Doris Bersing, PhD
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The Best Senior-Friendly Tech Tools to Keep You Engaged in the World

Now more than ever before, it’s important for seniors to connect with their loved ones and engage in the world around them — even if they’re doing it from the safety of their homes. Senior isolation and loneliness are growing concerns amidst COVID-19, but tech devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers give older adults a chance to stay in touch with the outside world and pursue their passions while staying safe at home. To explore some of the best tech tools for seniors, check out these suggestions.

Smartphones, Laptops, and Tablets

Among some of the most common senior-friendly tech devices are smartphones, laptops, and tablets. These devices can help seniors connect with their loved ones, learn new skills and hobbies, get help in an emergency, pursue passions, and experience a better quality of life overall. Here’s what makes technology so great, especially in the age of COVID-19:

  • Video chatting. Seniors can use smartphones, tablets, and laptops with built-in webcams to video chat with loved ones via popular apps such as Zoom or Skype. According to Lifehacker, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger Lite, and WhatsApp are some of the simplest video chat apps for seniors.
  • Calling, texting, emailing, and sending photos. Seniors can use their smartphones to send and receive phone calls, text messages, emails, and photos. Plus, they can access a variety of mobile apps such as MedWatcher, Senior Phone, and Kindle.
  • Browsing the internet. Since laptops and tablets feature larger screens, these tech devices are perfect for visiting social media sites, playing online games, watching videos, and browsing the internet. Plus, seniors can join online communities and connect with other older adults from anywhere in the world.
  • Volunteering. Through AARP and other websites such as VolunteerMatch and DoSomething.org, seniors can find remote volunteer opportunities that allow them to pursue their passions from home.
  • Books, podcasts, and audiobooks. With their tech devices, seniors can listen to podcasts and audiobooks — and read electronic books, magazines, and newspapers.

Before accessing the internet, seniors need to have a plan in place for protecting themselves from identity theft and other types of suspicious activity. Check out Verizon’s tips and guides to learn all about identity theft protection, cybersecurity, and online safety.

Educational Apps and Websites

In addition to using their tablets, laptops, and smartphones to video chat with loved ones, browse the internet, and search for remote volunteer opportunities, seniors can continue their education with online courses, programs, and tutorials. It’s never too late to learn something new, and the internet makes learning easier than ever.

According to Helen Jarden of MoneyPantry, educational websites like Alison, Academic Earth, Coursera, Khan Academy, and Duolingo offer free online courses for seniors. Coursera, for instance, offers free courses on everything from psychology and marketing to nutrition and animal welfare. Seniors can also put their creative abilities to the test with free drawing and sketching classes. As another option for seniors: an abundance of free online tutorials and classes are available on YouTube, including those on knitting, calligraphy, yoga, dance, sewing, cooking, and more. Whatever their hobbies, skills, and passions may be, seniors can find everything they’re looking for online.

The Bottom Line

If you or your senior loved one is struggling physically or mentally amidst COVID-19, some other strategies can help. In addition to using technology to connect with others, exercising daily, eating nutritiously, and rekindling old hobbies and passions are some of the best ways seniors can improve mental and physical health.

With access to the internet, seniors can easily reconnect with their passions and learn new hobbies, which will help to keep their minds and bodies healthy, young, and happy as they grow older. And for more tips and resources that empower seniors to age well, connect with Doris Bersing for geriatric consultation. Schedule a counseling session today.


How to Find and Buy the Perfect Property for Homesteading as a Retiree

When you retire, you will have significantly more time on your hands. The big question is, how do you want to spend it? You can prepare to make the most of your newfound leisure time by moving to a larger property. With a bigger home, you can easily host children, grandkids, and friends at any time.

If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, consider getting a more remote piece of real estate so you can pursue homesteading. Homesteading is all about self-sufficient living. With a bit of land, you can take up hobbies like raising chickens or cutting your own firewood. Spending more time outdoors will also preserve your health as you age, resulting in improved immune function, better sleep, and higher energy levels.

 Doris Bersing can help you figure out if the homesteading life is a good option for you. If you conclude that this is the route you want to take in retirement, you have to secure an appropriate piece of property. This guide explains how to find and buy a larger home as you prepare for retirement.

Define your ideal property.

Make a list of what you’re looking for in a house. If you’re going to be homesteading, you need to consider characteristics like land size, for example. When it comes to the actual house, consider how many rooms you’ll need to accommodate visiting family and what purposes those rooms should serve. For example, young grandkids might want a playroom. When buying a house you also have to think about your own needs, of course. Consider what you might need now and in the future. Seniors with limited mobility do better with single-story homes that don’t require them to use stairs, for example. Meanwhile, individuals with Alzheimer’s require safety precautions in the bathroom, such as grab bars.

Figure out your financial capacity.

Next, take stock of your financial situation. Keep in mind that to buy a home, you will likely have to take out a mortgage. In order to get a low-interest rate, most lenders require you to make a down payment of 20%. If you pay this minimum upfront, you also have the advantage of foregoing the cost of private mortgage insurance. If you have unpaid debts, getting a good mortgage interest rate may be challenging. Improve your odds of securing a favorable loan by quickly eliminating and paying down what you owe. Consult local debt relief and assistance resources. A debt relief expert can offer advice based on characteristics like how much you owe and your employment status.

Close the deal.

 If you do find the perfect property, you will likely have to move quickly to secure it. The real estate market is competitive and you don’t want to let a great opportunity slip through your fingers. In this case, it’s possible that you may have to buy your new property before you can sell your old one.

There are a few precautions you should take. Note that you can request an extended closing. This will buy you some extra time to unload your old home. If you’re struggling to sell your old house, enlist the help of a realtor. They can ensure a more streamlined process. Finally, you can consider renting out your old home until it sells.

Enlist assistance for the move.

 When the time comes to make your move, don’t go it alone. Moving is strenuous at any age and even more so for seniors. Hire professionals to handle the heavy lifting and avoid injury. You can also get a senior moving consultant to help. They will manage the entire process, taking you from A to B — old home to new home — in a streamlined and stress-free manner.

With the above tips, you can find the perfect property to spend your retirement. With effort and persistence, you’ll soon be settled in a new home where you can make the most of your golden years.

For more resources and inspiration on how to live the best life in your golden years, turn to geriatric consultant Doris Bersing. Schedule a consultation today.

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

Homophobia todavía vivita y coleando: no tengo nada en contra pero…

Lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transexuales, intersexo, y otras personas que se identifican con la cultura “queer:  enfrentan peligros físicos pero sobre todo emocionales por ser quienes son  y atreverse a vivir como quieren y a ejercitar el derecho de libre albedrío que todos tenemos. Existe abundante evidencia de que el prejuicio que enfrentamos, la homofobia,  es tóxico y perverso, invade los espacios sociales, familiares y penetra nuestra psique profundamente. Por lo tanto, a pesar de todas las victorias ganadas la homofobia esta “vivita y coleando”.

Por ejemplo, cuando este prejuicio contra los homosexuales proviene de los padres o de ls entidades religiosas,  el efecto es mucho mas profundo. Según el profesor de psicología de la Universidad de Tennessee Knoxville, Dawn Szymanski, la investigación muestra que experimentar el rechazo de los padres de su identidad sexual está relacionado con la negatividad traumática internalizada, lo que los psicólogos llaman “homonegatividad internalizada” o “estigma internalizado”. Lo mismo es cierto cuando una persona pertenece a una religión que rechaza la homosexualidad. Todo esto no solo aumenta el odio y la intolerancia hacia estos grupos pero incrementa la internalization de que algo malo sucede con nosotros, que no somos lo suficiente buenos, lo suficientemente aptos, queridos o dignos de maor yes internalization afecta nuestro auto concepto y la manera como nos vemos a nosotros mismos y como interactuamos con los demás. La homofobia está tan arraigada en el arquetipo colectivo que hacemos chistes y usamos comentarios peyorativos para referirnos a los miembros de esas comunidades “LGBTI” pero a pesar de los esfuerzos por superarlo, incluso en España, considerada como el segundo país, después de Alemania, en recibir y aprobar a los miembros LGBT, todavía se hacen chistes y agresiones de bajo tono contra las personas gays. La Universidad de Barcelona, hace varios meses difundió un estudio de los 12 comentarios homophobic mas usados por nuestra cultura.

De allí que podrás imaginar lo que es  crecer escuchando a tus seres queridos afirmando que ciertos grupos de personas son malvados. De hecho, estas personas son tan malas, tan equivocadas, que Dios mismo las castigará. Imagina absorber este odio profundamente en tus huesos. Imagine que luego descubre, en algún momento de su adolescencia, que es una de estas personas. Ellos son los odiados. Eres el odiado y luego la sociedad viene a reforzar que eres anormal, que algo anda mal dentro de ti, en tu cabeza, con sus micro-agresiones o mas abiertos y hóstiles ataques.  Estos acosos y ataques son reales y ocurren a nivel físico, amenazando la vida, mientras otros mas soslayados solo socavan tu seguridad emocional y autoestima. Lo aprendemos desde pequeños y terminamos internalizandolo como una realidad.Una consecuencia de este estigma internalizado por nosotros y otros es la violencia entre o contra nosotros mismos: los estudios de parejas del mismo sexo muestran que la homofobia internalizada es un predictor significativo de violencia dentro de una relación. El odio a uno mismo también crea una profunda angustia psicológica: un metaanálisis encontró que los niveles más altos de estigma anti-gay internalizado se correlacionan con una peor salud mental. La angustia psicológica puede incluir ansiedad, depresión, baja autoestima e hiperactivación, un estado de mayor tensión que incluye irritabilidad, ira y agresión.

Hoy en día, la lucha por firmar nuestras identidad gay es tan actual como lo fue en los escondidos bares de la post guerra en incluso los de los tiempos de Stonewall in New York en los 50’s y 60’s por eso, ahora mas que nunca tenemos la responsabilidad de detener el acoso, y abrir nuestros corazones a las diferencias, no basta tolerar pero abrazar las diferencias, hacerlas nuestras para enriquecer el tapizado de la humanidad. Cuando viajamos conocemos nuevas gentes, nuevas comidas, pero si no nos traemos nada de esos lugares a casa, es como ir al zoológico y solo mirar y admirar, para luego dejar altas la experiencia y hacerla ajena, lejana y nunca parte de nuestro diario devenir.

Vemos que aunque mucha agua ha pasado por debajo del puente desde la primera marcha en 1976, de las lesbianas en motos(dykes-on-bykes) en San Francisco, mi antigua casa donde disfrute +20 años de libertad y autodeterminación, todavía usamos  términos para intimidar a otros: Dyke Queer Maricón. Las burlas han salido de las lenguas de los matones, pero hemos reclamado las palabras en sus propios términos y continuamos una lista interminable de micro-agresiones contra aquellos cuyo único pecado es ser diferente a la mayoría. Pero si nos unimos todos quien es la mayoría, y cuál mayoría, y la de donde? . Es verdad que no hubo una declaración más fuerte que Dykes en Bikes–el  grupo que dirigió formalmente el desfile del Orgullo de San Francisco en 1976– y se  trasladó al frente para que las máquinas pudieran pasear a los caminantes, pero cierta historia precede a esa presencia. Cuando las mujeres se ofrecieron como voluntarias en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, tomaron trabajos tradicionalmente reservados para hombres. La literatura lésbica vinculaba a las mujeres y las motocicletas, y los carteles de reclutamiento exudaban el clásico estilo butch de la época. Las mujeres hemos estado en la vanguardia de muchos de los cambios que hemos visto crecer durante la historia de la humanidad, y quizás este sea el tiempo para usar mas de las herramientas femeninas del poder, la sabiduría, y el aspecto enriquecedor y nutritivo para enseñar a nuestros hijos e hijas, hermanos y hermanas que hay otra manera de vivir.

Por otra parte, veo con placer que en mi nueva casa, a pesar del lio politico, se refuerza que esta región es tierra de tolerancia y de libertades individuales, han escogido las festividades de San Narciso en Gerona para inaugurar la primera las publica par la comunidad LBTI.  Catalunya, es uno de los territorios pioneros en la integración del colectivo LGBTI y en promover leyes contra la homofobia y la discriminación. Cataluña da la bienvenida a gays, lesbianas, bisexuales y transexuales, en una parte pues reconocen el poder adquisitivo y el impacto turístico de dicha comunidad, pero aun con el debido sarcasmo, quizás  lo hacen también por sensibilidad y tradición “… Cataluña “es tu casa”, como dice la canción, “si es que hay casas que son de alguien”.

Si mis amigas y amigos, mucha agua ha corrido bajo los puentes y vemos nuevas actitudes pero bajo la solapa, la tolerancia  a medias se descubre sin raspar mucho la superficie. Son muchas las ciudades que se declaran “gay-friendly” o abiertas a los miembros de la comunidad LGBTI, pero aun así, encontramos  las dobles caras, como esta en Montevideo, Uruguay donde nos dejan saber, que somos aceptados mientras no demostremos nuestro afecto to una a la otra en publico (demostraciones publicas de afecto gay –en inglés se le conoce como Gay PDA = Public Display of Affection). Todos lo vemos y lo sabemos, pero rara vez hablamos de ello: el estigma en torno a las demostraciones públicas de afecto entre parejas del mismo sexo. Como compañera lesbiana, me parece triste y frustrante que la comunidad LGBTQ + sienta que tienen que ocultar su amor y afecto mutuo. ¿Por qué alguien debería sentir que no puede besarse o tomarse de la mano de su pareja en público? Desafortunadamente, hay varias razones por las cuales esto está sucediendo

Aunque algunas encuestas muestran adverso moral en base, a cualquier demostración de afecto en publico, los números incrementan cuando se tratan de parejas delmismo sexo. Una encuesta hecha por Poll PDA Gay – Eonline hacia las demostraciones de afecto en público independientemente sean gay o no y ante la pregunta” Le dan mas asco las demostraciones de afecto en publico de las parejas gay que las de los hetero?se encontraron los siguientes resultados.

  • 16.7% Si, admito que los lenguados de parejas del mismo sexo me hacen brincar el estomago
  • 28.8% No: La batalla de “espadas de saliva” no me molesta, gay o hetero
  • 54.5% Ni lo uno o lo otro: Odio cualquier PDA en general y me gust aria que la prohibieran.

No puedo negar mi sorpresa con las respuestas del 54.5% de personas entrevistadas por la encuesta Eonline donde desaprueban cualquier gesto de afecto en publico. En este momento cuando el mundo esta colapsando en muchos sentidos, los partidos politicos no logran agrupar cohesivamente a sus partidarios, y la tierra sufre por nuestra irresponsabilidad y falta de buentrato, es mucho lo que debemos hacer y demostrar afecto de cualquier manera pudiera ser una respuesta.  No importa si  mas y mas gobiernos instituyen leyes que protegen el matrimoio del mismo sexo, la adopción para parejas gay, y hasta los mas conservadores como países Asiáticos han abierto la puerta ha la aceptación, tolerancia y reconocimiento de diferente individualidades si no nos comprometemos como individuos a acabar el odio y la segregación, debemos hacer mas. Todavía resuena en el aire la frase enunciada en Mayo 2019 por la presidenta the Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, quien alegre de apoyar la ley de reconocimiento de matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo, dijera a los diputados, “…tenemos una oportunidad de hacer historia y mostrarle al mundo que los valores progresistas pueden arraigar en las sociedades de Asia Oriental… y mostrar al mundo que el amor gana”.

Junto con legislaciones políticas y edictos gubernamentales, debemos buscar en el fondo de nuestros corazones y revisar nuestros mitos y prejuicios pues después de todo las comunidades no son mas que la suma de individuos, a veces llenos de miedo y paranoia que vemos a los nuevos, los diferentes, gays, inmigrantes, refugiados como enemigos que nos contaminaran de algo horrendo o nos quitaran algo que es solo nuestro. Todos tenemos derecho a vivir en esta tierra, a existir y a hacer uso de nuestros derechos y si lo hacemos juntos, es mejor.

Sigamos luchando,  por cambiar lo que es inaceptable y como la activista y profesora Norte Americana, Angela Davis dice:

NO ESTOY ACEPTANDO LAS COSAS QUE NO PUEDO CAMBIAR, ESTOY CAMBIANDO LAS COSAS QUE NO PUEDO ACEPTAR


The dark side of the Internet for LGBT people

 No doubt that the use of the internet is very easy, efficient, and convenient. Nonetheless, the use of the internet has been utterly transformed in many ways, but improvements in search technology by Google, Kosmix and others have only begun to plumb the deep web. “A hidden web”

Open or hidden, the web has its pros and cons and minorities, vulnerable people, like children, youth, and others are easy to pray. Professionals at VpN mentor had conducted research on how much LGBT people are bullied online.

They state that along with the benefits of the internet, “the internet can also be an intimidating and dangerous place. Just read the comments on any viral social media post and you’ll see a slew of insults and misdirected aggression. Considering the fact that a large portion of these hateful comments includes homophobic and sometimes even biphobic slurs, the internet is especially threatening to the LGBTQ+ community.

According to their study, “…According to our study, 73% of LGBTQ+ people have reported being personally attacked or harassed online…”

Read the whole article and see the different data and how to stay safe online Here

 


Ageism and Sexism

We Need A New Paradigm for Old-er Women.

Ageism

I was stunned when Debbie—my 67-yer-old client, who has one Ph.D. in American history and a JD—told me that her contract as full-time faculty at a local law school had not been renewed. She is vivacious, energetic, intelligent, and adored by her students. I asked immediately, why? She has always told me she was on the “retire-at-85” plan and as far as I knew, Academia is supposed to be a world of respect and knowledge; a place where attaining knowledge and wisdom are regarded as the ultimate achievements. Nonetheless, Debbie told me she was forced into retirement! Debbie had spent 25 years of her life as a professor for several graduate and law schools, during which time she had received many awards for research and groundbreaking work. Now, she said “retirement has been forced on me, and my courses have been assigned to young-er faculty members, who are less expensive. For the first time, I have faced ageism as never before, and it is not a theoretical concept, anymore. It is real.” She, too, was shocked.

Yes indeed, ageism –although an old paradigm—is still in full force, current and pervasive permeating all layers of our society. Perhaps it is time to kick this new old paradigm with its ill-fated consequences for our society’s well-being to the curb and embrace a different more optimistic, engaging, and active paradigm of aging: one that does not fear aging but embrace it as a very meaningful and with a great potential phase of life.

Sexism

Like we did not have enough with the ageism in our culture, we also need to face Sexism.  The prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, against women, on the basis of sex, is a fact very well known on all fronts of society and affects women of all walks of life. Instances of sexism are experienced by our mothers, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, and all women and girls around the world. It is one of those phenomena would like to have the exclusivity of it but it is not like that. It is pervasive and perverse all around the world.

Sexism is based on the prejudice and extensive generalization that there is something faulty in women and it continues to impede women from their rights to grow and thrive in our society. Perhaps we are not as pretty and firm as we were when young-er but seasoned –or spicy, hot women—had fought for equality, diversity, had raised their self-esteem, run for public office. They have shaved off their internalized ageism and are ready to venture into new characters, created new connections, and created a new wave of accomplished women who give us the inspiration we need to live as first-class citizens and make our golden years shine and count, and do what needs to be done.

Not all of us get to that place and nevertheless, it is worth trying. A place where we can branch out, revolt, or go quietly happily ever after about life. Whatever works for you do it with gusto! Let’s this new woman be at the top of the hill and not over the hill. She can change her image of a raggedy crone to the one of mentor. to be proud and loud.

As many of us who are undertaking the journey through the uncharted land, we become pioneers with no maps but following our moral compass to be the best we can be. Being the eternal optimistic and positive thinker, she is, at 80 Ms. Steinem finds herself more productive and at peace than ever.  “…A dwindling libido, she theorized, can be a terrific advantage: “The brain cells that used to be obsessed are now free for all kinds of great things…” 


Preparing Your Home for Alzheimer’s: Tips and Advice for Caregivers

When caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia, the safety around the home is a very important issue. Caregivers, here you can find some tips and advice in regards to keeping your home safe.

Some Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease

Today,  about 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the majority of them being aged 65 or older. Safety at home is a very critical issue when caregiving for somebody with Alzheimer’s disease. Safe at Home is the key. Progressive Alzheimer’s disease makes it impossible for people with it to take care of themselves. Many of them require care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In order to make that possible, many people with Alzheimer’s move into a loved one’s home for caregiving.

Alzheimer’s disease is a severe form of dementia associated with memory loss as well as the loss of other cognitive abilities. The symptoms can be serious enough to eventually interfere with daily life. If a person is experiencing Alzheimer’s, you may start to notice:

  • Changes in personality and interests.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Problems concentrating and general cognitive struggles.
  • Long-term and short-term memory loss.
  • Confusion with places, people, and timing.
  • The inability to complete tasks that require sequential steps, such as getting dressed or making a meal.

Caregiving for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is not easy. It’s difficult to watch people you love deteriorate and grow unable to do even the simplest things they used to enjoy. However, taking in people with Alzheimer’s gives them the opportunity to spend the rest of their lives surrounded by the people who love them while enjoying comfort and care. In order to make your home as safe as possible for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll want to make a few preparations around the house.

Their Private Room: A Place to Escape

One of the utmost important things about caregiving for people with Alzheimer’s is preserving their dignity and showing them respect. Loved ones need a room of their own where they can have privacy and a place where they can escape the noise and confusion of outside. Their room should be safe, comfortable, and easy for them to move around in. Provide them with all the things they love whether it is a stereo for music, books, blankets, or a television. Remove hazardous decorations that can break or shatter upon impact. It’s also helpful to give them a room on the first floor near a bathroom for accessibility.

Bathroom & Kitchen Safety

The bathroom and kitchen are the most dangerous rooms in the house. If you are taking in Alzheimer’s patients for the long term, it may behoove you to accommodate these rooms for them with a remodel. To do this, you have to take cost into consideration. For instance, the average cost to remodel a kitchen is $19,589. There are several ways to modify your kitchen for safety. Considering the amount of dangerous tools and materials in the kitchen, locks on drawers and cabinets containing these things can prevent loved ones from hurting themselves. Some people also put locks on the refrigerator as the disease progresses. If the room contains steps or stairs, a safety ramp with rails to hold on to can help your loved one navigate the area safely.

When changing your bathroom, it’s important to make it accessible for loved ones while reducing hazards that can lead to a fall. Grab bars or side bars near the toilet and tub can help them get up and down safely and with ease. Label all water faucets clearly so they know which one controls hot and which controls cold. A scalding burn can be a devastating injury. Finally, make liberal use of non-slip mats, stools or chairs, and lighting.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who takes in loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll need to prepare your home to make a safe, comfortable environment. Providing them their own room is paramount; it’s important to respect their privacy and preserve their dignity. You may also want to consider making renovations or modifications in the kitchen and bathroom. These rooms are important but contain plenty of hazards you want to avoid.


Older’s American Month: Age Out Loud

Each May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads our nation’s celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM). ACL designed the 2017 OAM theme, Age Out Loud, to give aging a new voice—one that reflects what today’s older adults have to say.

This theme shines a light on many important trends. More than ever before, older Americans are working longer, trying new things, and engaging in their communities. They’re taking charge, striving for wellness, focusing on independence, and advocating for themselves and others. What it means to age has changed, and OAM 2017 is a perfect opportunity to recognize and celebrate what getting older looks like today.

Marianne Gontarz York, portraits one of our older Americans who live and age out loud. She says on the Newsletter of the Marin County Commission on Aging “…There is no one I can think of who exemplifies this more than Barbara Borden… a 71 year old drummer [who] has lived her life out loud” Read More

Forbes published that according to the Administration on Aging (AoA), to Age Out Loud means “having the freedom to live with dignity, choice, and opportunities.” … and they comment on 10 Ways All Ages Can celebrate Older Americans.

    1. Talk to older people everywhere. Find out what they have to say. Learn about their experiences. Interview people in your community who exemplify what it means to Age Out Loud. Gather a mix of individuals, such as older public servants, elder rights advocates, back-to-schoolers, moms and grandmas, athletes, authors, retired professional people who broke barriers or people trying new careers. Everyone has a story. Share your interviews through written pieces or videos.
    2. Arrange for older adults to share or read stories in a workshop or for a “Senior Day” at a local school. Find out about older adults reading books to children at a local library.
    3. Teachers and others, help local school students set up interviews with residents of a retirement community, assisted living community or nursing home, and write short biographies for a school assignment. Plan a program for wherein the students would read aloud their stories. Invite families of students and seniors and even the media to attend.
    4. Ask your older followers and friends on social media to share their wisdom, tips and stories online. You can use a unique hashtag or post to a page or forum you create or manage.
    5. Arrange a celebratory event with a community leader or keynote speaker from your community. Invite community members to a special event celebrating older Americans. It could be a sit-down meal, a networking gathering or a special program like a storytelling or talent show. Plan activities that will result in proceeds like those from a raffle, and donate the funds to a local charity or program or agency that supports older adults.
    6. Plan a volunteer event for older adults who want to give back. The purpose could be anything from picking up litter or gardening in public areas to collecting clothing and food donations for those in need. If you need ideas visit Serve.gov.  If resources are available, create matching volunteer t-shirts that say “Age Out Loud!” This creates a sense of unity and raises awareness among those who see your group volunteering.
    7. Coordinate an education event like a resource fair, class, workshop or lecture a topic covered by this year’s theme. The gathering could hone in on self-expression with activities like painting, acting and singing or focus on maintaining health and independence with a yoga or strength training class. Nutrition tips can be added to any wellness event. Consider teaching a group about self-advocacy, technology or starting a new career.
    8. Help an older person gather family photos and make an album or scrapbook about their life and the legacy they will leave.
    9. Consider participating in a life review project such as The UMSL Life Review Project at the University of Missouri – at St. Louis, where Dr. Tom Meuser, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, applied gerontologist, and director of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Gerontology Graduate Program is recruiting older adults and their adult children in pairs to either be interviewed or complete questionnaires in support of his research. He will be recruiting through July 2017 and welcomes participants to contact him by email at meusert@umsl.edu to volunteer or learn more. The project flyer can be found at here. https://sites.google.com/a/umsl.edu/legacy-project/home.
    10. And finally, simply spend time with an older person, no matter what age you are. Chances are you can learn a lot from them and vice versa. Read the article

Ways for Seniors to Improve Mental and Physical Health

Easy Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy

In a time where daily stress is almost a given, it’s important for us to take care of ourselves.

Seniors, especially, need to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety as well as ways to actively improve physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that, and most of them are more simple than you might think. Here are a few of the best.

Engage in daily exercise

Exercise is important for everyone, but for individuals over the age of 50, it’s imperative. Getting in at least thirty minutes of workout time every day will help improve your mood and overall health, and it might be a good way to socialize, as well. Start a walking group with friends or neighbors, or invite your spouse or coworker to a swim aerobics class. Having someone to talk to will make you look forward to working out rather than dreading it.

Consider a pet

If you don’t already have a pet, consider getting a dog or cat. Animals can help reduce anxiety and even lower blood pressure, and they are wonderful companions. Dogs are also great motivators on days when you don’t feel like exercising, because they’ll always be up for a walk!

Stay in touch

When life gets hectic, we sometimes forget to stay in touch with loved ones. Make it a point to sit down and write a letter to someone you care about, or give them a call. Set aside time on a specific day every week to do it so you’ll have no trouble remembering.

Eat well

Your diet can have a very specific impact on your health and how you feel, so make sure you’re not overloading on refined sugars and carbs, which can make you feel sluggish. Lots of leafy greens, fish, nuts, and fresh fruit will go a long way toward helping you feel better in every way.

Get some rest

You might think you’re getting enough sleep, but if you feel tired all day it’s possible you need to take another look at your habits. Are you lying awake for a long time at night? Taking long naps during the day? Try staying away from the television, computer, or smartphone for an hour or two before bedtime. Instead, read a book or take a long hot shower. Get yourself relaxed before bed to ensure you’ll sleep and feel rested when you get up.

Get creative

For retirees, especially, the days can seem long and uninspired. If you find yourself feeling unfulfilled, try a new hobby. Get creative and take up a painting class, or try gardening or woodworking. Allowing yourself to create things and try something new will open up a whole new world, and you may just find happiness there.

Staying active and keeping your mind healthy and alert will ensure you’ll be feeling good and ready to tackle anything, no matter what your age is.


Aging Women: From Crone to Mentor

Copyright: Aaron Amat

After fighting for equal rights and against negative stereotypes, baby-boomer women find themselves in a society that obsessively worships youth and relegates its seniors to second-class status. Baby boomer women grew up around the fighting of the feminist movement in the sixties and seventies; many were feisty revolutionaries.

In the eighties, the message to them was to embrace the inner Goddess within. Now in their golden years, they imagine a new role as sage, which will help them obtain the freedom they have been chasing since their youth. But what is this new role?  What if wisdom is lacking? Where then do they find meaning in their lives?

We question how the women’s movement has affected women of age. The women who took what they learned as activists in the civil rights movement and applied it to the rampant sexism of the civil-rights and black-power movements – who participated in the first sweeping consciousness-raising process that Bettina Aptheker called “learning to name our oppression” – these women are still too young to have been included in Coming of Age.

But that phase of the women’s movement spawned two generations of equal rights, abortion rights, lesbian and gay rights, anti-ageism, and AIDS activists; a devoted, beleaguered army of caretakers of abused women and children in the shelter movement; and labor groups such as the CLUW and Women in the Trades, to name only a few “special interest” groups. Many old women, someplace along the line, have been affected by those struggles, as I was, and by the huge body of songs, poems, essays, and visual art that celebrates them, as I was.

Elderly women today face personal challenges, triggering some profound questions–among them: What is their role as they age? Reproduction is no longer a goal; nor is raising children. If they had a career, it is in the past, or nearly so. Traditional roles for midlife or older women, such as caring for grandchildren or caregiving for a husband or other family member–are still common for women. These limited identities may be difficult to bear for those who spent a lifetime trying to make a difference.

To those old ones who still do battle with dragons [1]

The “aging” woman, with her dry skin and wrinkled body, does not represent the pretty, sexy, vital, or accomplished; she is considered to be in her dimmed time. Jungian psychotherapist and author Jean Shinoda Bolen have said, “In a youth-oriented patriarchy, especially, to become an older woman is to become invisible: a nonentity.” Or, as historian Bettina Aptheker[2] recently said of older people, especially women, “We’re either invisible, or we’re in the way.” What’s the future for this woman? What role should aging women play in our society?

Food for thought!

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[1] Studs Terkel. In Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It. St. Martin’s Press; 1st St. Martin’s Griffin Ed edition (September 1996)

[2] May 8, 2008: Bettina Aptheker on Feminism and Ageism. A public lecture at Pacific Institute. San Francisco.


Time to Continue the Fight

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 2.03.02 PMWe know last night didn’t go as many of us planned. We’re upset.We’re disappointed. And we’re heartbroken. But we aren’t giving up. We’re going to keep fighting. President Obama reminded us this morning that the most important thing we can do is move forward. He told us that “we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it.”Kate Kendall from the National Commission For Lesbian Rights said: “… By a slim margin, this nation has elected a demagogue who trafficked in bigotry, stoked racist hatred and normalized misogyny. The election of Donald Trump as President threatens basic principles of human dignity and justice… Many of our most cherished values—inclusion, honoring difference, embracing equality, dismantling oppressive systems—are in jeopardy, but we will not be deterred.

Kendell continues stressing that “…This is the moment we are called to resist. We are about to be tested as never before, and speaking for myself, and NCLR, we will not stand down, sit idle or be silent in the face of oppression, bullying or threat…”  Read More


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