Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

I will be attending two celebrations of life this month.

The first is for my friend Margaret.

I wrote about her in one of my recent columns, about her surprise 90th birthday party with 50 of her friends and neighbors. Margaret died in December, a week before she was scheduled to go on a trip to Africa.

I am comforted by the thought that people got to celebrate her 90th birthday with her.

The other is for a 50-year-old work colleague who was killed by a stray bullet. He leaves behind a wife and children. His death is senseless, tragic, and shocking.

I add to this something which I have been unable to write about thus far, because it’s been too painful;

Forced retirement may be a waste

Forced retirement may be a waste

How old is too old for working at a job? Last week a news story hit my inbox and it really got me to thinking about age and retirement.

The article noted that Target Corp. abandoned its mandatory retirement age of 65 for its CEO, Brian Cornell. Cornell is 63.

There were two things that interested me about this story.

The first is, I know Brain. I worked with him when he was at Tropicana and I was with Dole Packaged Foods. Tropicana had bought the licensing and distribution rights to Dole refrigerated juices, and I was part of the transition team working with Brian.

Since 2014, when Cornell took the Target CEO job, sales at the national retailer have

What are the signs you’re ready to retire?

What are the signs you’re ready to retire?

I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately.

One of our amazing staff members, who has been with Senior Concerns for the last 13 years, retired last month. It just doesn’t seem real.

I always thought of Dana as young. Certainly not the person to retire before me.

Dana has wonderful reasons for retiring. A year ago her husband retired from a more than 20-year career in public service. She has her son’s wedding to help with and some long-awaited travels plans that were postponed because of COVID.

She and her husband also have plans to build their dream home.

Dana’s retirement hit me like a knock on the side of the head.

What happened to Silent Generation values?

What happened to Silent Generation values?

Recently I sent a survey to several Silent Generation seniors who are between the ages of 76 and 93. A great deal has been written about their beginnings as a cohort, but my goal was to understand their thoughts and feelings as they pertain to some of the more recent cultural changes in our society.

The Silent Generation is the demographic group after the Greatest Generation (1901 to 1927) and before the baby boomers (1946 to 1964). They were raised during a period of war and economic depression.

Many lost fathers or older siblings who were killed in World War II. Many of the men of the Silent Generation served in the Korean War.

While it’s impossible to say all individuals of a certain generation possess the same qualities,

Thieves targeting older women

Thieves targeting older women

Recently I noticed the ATM in my grocery store had been removed. I was a bit baffled by the decision, and a bit annoyed.

The location was convenient. I could combine my shopping trip with banking. One stop, two chores accomplished.

What I did not think about at the time is the safety and security that an in-store ATM offered me. The next closest ATM is in a bank branch, a newer building in the far corner of a shopping center.

A few Sundays ago, around 6 p.m., I parked my car and entered the vestibule of the bank to use one of the two ATMs there. I looked around at my surroundings and realized there wasn’t a soul in sight, no foot traffic or even cars driving by.

Complicating COVID stress: Technology gaps for seniors

Complicating COVID stress: Technology gaps for seniors

Early on, when COVID vaccine appointments first became available for seniors age 75-plus, the online application asked the user to select their insurance. Most seniors have Medicare and selected that option. Next, they were instructed to upload a copy of their Medicare card.

Calls were coming in to Senior Concerns: “I am trying to make an appointment for a vaccine. Can you tell me what upload means?”

Seniors who used to schedule an in-person appointment to receive no-cost assistance in preparing their tax returns at Cal State Northridge are now being asked to make an appointment on the website, and on the day of their appointment they will receive an email with a private, encrypted link to HIPAA Zoom.

More calls came in: “What is an encrypted HIPPA Zoom?”

COVID unpredictability lingers

COVID unpredictability lingers

Before COVID-19, many of us over the age of 60 never regarded ourselves as “older adults” or as someone with an underlying medical condition. However, it didn’t take long for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and county public health officers to place new classifications on us once the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States.

I have many friends over the age of 60 who would consider themselves vital, with jobs or volunteer duties, large networks and busy lives.

Their age was never a primary identifier for them, and their medical situation was something they controlled while still managing their robust lives.

Recent events highlight limits of age-restricted sites

Recent events highlight limits of age-restricted sites

Earlier this month 300 residents of a Newbury Park 55-plus mobile home park were left without running water for nearly a week. The stoppage, caused by a main break within the community’s private water system, didn’t get fixed until city and county officials intervened.

The ordeal got me thinking about the pros and cons of such living arrangements.

Age-restricted mobile home parks offer seniors an affordable alternative to single-family homes without the crowded living of an apartment complex. Most tenants pay rent on their space and own their mobile home. That means they pay a lower monthly rent and can live in a larger home.

Another benefit is that the parks’ amenities are designed around the needs of seniors and offer opportunities to socialize with people in the same age range.

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:

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.