Making childhood memories last well into adulthood

Making childhood memories last well into adulthood

This month my 3-year-old grandnephew, Wyatt, took his first airplane ride. What’s more, he was chosen to visit with the pilot and co-pilot, and he even got to sit in the cockpit in the pilot’s seat.

My sister sent my mom and me the pictures of the occasion. In addition to remarking how stinking cute her great-grandson is, my mom wondered if he will remember this experience. She hoped so.

It got me to thinking about my earliest memory, which is of my mom and me on the living room couch. She was hugging me. It was more a memory of the senses.

Clearing the way for reading enjoyment

Clearing the way for reading enjoyment

If your friends are anything like mine, casual conversations these days often turn to a discussion of the amazing television series they’ve been watching on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

I appreciate their enthusiasm and write down their recommendations, fully intending to check them out as soon as I have some free time.

The problem is that my choice when I have free time leans toward reading a good novel versus binging on TV. My enthusiasm for reading became especially fierce during the COVID lockdowns, and it remains a passion today.

That cold might be COVID, so it’s best to play it safe

That cold might be COVID, so it’s best to play it safe

Last week my sister’s father-in-law, who lives on the East Coast, was mowing his lawn. After he finished, he started feeling respiratory discomfort, chalking it up to the grass and weeds he’d stirred up while mowing.

A few days later, his wife experienced a runny nose, cough and muscle aches. Suspicious of her symptoms, she used one of her insurance-provided home COVID tests and tested positive for coronavirus.

Now believing he was responsible for passing it to her, he went over in his mind all of the people and places he’d visited in the days before: the church meeting he attended, his visit to see his granddaughter and great-grandchild, and his evening spent with neighbors.

In all, he estimated he had come in close contact with over 30 people.

He still didn’t take a COVID test, 

The modern world challenges old-school ways

The modern world challenges old-school ways

When it comes to everyday tasks, I’m caught between the modern world and my old-school ways.

The term “old-school” refers to a style, method or device that’s no longer used or done because it has been replaced by something that’s more modern. Think of combing through that huge paper phone book that’s been replaced by a one-second internet search.

I recently saw a Facebook post that asked which old-school items are still in your home. Listed were paper calendars, greeting cards, recipe cards and metal filing drawers, just to name a few.

It gave me pause because I thought to myself, what’s wrong with a paper calendar or filing drawers? Being a couple of organization freaks, my husband and I both have paper wall calendars so we can visualize our day, week or month, and our metal file drawers hold our financial statements, medical reports and receipts.

I can’t image having neither of these items, and I wonder how soon it will be before I can no longer order my At-A-Glance Monthly Planner or find a replacement for my two-drawer file cabinet when I need one.

Community presentations can spark important conversations

Community presentations can spark important conversations

One of my favorite parts of my job is public speaking. I know that stirs up anxiety and fear in some people, but for me it’s invigorating.

Groups are beginning to meet in person again, and I’m enjoying making the rounds to the Senior Summit; Rotary, Kiwanis, Delta Cappa Gamma and Brandeis groups; places of faith; and women’s and men’s clubs.

These groups meet to socially connect, and they often invite speakers to share their knowledge and experience.

As I prepare for a presentation, I enjoy gathering facts, weaving in stories I think might help to make a point and designing a visual presentation to make it all pop. My goal with my audience is to make a connection and encourage them to think and feel.

And the goal for myself is to listen.

As prices rise, concern grows for senior renters

As prices rise, concern grows for senior renters

Marta (not her real name) called Senior Concerns as a last resort.

The mobile home she and her husband had been renting for the past 30 years was being sold. The owner had died, and the owner’s adult children wanted to sell.

The rent the couple had been paying had been below market rate for many years, allowing them to use their only income, Social Security checks, to pay the rent and buy groceries and prescriptions, with almost nothing left over for savings each month.

After receiving notice that the trailer was being sold, Marta tried to find affordable housing. But nothing in their price range existed, and there was a years-long waiting list for subsidized senior housing in any nearby community.

With no children or relatives to lean on, Marta had no choice but to stay put until she could figure out what to do.

Then the eviction notice came. They had 60 days to vacate the property—and nowhere to go.

Nature’s gift can bring serenity if we just take time to look

Nature’s gift can bring serenity if we just take time to look

A few weeks ago, I attended a work conference with my husband. I was the trailing spouse, which meant I could relax and enjoy myself while he attended CPA classes.

A free vacation sounded good to me, especially after these past 24 months.

Yet little did I know just how restorative this trip would be. And I owe it all to the ocean.

The hotel television included a channel where one could just watch the waves come in and out at a nearby rocky beach on the property. After tuning in the evening before, I set out my first morning to find this cove and see if it really was as captivating as it appeared on TV.

The air was chilly. I put on my sweatsuit, laced up my sneakers and pointed myself in the direction of the ocean. It didn’t take me long to find the trail to the cove.

Communication helps ensure end-of-life wishes are followed

Communication helps ensure end-of-life wishes are followed

If we lived and died in a perfect world, all our end-of-life wishes would be followed.

If we wanted extraordinary measures, where our doctors do everything possible to prevent our death, that would be done. If we wanted to simply remain as comfortable as possible until the end comes, that would be done.

But we are not in a perfect world, and too many people are taking their last breath without their wishes being followed.

For many of us, when we are creating a will or a trust, our attorney may ask us to do some advance care planning, like completing an advance directive and selecting a healthcare proxy.

Or we may have entered a hospital or a skilled nursing facility and are asked to complete these documents.

Chances are 

Support for family caregivers is on the way

Support for family caregivers is on the way

Today I can count more than 20 friends or relatives who are acting as family caregivers for their loved ones. It’s probably the highest number I can remember in my adulthood.

My cousin’s wife is caring for her husband, who has oral cancer and is undergoing chemo and radiation. My girlfriend is caring for her husband with vascular dementia, and the husband of my niece, who has long COVID, is caring for my niece and their 3-year-old.

Not withstanding the marriage vows to love and care “in sickness and in health,” each caregiver never expected they would be tending an ill or disabled loved one.

In situations like these, the focus is on the person being cared for. And of course it should be. Who could not feel for a man not able to speak or swallow as his children, 6 and 8, look on?

Or my friend’s husband who has had three strokes and is in tremendous fear of the next one? Or my niece experiencing vertigo, mind fog and migraines that leave her

Aging systems require doing your homework

Aging systems require doing your homework

Maybe it’s my aging home, my aging car or my aging office building, but as the days go by, it seems every repair or improvement that is quoted to me is really expensive.

It doesn’t matter if it is for electrical work, a piece of kitchen equipment or car repair—the quotes are significant, and the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Take my recent car service appointment. I love my car. It has upward of 108,000 miles on it and has served me well.

When I need to buy a new car, I almost certainly will buy the same make and model.

I have been faithful with my scheduled maintenance appointments, using the dealership for the work. It works for me because I have one record of all the work done and I get a free loaner to use.

On a recent scheduled maintenance appointment,