It makes sense that seniors need to be counted in 2020 Census

It makes sense that seniors need to be counted in 2020 Census

 I recently attended a presentation by a partnership specialist for the Los Angeles Regional Census Center. She met with a group of nonprofits to explain details of the upcoming 2020 Census and to express the importance of each household completing the census.

According to AARP, older Americans have been more likely than other age groups to return their U.S. Census forms and make sure they were counted.

That is the good news, because there has never been a census in history that is more important to seniors than this upcoming one—because the senior population is growing at such a rapid pace and needs to be counted.

State Master Plan on Aging deserves review

State Master Plan on Aging deserves review

Recognizing that California’s over-65 population is projected to grow to 8.6 million by 2030, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order recently calling for a Master Plan for Aging to be developed by Oct. 1, 2020.

The master plan will serve as a blueprint for state government, local communities, private organizations and philanthropists to build environments that promote an age-friendly California.

Our local Area Agency on Aging and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin have been hosting informational sessions about the needs of older adults in our communities.

In reviewing the myriad of topics to focus on, here are my top areas for consideration:

Seniors at risk during outages

Seniors at risk during outages

Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his famous “hierarchy of needs” theory in 1942. At the time, he saw food, water, sleep and shelter as the most basic of all human needs.

I would contend electricity has now become a basic human need.

Without electricity, it would be extremely difficult to lead our daily lives: We wouldn’t have power to light our homes, communicate by telephone, access our computers, get news updates from our TVs, power medical devices, get hot water and refrigerate our foods and medicines. The list goes on.

Since its invention, electricity use has dramatically changed daily life. Like air and water, we now take electricity for granted.

So much so that proposed Public Safety Power Shutoffs feel like a threat to our basic human needs. A PSPS is an operational practice that SCE has used to preemptively shut off power in high-fire-risk areas to reduce fire risk during extreme and potentially dangerous weather conditions.

Are America’s seniors facing an ‘aloneness’ epidemic?

Are America’s seniors facing an ‘aloneness’ epidemic?

Recently, my coworkers and I have begun to see a spike in the number of seniors in our community who go days on end without human contact. Yet when asked if they’re lonely, they say no.

These individuals are quite content with their daily schedule. In many cases, they’re proud of their independence—even if it means a lack of socialization and the absence of trusted resources.

This journey into aloneness can be likened to the tale of the boiling frog.

As the fable goes, if a frog is suddenly put into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water, which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

A not-so-pretty analogy but one that bears truth for some seniors who, over time, have isolated themselves.

More and more older adults picking up pickleball

More and more older adults picking up pickleball

I’ve never been a sports-oriented person. I’m not sure if it’s the required physical exertion or the competitive aspect that doesn’t excite me, but I’d much rather spend my days pursuing a host of other activities.

So when my husband announced he wanted us to join a club and play pickleball, I was less than enthused.

Sure, I’d heard that pickleball was one of the fastest-growing sports in America and was being played by lots of older adults, but I really knew nothing about the details.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that requires two to four players using a solid paddle, hitting a Wiffle-type ball over a low net. Players use an underarm stroke to serve the ball and play it on a court that’s about one-quarter the size of a tennis court, so there’s less physical exertion.

The game was invented 50 years ago as a way for three dads to keep their kids occupied. The fathers creatively used materials they had around the house and yard to fashion the paddles, ball, net and court, and then made up the rules.

Listen to this advice about hearing loss

Listen to this advice about hearing loss

On weekends, my husband and I walk our dog, Rolo, together. Rolo is blind and deaf, but is a joyful 10-year-old pup in otherwise good health.

Me, on the other hand, while I am in good health, I’ve been having some trouble hearing.

On our dog walks, we traverse a busy road for a short period of time, walking in single file. When my husband tries to talk to me, even when there is no traffic, I have trouble hearing him. Of course, his back is often toward me, but still, I used to be able to hear him when we walked this way.

I also noticed that when we are doing things around the house and talking to each other but not face-to-face, I have trouble hearing him. I was getting tired of saying “What did you say?” or “Could you repeat that?”

I wouldn’t have even given this a second thought, except at work they used to call me Miracle Ear. I could hear whispers from the next room. I really did have remarkable hearing.

How safe is that safe deposit box

How safe is that safe deposit box

My neighbor John has been collecting gold coins for the past 20 years. Upon buying a coin, he would place it in the safe deposit box he and his wife, Caitlin, rented at their bank.

John put the gold there for an obvious reason: security.

A thick steel door safeguards hundreds of stacked metal boxes. The boxes are protected by a two-key system.

The bank gives you one key to use in combination with a “guard key” held by a bank employee. In addition, you must provide personal identification and sign the register every time you visit the bank to access your box.

If your bank uses a keyless system, you will instead be asked to scan your finger or hand.

A few weeks ago, Caitlin decided to go to the box, count the large stack of coins and calculate their value (roughly estimated at $100,000). She and John are retired now and thinking about tapping into their nest egg.

Another reminder not to ignore symptoms of heart attack

Another reminder not to ignore symptoms of heart attack

A few weeks ago, as he was walking his dog around his neighborhood, my friend Jerry experienced pain and pressure in his chest. He’d forgotten his cellphone, so he continued up the hill to his house, stopping four times to catch his breath before arriving home.

Once he was inside the pain subsided, and he went about his daily business.

Later that week Jerry and his wife went to their gym for a yoga class. His wife commented that he was sweating profusely throughout the class, which was unusual for him.

The chest pain came and went over the course of a few more days. Then, as Jerry described it, his “teeth began to hurt”; it was likely more accurate that he was experiencing jaw pain.

The next day his wife was working from home, and Jerry’s discomfort was acute enough that he suggested maybe they ought to go to urgent care.

No gifts this birthday, plan memories instead

No gifts this birthday, plan memories instead

I recently visited New Hampshire to join my mother in celebrating her 85th birthday.

While planning the visit, I asked my mother if she would like to go on a short trip with me—maybe a visit to Cape Cod or to Maine?

My mother has temporarily lost her “partner in crime” for outings. My sister is in “grandma mode,” babysitting her 4-monthold grandson four days a week.

On the girlfriend front, my mother was never much of a socializer. She preferred to spend time with her family and work at her job, and then in retirement tend to her husband’s needs. Having a gal pal was really not her thing.

My mother always displayed a true New England work ethic. When I was a child, if a neighbor called to gossip or chat, my mother 

Want your legacy to live on? Consider a charitable gift

Want your legacy to live on? Consider a charitable gift

When most people hear the words “planned giving,” their eyes glaze over.

In the over-50 population, there’s a general lack of awareness and understanding about the concept. This is too bad, because with the collective wealth of baby boomers, their planned gifts can have significant social impact.

Planned giving is the process of making a sizable charitable gift either during a donor’s life or at their death as part of their financial or estate plan.

So, what does designating a charitable gift in a will or an estate plan entail?

Well, first and foremost, it requires thinking about one’s death—an uncomfortable topic for many people and downright taboo in some cultures.

The process of making a planned gift may also conjure up complex financial and technical legal protocols. That’s why many people turn to an estate planning attorney when contemplating distribution of their assets.

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