Think about shaving as a shared activity

Think about shaving as a shared activity

Shaving one’s face is a fundamental part of being a man. A generation ago, the act of shaving denoted manhood, pride of appearance, cleanliness, neatness and a person in control and well-groomed.

In the U.S., Canada and Europe, about 85 percent of men shave their beards.

Throughout recent history we have been a society where the appearance of the body is seen to reveal the state of mind of an individual—and men often grew beards when they were in crisis.

Ever hear of the playoff beard? This describes the superstitious practice of male athletes not shaving their beards during playoffs. Introduced in the 1980s by ice hockey players participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s become a practice in many sports leagues and among fans as well.

But what can be more intrinsic to the emotional well-being of a man than to be able to shave if he wants to?

Influx of seniors challenge emergency room system

Influx of seniors challenge emergency room system

The number of older people in emergency rooms is expected to increase significantly over the next 30 years, doubling in the case of those older than 65 and potentially tripling among those over 85.

Our healthcare system is in critically short supply of primary care physicians and geriatric specialists to treat seniors. As a result, many seniors end up in emergency rooms rather than being treated in the community.

The emergency room can be an overwhelming place for seniors, as they must enter an unfamiliar environment, field rapid-fire questions, then experience fear and anxiety about the diagnosis that awaits.

Are our emergency rooms prepared for this significant growth in senior patients? The answer might be no, unless we heed a call to arms in the following critical areas.

Supporting a grieving parent

Supporting a grieving parent

Last week I asked my mother if there was something she thought I should write about in my column. Quick to reply, she said, “How does one cope when their spouse is dying?”

“What do you mean by cope?” I asked.

“Are there things I should do? Are there ways to prepare for what is to come?” she replied.

Our family has spent 20 years thinking about my father’s final days, ever since his Parkinson’s diagnosis. In the last few years, we have prepared practically, legally and financially for the end of his life.

The one scenario we’ve not tackled: How should we be feeling as my father’s death draws near?

Mandated reporters have an important role to play

Mandated reporters have an important role to play

Not long ago I received a call from some friends who were concerned about their elderly neighbor. The neighbor (I will call him Bob) was discovered by a friend. Bob had fallen in his home and was unable to get up.

Paramedics were called to take Bob to the hospital.

As the paramedics arrived at his home, some of the neighbors rushed over. They could not help but notice the interior of his house was full of boxes, papers and garbage piled up to the ceiling. There was a small path for Bob to move around the house, but the condition of the home was both dangerous and unsanitary.

Bob never returned home from his hospital stay and the neighbors grew concerned. They noticed someone coming in and out of Bob’s house and inquired about their neighbor. The person they spoke to was evasive and refused to tell them of Bob’s condition or whereabouts.

Bob had lived in their neighborhood for more than 30 years. His wife had passed away over 10 years ago. Given the condition of the home and the fact that they could not get any information about their neighbor, they called me, expressing their fears.

When you suspect a friend’s parent needs help

When you suspect a friend’s parent needs help

A few weeks ago my husband and I were invited to a small dinner party. My friend wanted us to visit with his 90-year-old father, who was in town for a brief stay.

It had been a long time since I’d seen his father, maybe 20 years. Since then, his wife had passed away and he was living alone in the Midwest. He’d recently traveled to the West Coast for an extended stay in the desert and now was in our area for a visit with his son before heading home.

My friend’s father (I will call him Bill) looked great: trim and well-dressed. We chatted into the evening, catching each other up on our lives and activities.

It was during this exchange that it first happened.

Bill asked my husband what he did for a living, and my husband explained he worked for a corporation in the tax department.

At a lull in the conversation, Bill said to my husband, “So, Dennis, this must be a busy time of year for you with tax season and all.”

My husband’s name is Peter.

Senior Concerns’ services have grown with population

Senior Concerns’ services have grown with population

Certain charitable organizations are even more vital today than they were 20 years ago.

For example, brain disorder nonprofits like the Alzheimer’s Association orAutism Speaks are serving a much larger percentage of the population today than when they were founded.

Whether the originators of these organizations were visionary or were simply responding to a need at the time, we’re fortunate to have nonprofits that are focused on growing challenges in our communities.

Early on, the founders of Senior Concerns realized an unmet need for nutrition for homebound seniors. Over the ensuing years, the organization grew to meet a large variety of needs of aging seniors and their families.

I’m fairly certain those founders hadn’t imagined the demographic and longevity changes that would take place over the years, but never has an organization been more relevant to a community. We have begun to experience substantial growth in our older population, which will continue over the next 30 years.

A time to honor those who care

Our community is full of them.

They often go unnoticed by friends and neighbors. Their role is not known to their employer. For many, their doctor is unaware of their situation.

They walk among us, shop among us, work among us—yet we don’t see them for what they are: family caregivers.

As you look around your workplace, your neighborhood or your doctor’s waiting room, you might be surprised to learn that one in five people around you are caring for an aging parent, a spouse, an elderly family member or friend with a chronic, debilitating or serious health condition.

“It’s not surprising that many of us don’t see these people in that light because most of the time 

Join the conversation on LGBT and aging

In many communities, LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) older adults are a forgotten population.

Before the 1970s, little was known about this part of the population except that they were viewed by some as deviant or immoral. As a result, they concealed their sexual orientation, fearing physical and emotional abuse; rejection from family, friends and religious communities; and job loss.

Fast-forward 40 years and, while there is a greater understanding, LGBT elders still face challenges their heterosexual counterparts do not.

A majority of them live alone, relying on other older gay adults for support and caregiving.

Person-centered care

emailiconCIBDLast week I met my new neighbor’s 4-year-old daughter. I was with my dog, Rolo, and the little girl explained to me that her brother, just 22 months, was “obsessed” with dogs. It was a big word for a 4-year old. Her ability to recall the word and use it correctly was impressive. At 4, this little girl may make more decisions and verbalize more about her emotions than many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, she most likely gets to choose what book she wants to read, what she wants for breakfast, what television program she wants to watch and what play activity she enjoys. “Want” is the operative word here. In this child’s daily routine she is given choices that allow her to express her autonomy and independence. In turn, whether she knows it or not, she receives joy and satisfaction. One of the main challenges in caring for a person with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s is allowing the person’s “wants” to be verbalized and fulfilled. When we choose a person’s clothes,...

Training senior care providers

senior careWhen I was in corporate America, the companies I worked for invested a lot of money in employee education and development. Part of the reason this is on my mind right now is because I saved all of my training manuals and just had the opportunity to go through them. I can see how training for senior and family caregivers may be even more important than training for employees was in my past career. Growth in the senior industry is causing lightning-fast change. It can be challenging to keep up, whether as an industry professional or as a senior or family caregiver. Those who don’t work in the senior care industry may not be aware that in our community we have dedicated professional organizations taking on the valuable role of training and education. Moving Seniors Forward (www.movingseniorsforward.org) is a Ventura County and San Fernando Valley network of professionals (one representative per profession) offering services, products and information for seniors and their families....

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