leap of faith. We hadn’t lived in Canada for 5 1/2 years, and could only guess whether our new economic situation was going to be adequate.

We had made quite a few friends as expats, so before we moved home I came up with a cunning plan. If in fact there was going to be more month than money, we could sponge off visit our friends, on a rotating schedule.  If I could find 52 friends who would each host us for one week,  we didn’t really even have to have a home. I called it my 52 Friends Plan.

The roll out of my plan took place at our Going Away Party. We invited lots of people. Many of them were going to be retiring to places we thought we might like to visit. When they arrived at the party, I handed them the flyer I had printed up. It read as follows:

The 52 Friends Plan – Peace of Mind
You can avoid Surprise visits from retired Canadians by applying for Membership to The 52 Friends Plan. Once your application has been processed, you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your Canadian Guests will only stay with you for one predetermined week each year.

Are Canadians Hard to Look After?
Canadians are a hardy and adaptable bunch, with relatively few special needs. We’ll send you a short list of ideas about how to make them feel comfortable in your home, along with suggested menu plans and wine pairings. We then encourage you to correspond with your Foster Canadian prior to their first visit. This will guide you in selecting a good list of sights to send them off to, so they won’t be in your home and bothering you during the day.

Is This Like an Exchange Program?
No, you are under no obligation to visit your Canadian in their home environment. But after your Canadian’s first visit at your home, your Canadian will undoubtedly encourage you to come and visit them. You will want to ascertain just what part of Canada your Canadian lives in, and what kind of accommodation they can offer you before you accept such an invitation.  And while it is totally untrue that you have seen all of Canada just because you went to Toronto on business, there are many parts of Canada that you might not want to visit if your Canadian invites you to come in February.

The Selection Process
We will select a suitable Canadian, based on the preferences you  indicate when you fill out your application form. Once we have assigned you your Canadian, we will send you an 4X6 glossy to hang on your fridge. But, if you are eager to start your friendship with a Canadian today, we can assign you this lovely couple… (Then I inserted our name, address, phone number and e-mail address.)

52 Weeks in a year – 52 Friends. It just makes a lot of sense!

Apparently no one took my 52 Friends Plan seriously. Not a single person signed up.  We returned to Canada and resigned ourselves to living on Beanie Weenies and Baby Duck Wine. Within a month of arriving home, we received a request for accommodation from one of our expat friends. Their stay with us lasted for 2 1/2 weeks and we were but one of several people they were staying with as they hopscotched around the country. I was impressed – the 52 Friends Plan was not so far fetched after all! I just had to abandon the subscription aspect of it, and go straight to begging.

Post 90

Movember – The Month of Moustaches

man dollar bill

My Spousal Unit, The Car Guy,  joined a team last week. The membership fee was quite steep – he had to remove his moustache. He started growing his moustache about the time our youngest daughter was born, 34 years ago. So it was emotionally a big deal. Actually it wasn’t such a big deal when you think about it. It is not like the moustache was composed of the original hair he sprouted 34 years ago. And in a few weeks it should be almost back to normal.

The moustache shaving and/or growing of, is all part of the fund raising event called Movember.   Movember’s primary campaign objective is:

To raise awareness of men’s health issues, specifically cancers affecting men. We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages- including prostate and testicular cancer.  Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer.

Not all the participants in Movember have a moustache to take off. Some will be growing a moustache where one did not exist before. My Spousal Unit, for reasons known only to him, decided to also remove all the hair off his head. This was an action he immediately regretted, for his head was suddenly very cold. November isn’t a very warm month in our part of the world.

I say “remove” because he didn’t choose the route of shaving. Our youngest daughter (The Bead Maker) has a pair of electric clippers, and he asked her to use the clippers to shear him down to baldness. It isn’t the first time she has done this for him – or rather to him. She performed the same task on him, and much of her wedding party, after dinner on her Wedding Day. Her wedding party included a number of people like herself who are cancer survivors, so in solidarity many of them shaved their heads to raise money for Cancer Research.  The “After”  Wedding photo is not one you normally see…

I’m glad to see men proactively talking about prostate and testicular cancer – or any cancer for that matter. We have found that our family is not unique in having a cancer story to tell. But we didn’t know about other people’s cancer stories until we started telling ours. These shared stories made us all stronger. Growing these moustaches not only raises awareness, it brings out stories about the men who have been touched by Prostate Cancer. And that is a good thing, as Martha would say…

Post 60

Baby Boomer Backlash – Their Retirement Years Will be Unique

man moth

I didn’t ask to be born, but if I had, I don’t know if I would have chosen to be born during the Baby Boom of about 1946 to 1964. I think I would have chosen a different time period – had I known how many of the ills of the world would be blamed on the Baby Boomer Generation.

A better fit for me would have been my parent’s generation – the Silent Generation. They were conservative, hard-working and they lived well below their means throughout their careers. In retirement, the Silents are by no means ostentatious or big spenders. That pretty much sums up the way my Spousal Unit and I have more or less lived our lives so far, notwithstanding the new Harley in the garage.

The Boomers are just starting to enter Retirement, and large concerns loom over how the economy will adjust to the impact they will have on Pension Funds and Health Care costs.  The Baby Boomers, and the social fabric they have created, are much more free-wheeling with their money than the Silent Generation. In fact, the Boomers are quite happy to spend money they don’t even have yet. The result is a staggering debt load. Debt is not a very good way to start retirement.

So you can see why Governments are getting nervous. They have taken all the Baby Boomers Tax dollars for the past 40 years or so, and spent it on what they thought they wanted at the time. Not a lot of thought went into saving the money for what was inevitably going to happen when the Baby Boomers exited the job market. Apparently a good many Baby Boomers weren’t much good at saving either.

The younger generations are nervous. They don’t want, and can’t afford, the burden of supporting elderly Baby Boomers. So what is going to happen?

I expect the Baby Boomers will simply adapt, and in doing so they will redefine the rules of retirement. They will work longer than previous generations. They will downsize their housing and belongings. They will move to more economical parts of the country.

Governments will adapt too. They will try to raise taxes, but the people will finally revolt and say enough is enough. So the governments will cut back on services  – which isn’t a bad thing, because there are way too many things the government does that they don’t do very well. Some Pensions and Health Care systems may fail, but that meant they weren’t built very well.

As the Baby Boomers retire, (or die off) the subsequent work forces will redeploy themselves in ways that work for them. Then the newest generation can grouse and bitch about those generations… The cycle will start again.

Generation Summary – dates will overlap as there is no standard definitions. Names may vary by country.
Lost Generation: Born 1890-1915
GI or Greatest Generation: Born 1910-1925
Silent Generation: Born 1925-1945
Boomers: Born 1943-1964
Generation X: Born 1965 to 1981
Generation Y or Millennials: Born 1980 to 1995
Generation Z or Centennials: Born 1996 to 2010
Generation Alpha: Born 2011 to 2025

In 2015 in both United States and Canada, the Millennial Generation became the largest cohort in the work force (about 35 to 37%), with the Boomer and Generation X work forces each at 31 to 34%.

Post 59

Age – What is Good About Getting Older

The stereotype for aging is not always very complimentary. Articles, advertising, cartoons and jokes often paint a dismal picture of what it is like to get older. It is as if people have perfect lives, and then wake up on their 60th birthday (insert the age you think is “over the hill”)  to discover they are old and unhappy.

People age differently. Some will reach a ripe old age with their bodies and minds more or less intact. Others won’t. But what usually changes the most when a person gets older is that their mirror no longer reflects the person that their mind remembers.  And society starts to treat them differently. Sometimes it is good differently, but often not, I’ve found.

The QuipperySo, what is good about getting older? I’ve looked at dozens of websites, and this is what people are saying:

  1. Freedom to do what you want to do; time to ‘smell the roses’.
  2. Probably don’t have to worry about how your career is going to turn out.
  3. Earlier bed times.
  4. Dressing for comfort.
  5. Fewer hormonal driven, emotional decisions.
  6. A lifetime of good stories to tell.
  7. A long personal history of experience to draw upon.
  8. Better at imagining different points of view, thinking of multiple resolutions and suggesting compromises.
  9. Probably know the meaning of life and don’t need to look for it anymore.
  10. Stress isn’t so stressful.
  11. Seasonal allergies generally lessen.
  12. Smaller, closer group of friends because the need to be ‘popular’ is no longer important.
  13. Skin doesn’t break out when you eat things that used to cause zits.
  14. More outspoken and assertive about things.
  15. Wear my slippers to the supermarket to buy bourbon and cat food if I want to.
  16. Enjoying old or new hobbies.
  17. Giving up the quest for perfection.
  18. Usually get fewer colds.
  19. Sweat glands shrink, so we sweat less.
  20. Senior discounts.
  21. Age lets you be the person you would have been, if you hadn’t been so busy being the person you were.

Post 47

Aging Woman and the Invisibility Factor

elderly man woman

There was a column in the National Post this morning called 10 Ways to Make Canada More Senior Friendly. It appears that the piece was written by National Post Staff members Joe O’Connor and Jeremy Sandler.  It is a very good example of what the term “Ageism” means.  In short, the article is a derogatory depiction of a group of people based on a prejudice against that group.

The “10 Ways to Make Canada More Senior Friendly” is simply a list of  ten of the more common stereotypes that brand Seniors as being tired, broken down people. It isn’t a funny column. It doesn’t contain anything original. It is offensive.

These National Post Staff members were commenting on the fact that Statistics Canada is predicting that people over the age of 65 will soon outnumber children under the age of 15. No surprise here – the Baby Boomers are becoming senior citizens. While the young staff writers of the National Post are looking forward to a rapid diminishment of Baby Boomer power,  Baby Boomers will likely not oblige them. Baby Boomers have always considered themselves to be Change Agents, and as such it is unlikely their “Senior Years” will be anything like the ageist stereotypes that the National Post listed in their column today.

In addition to Ageist Stereotypes, women often become  to suffer from being Invisible.  Writer Susan Reimer explains: ‘As women age we begin to fade from view, moving from vibrant to translucent to invisible. To young husbands and little children, women shine like a sun at the centre of their universe. Soon enough, these same husbands only pretend to listen when we speak. Those same children dismiss us with a flip of the wrist. And the rest of the world, full of people who might once have thought we were pretty or interesting, does not even see us when we pass.’

More Reading:

Post 34

Allergic to the Gym – Fitness and Aging

I’m Allergic to the Gym. I don’t break out in hives or anything. I just don’t feel right when I am in one. Not that I have spent much time at a Gym.  I’m just not comfortable with the concept of driving somewhere to do something that I don’t like, with machines I don’t understand, surrounded by a group of people I don’t want to know.

I’m not totally unaware of the benefits of exercise, which is why my fitness regime, if you can call it that, includes walking. I either do laps around the available countryside, or I occasionally spend some  time with my treadmill. But mostly, I am committed to the notion that my forefathers lived into their 80’s and 90’s without ever engaging in any formal “exercise”, so there is a reasonable probability that I will too. The caveat here, of course, is that I have to live a relatively unsedentary lifestyle, similar to what my forefathers would have lived…

As I age, I have become keenly aware of which parts of my body are inclined  to not live up to my expectations. For them, I have developed mini routines to keep them functioning reasonably well. I try to keep things simple because then I am most likely to do them.  I also have seasonal exercises. In the winter, after it snows, there is the “shovel about 100 feet of driveway” exercise. In the summer, there is the “weed about 100 feet of flower beds” exercise. This spring there was the “lay paving stones on the 50 foot patio” exercise.  I took up golf a few years ago, so once a week I enjoy the walk around a golf course. I don’t keep score – I just try to leave the course without losing too many golf balls.

I became a ‘gym person’ when we became Snowbirds in Arizona. The Community Centre is just a short walk or bike ride away, and it has an excellent little gym with several recumbent bikes. With a library in the same facility, I can exercise and read at the same time!

How does a bit of exercise affect longevity?  According to an analysis of the Framingham Heart Study (a research project that has followed 5,209 residents of a Massachusetts town for more than 40 years) people who engaged in moderate activity, like walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week — lived about 1.3 to 1.5 years longer than those who were less active. More intense exercise, like running half an hour a day five days every week — lived 3.5 to 3.7 years longer.

Actuarial tables suggest I will possibly live to be at least 86 years old, based on my current lifestyle.  If I exercise a bit more, or a lot more, I could live 1.3 to 3.7 years longer. The question is, do I want to live to the age of 87.3 or 89.7?  By then, many of my family and friends will be gone and I think I’d be lonely. I guess that would be a good time to join the Gym  and meet some new people…

Post 32

Half Full or Half Empty. How Full is Your Glass?

fish in glass half full or empty

There seem to be at least two types of people in the world – the glass half full types, and the glass half empty ones – the optimists and the pessimists.

I like to think the glass is a metaphor for life. My viewpoint is that the glass is empty at birth, and totally full at death. Each day adds something to the contents. With age comes a fuller life and a fuller glass.

People who are fearful of ageing might view the metaphor as being one whereby the glass is full at birth, and empties as we age.

Contrary to what the beauty industry would like us to believe, we aren’t going to be able to stop the hands of time. Regardless of what our appearance may be, we just keep getting older. The only choice we have, really, is whether we think our lives are enriched with time, or degraded with it. I know what I choose.

Quotes and other thoughts about this:

Is the glass half full, or half empty? It depends on whether you’re pouring, or drinking.
– Bill Cosby –

Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.
– George Carlin –

Some folks go through life pleased that the glass is half full. Others spend a lifetime lamenting that it’s half-empty. The truth is: There is a glass with a certain volume of liquid in it. From there, it’s up to you!
– Dr. James S. Vuocolo –

Post 31

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