Sunday, October 4, 2015

Aging Parents, Con-Artists, & Scams: Psychological & Monetary Consequences

Preventing Independent, Proud Elders From Feeling Foolish, and Ashamed, and Possibly impoverished
Most of us would quickly get rid of a scam email requesting we send money for a friend whose wallet was lost in London. No one wants to look/feel stupid--specially when intentions are the best. We'd recognize the scam immediately. But there's a more insidious ploy with serious consequences that I was unaware of until I read the just-received November issue of ConsumerReports. 

Scam artists and con (wo)men targeting seniors is not news. 

What is news is reading about the emotional damage to elders-- on top of financial loss. "A Crying Shame-Seniors and their families lose $3 billion a year to con artists. What can we do to stop them?" arrived in our mailbox Thursday. 

These scams/frauds are so carefully conceived and executed that it's easy to understand how aging parents--indeed all elders and possibly some of us kind-hearted souls--could be sucked in. But it's the emotional fall-out--that we're unaware of and is non-fiction reading here--that I find compelling.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Caring For Aging Parents--The Pope and Respected Financial News Sources Weigh In

                        Family Caregivers for their Aging Parents
                                are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Valuing "old people"--included in Pope Francis's speech--shouldn't have surprised me. "Old people." (At 78 is Pope Francis old?) Those words made an impact, while watching his presentations to Congress on TV, and again--while watching, I believe, his UN speech, on TV in New York.

And today I was told (by someone who hadn't read the article) that a high-respected financial weekly, Barron's, came out today promoting a "Caring For Aging Parents" article. Is this a coincidence? In any event, I was curious about its contents. ........................

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NYC's last 2 days have been filled with Pope Francis (less than 3 months until his 79th birthday). ......In the right place at the right time, I share this iPhone-taken-photo on a NYC side-street. IMG_4475
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Aging Parents: Cleaning Out Their Home After Death--The Plus-side

Past posts about cleaning out my parents' home--basically alone--after they died had one purpose: to offer the best, objective, helpful information, dismissing the emotional for the most part. They didn't emphasize the emotional benefits because I know well that one person's experience does not qualify as valid for many.

Recent events, however, make me think the emotional benefit for me, could be many people's experience, although they're unaware. Left alone in one's growing-up home with things and memories --and a lot of work seems overwhelming! That said, looking back, it was one of the most precious gifts one can have if we're fortunate enough to be cast into this position.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Aging Parents: A Perfect Birthday Party for an Elderly Woman (96)

First, the background for the most perfect and meaningful birthday celebration I ever attended.

She mentioned the old days with obvious nostalgia, when women were invited to people’s homes for luncheons and teas. The younger woman, B, listened intently. The older woman described how special it was–the friendliness, the sharing, the carefully-planned and prepared food.

The sincerity and vivid recollection made an impact on the younger woman, whose lifestyle included a thirteen-year-old, two college-aged children, and her two difficult aging parents.

The older woman was Sr. Advisor, R, my m-i-l, a remarkable woman whose wisdom, sayings, diet, and way of living life have  provided material for many posts. Recalling times gone by and their sweet moments, these recollections still brought R happiness–more than half a century later. B was moved by the conversation.


R didn’t want a celebration for her 95th birthday. This year was different. B, in her 40’s, planned a 96th birthday luncheon. 11 guests (ages 13-96). The hostess’s 13-year-old daughter wanted to be there as did her 25-year-old sister (with a recent ankle fracture).

The large dining room table, beautifully set, was extended to seat all the guests.....

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Aging Parents' Hygiene--Do Old People Smell?

          ...and if a person smells, how do you tell him/her?

Last week "The Truth about 'Old People Smell,'" awaited me in my gmail. Coincidentally I had just posted about how often elders should bathe so I was curious about "the truth."  In the end I was left wondering.

What I'm not wondering about is the importance of proper hygiene for elders. Well-respected, documented research confirms connections with others are essential in aging well and I daresay people who are smelly don't attract others. 

This brings up the importance of doing the awkward favor: informing someone you care about that he or she smells (or whatever)....and the dilemma:                                       

What to say. How to say it.

 *     *     *

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Help Aging Parents: Maintaining Mobility into Old, Old Age-The Dangers of Sitting Too Much

                                  Walk More. Sit Less
How limiting is life for those with curtailed mobility?

Look around…so many people with canes and walkers as our population ages. Based on the Tufts U. publication–reprinted below–it seems their numbers would lessen if the elderly couch potatoes we care about (as well as those of us who now spend hours sitting at a desk), make it a point to take breaks for a brief walk. What could be easier?

The importance of older peoples’ walking is nothing new to longtime readers of my blog.  “If you begin a daily walking program at age 45, you could delay immobility to 90 and beyond. If you become a couch potato at 45 and remain so, immobility can encroach as early as 60.” So says Mark Lachs, author of Treat Me, Not My Age.  

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Aging Parents--Summer Heat: How Often Should Elderly People Bathe?

Summer heat makes daily showering/bathing a necessity for many. But what about  elderly people's more fragile skin?

I remember my Dad's talking about his oldest sister--in her early 90's. She had recently moved to assisted living and her daughters (Dad's nieces) had complained to him that she was only allowed to shower once--or twice (I've forgotten--it was many years ago) a week. I was young then; no doubt overheard the conversation and found it strange.

One wonders if assisted-living administrators require their "residents" to have an aide assist them when bathing or showering?  And/or is the two-day-a-week bathing/showering limit to save money and time? Or is it better for elderly skin not to have too much soap and water exposure?

Sr. Advisor D, now 90,  to the rescue. She went for her annual dermatologist appointment recently and put the question to her dermatologist--a well-known "Top Doc" in Westchester County (NY), who said in essence:

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