Sunday, December 27, 2015


First posted in 2009--with variations each year Sharing with Santa
The words and melody from the radio filled my car. A winter wonderland was outside. Kids, amid shrieks of laughter and merriment, were sledding down the hill at the high school on anything large enough to sit on. I'm certain school vacation is adding to this happiest of times. 

My counseling background kicks in. I know that holidays aren't the happiest of times for many old people. So I decide to phone some elderly friends, simply to say "hello" and ask "how are you?"  

Let me share what I learned-- 

It's the happiest time of the year for children-- who have none of the responsibilities of adulthood. 

It's the happiest time when elders and younger family members can be together--feeling the warmth--sharing, and reminiscing. The excitement of the children and grandchildren provides a background of energy and optimism. 

 And yet-- "The holidays are a time when our mind drifts back to past Christmases that were happy times. It's a sentimental time," recalls one 80-year-old widow. "It's a wonderful time when families can get together, yet a lot of people are completely alone. As people get older, they have experienced losses. Especially for those who've lost their mates, other people's happiness can be a reminder of the losses we've incurred. We're just more vulnerable to that kind of thing when we get older."

To view entire post please visit my other site

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Christmas Welcome

 VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS from Help! Aging Parents..

...And a reminder of how much a simple phone call means to a lonesome, frail or isolated elderly person today...or any day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Protecting (not Parenting) Aging Parents--At Holiday Time, Any Time

 "We're like the flotsam and the jetsam, we're not needed any more."
                      Willy, a retired, elderly physician-friend of Dad's

Parenting mentally capable parents who have slowed down seems very wrong. Yet one aspect of parenting, protecting, seems completely justified for both young and old.

We protect those at both ends of the life cycle from danger. Are we aware that we also protect children's believing and that protecting elders' believing can be beneficial for old people too?

Believing comes naturally to children. Don't they believe all things are possible? Yet the realities of life dim that optimism in many as they age, and the retired physician's quote above is a feeling a lot of old people share.

To view entire post please visit my other site.

2 Santas

Monday, December 14, 2015

Favorite Gift for My 90+-year-old Widowed Dad (on New Year's Day)

As I look back over all the creative, innovative gifts/vacations etc. we arranged for our parents, to me this was close to--if not--the best. Why?

It provided Dad connections with contemporaries, fun, little work, and not much expense. It seemed even better to me because I was a far-away living child--always wanting to make the most of the time I had with my aging parents. At the last minute I had the gift idea and followed through on it before I lost my nerve.

To view entire post please visit my other site

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Aging Parents: How Often Do Grandparents Say Grandchildren Are The Best Gift?


How many older people have become Facebook users as a way to stay connected with grandchildren?

Since studies show that connections with others are one of the most important factors in aging well, how fortunate that technology now makes this easier. As we think about holiday gifts for elders who are grandparents--think GRANDCHILDREN.

Clearly the ad agencies understand this! Indeed, a current TV ad features a sweet, kind-looking, elderly gentleman, sitting in a chair, proudly telling the world he has a (named) brand of technology so that now he can keep in touch with his grandson. Obviously ad agencies have compiled data showing what appeals to the majority.

This post could be very short, simply suggesting that we use our imaginations, understanding that any gift that provides a connection to grandchildren is what the majority of grandparents want. That said, here are broad examples......

 ....To read entire post, please go to my other site.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reflections on Thanksgiving and the Circle of Life

This is one of the few times in decades that Thanksgiving dinner has not been at our home. Now that Sr. Advisor R has died, the celebration has passed to the younger generation (in their 40's). 

"Every twist of the  kaleidoscope moves us all in turn."--Elton John

 To view entire post please visit my other site

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Outsmarting Toilet-paper-lacking and/or Seat-cover-deficient stalls in Women's Restrooms

How often have we found ourselves waiting in a long, slow line for the Ladies' Restroom--then finally entering a vacated stall that is unacceptable or even disgusting? And how extra-bad is it if our aging--or old--mother or grandmother is with us and must deal with it too? 

A friend (I think) just said: "Your blog on a practical, less-than-tasty subject treats it with good taste, I think."  

There is a solution. To view entire post, please visit my other site

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating Veteran's Day 2015

Honoring Those Who Served ~ 5th Avenue New York City

Again we honor those who serve, have served,
and made the ultimate sacrifice. 

We also learn that ongoing research focusing on the "transition of veterans from military to civilian life," is underway at Teachers College, Columbia U.  Today's just-received email, Beyond PTSD: Exploring the stresses of veterans’ transition back to civilian life gives details about the newly established Resilience Center for Veterans & Families.

 Also check out this short, well-done, video that spans the generations--grandfather,  grandsons and those in between. It caught my attention this year.

To view entire post, please visit my other site.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Help Aging Parents--Hospice: Why Wait To Call?

                         Call Hospice for Your Mom!

I meddled! A former neighbor sounded awful when I phoned the other night. She's very old; has had cancer successfully treated over decades, but it sounds like the end may be near. There's no "maybe" about the pain she says she has had for some time.  There's an aide with her 24/7 so I didn't think hospice was involved, although it sounded like they should be.

Bottom line: Calling hospice--or suggesting someone contact hospice--may be uncomfortable. But calling sooner--rather than later--offers professional, appropriate comfort to patient and family and a better chance for a satisfying ending. So many have said "I wish I'd called hospice sooner."

To read entire post, please go to my other site.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Help Aging Parents: Halloween in New York City


Halloween decor and costumed kiddies holding their parents' hands are ever-present in NYC today. For young and old who are mobile, the side-streets of NY offer everything--except the inflatables seen on front yards in the suburbs.

The ghoulish and creepy displays on the upper eastside--just a block east of Central Park made the news. Very young, pushed in strollers by parents (and often accompanied by their dogs), and those older who could walk, stopped to view the spooky surroundings. We share some here--

 Please go to my other site to view entire post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What 90-year-olds Want From Doctors

 "Look at older patients instead of typing notes into a computer, take more time with them and answer their questions..."

Case Western Reserve Medical School recently held its annual panel discussion, "Life Over 90,"  for their 2nd-year-medical students. The 90+-year-old panel members shared experience and advice--equally instructive for anyone whose elderly loved ones go to doctors. And isn't that  true for everyone?

To view entire post please visit my other site

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gifting Easily-decorated Halloween Pumpkins with Flowers and Whimsey Lifts Spirits of Aging Parents and Care Center Elders

IMG_46312015 Pumpkins for Elders 

Pumpkins with interesting stems and the potential for whimsey make uplifting October gifts. And once again they've been given to older people this past week, the oldest being 97-year-old J.

To view entire post please visit my other site

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Help Older Women Look Good: Fashionistas (67-93) and Aging Mothers

NY Fashion Week 2015 Shows Style is Ageless*
Look Better, Feel Better

Women  aged 77 and 90--- runway models? Here Wilma and Phyllis model
 at NY Fashion Week 2015

Past posts (Fashionistas or Frumpy-Dumpies) have addressed women's appearance over the years. Clearly older women can look very good! And why not? Life has changed for women since the olden days and NY recognized this during Fashion Week last month.
Senior Advisor R always looked in order and Senior Advisor D, at 90, still looks stylish--not runway stylish--but in style. How do they do it? It's not the money spent--rather  it's THE FIT and the time, energy, and desire to look good.

To view entire post please visit my other site

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.

To read entire post please visit my other site

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. ........................

 Please visit my other site to view entire post.

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
To read entire post, please go to my other site

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.

To view entire post, please visit my other site

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.....

 To view entire post, please visit my other site

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.

 *     *     *

                          to view entire post, please go to my other site.

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.  

                To view entire post, please visit my other site

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:

To view entire post, please go to my other site

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cleaning Out Elderly Parents' Home After Death: 7 Tips--Part 2 Efficiency, Emotional Considerations


Phase 5. Cleaning Out--Unwanted Books and Valuables. In both homes there were unwanted things that we thought had value. In most cases, upon checking, the value was far less than we thought.

I don't know how "value" affects the donation slips nonprofit organizations willingly provide, where we are responsible for writing in the value of each item. I somehow have wondered for many years how the IRS looks at that.

I do know, since we didn't live close to our parents, keeping unwanted inherited stuff takes up room, can be costly to store or ship. Thus we usually gave it away in hopes someone else or a nonprofit would appreciate it. (Didn't bother with the donation slip.)

Some of my parents' books had religious themes. I took those to the care facility run by the religious institution. They were grateful to have them. Since the famous Powell's Book Store was close, I took some books there. However, carrying heavy books for the small amount of money they generated, wasn't worth it to me. (Powell's link says they cover freight costs.)

To view entire post, please go to my other site

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cleaning Out Elderly Parents' Homes AFTER death or moving--Part 1

Family Photos and Memorabilia Two family homes cleaned out in 12 months. Whether this makes me an expert at emptying elderly parents' homes is questionable; but I am experienced and more efficient. Here's what I've learned:

To read entire post please go to my other site

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Aging Parents: How One Elder Lived Independently, Alone and Well To 101--Part 2

Our Role in Combating Social Isolation

As those we care about enter old age, we tend to visit them--in their home; in assisted living; in a rehab center--or nursing home if allowed. Why not make the effort to take them out and give them a change of scenery? Otherwise, doesn't our visit usually go something like this: We visit. We make conversation. They listen and respond. They remain in place. We leave.

It's easier for us for many reasons, but is it better for them? Taking them out provides:

To view entire post please go to my other site.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Aging Parents: How One Elder Lived Independently, Alone and Well To 101--Part 1

Aging Alone and Well. Defying the Statistics

"Do you like being alone?"  This question begins "A Solitary Life Carries Risk" in the NY Times "Well" section. I'd saved it since March. While it's aimed at us, based on research following around 3.4 million people over 7 years, it concludes “Although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, physical health is not among them.” Indeed the lead researcher says  “Social isolation significantly predicts risk for premature mortality comparable to other well established risk factors."

If married or with a partner, it's inevitable one of us will be left alone. How did Sr. Advisor R, who lived alone since being widowed at 50, defy these sobering statistics? A simplistic answer could be that she maintained social connections, which all studies have found is important in aging well. That said, here's the additional--

To view entire post please go to my other site

Monday, July 27, 2015

Aging Parents and You: Tips for Getting Reimbursed When Doctors Don't Take Medicare--the Form. Part 2

Filling Out The "Patient's Request for Medical Payment Form"

         Read important updates when link to "other site" below is clicked--
            some changes added in red to original text here
Your doctor doesn't "take" Medicare. He or she has opted out. You have Medicare Part B coverage. You've paid your bill. You should have been given a copy of the bill along with a copy of your doctor's letter, signed and dated, this includes date of service as well as the date your doctor declined Medicare participation.  

However, at bottom of last paragraph on opt-out form (easy to miss when reading the long paragraphs) there's a place for patient's signature. If you sign it, you've agreed not to take Medicare reimbursement. It may not impact secondary insurance, but you may need to apply directly to secondary insurer. Also some secondary insurance policies are tied to Medicare's approving benefits. So CHECK WITH YOUR SECONDARY INSURER.  

Now it's time to file for your reimbursement. My understanding is that one can file up to a year after the date after the medical service--ie. 7/7/14-7/7/15. But why wait so long?

The following gives the best chance to succeed on the first try. Also remember if you have secondary coverage, Medicare will forward the necessary information to them when you check that box. If Medicare declines reimbursement their declining will be on the forwarded form so CHECK as stated above.

To view entire post please visit my other site

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Aging Parents and You: Tips for Getting Reimbursed When Doctors Don't Take Medicare. Part 1

Some doctors don't "take" Medicare.
Read important updates when "other site" link below is clicked--some changes added in red to original text here

They've chosen to be excluded from Medicare Program participation.
Nevertheless, people with Part B Medicare coverage can submit
claims forms directly to  Medicare for reimbursement from these doctors, regardless of a doctor's Medicare affiliation, IF THEY DON'T SIGN WHERE IT SAYS "PATIENTS SIGNATURE" at bottom of last paragraph on opt-out form.
It's easy to miss this when reading the long paragraphs. If you sign it, you've agreed not to take Medicare reimbursement. It may not impact secondary insurance, but you may need to apply directly to secondary insurer. Also some secondary insurance policies are tied to Medicare's approving benefits. So CHECK WITH YOUR SECONDARY INSURER. It just entails a bit more work from you/your parents if you're submitting.

Helping parents age well clearly includes their healthcare. And no doubt many parents have Medicare coverage, using doctors who "take" Medicare and do the paperwork so Medicare can reimburse. And this works pretty well.
Understand what happens when a parent with Medicare coverage uses a doctor who has opted out of Medicare Program participation and thus, doesn't "take" Medicare? Some doctors in NY and probably other large cities have decided to be excluded from Medicare participation.

To view entire post please go to my other site

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

US News Best Hospitals 2015-16 Ranks Mayo Clinic (Rochester) #1 in Geriatrics

     Massachusetts General Hospital-courtesy Mass General
    Massachusetts General Hospital [Massachusetts General]

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is ranked #1 Hospital in US News's Best Hospitals 2015-16 issue, published July 21st.

In Geriatrics Mayo Clinic in Rochester (not to be confused with their other sites) ranked #1, followed by  UCLA Medical Center (Calif.) #2; Mt. Sinai (NYC) #3; Massachusetts General (Boston) #4; and Johns Hopkins (Maryland) #5

How is this information helpful?

  To view entire post please visit my other site

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Aging Parents and Elders: Traveling Alone--Air Travel

My aunt Millie (Dad’s sister) died in Oregon, 3 months short of her 100th birthday.  Dad, who was 91, was on the next morning’s flight from California to Oregon–alone. To backtrack–

My husband and I were in California for my high school reunion. I stayed on after the pre-reunion dinner while my husband drove my dad and a classmate’s 98-year-old mother back to where they were staying. They were met by news of Aunt Millie’s death.

My husband, a man of responsible action, immediately made a plane reservation for Dad to fly to Oregon to join his family the next morning. Dad had already begun packing his small case by the time I came in.

While that seemed logical to us, it astonished our friends. They were aghast at the fact we were “letting” Dad fly by himself at his age. We never gave it a second thought. Were we in denial?

To view entire post please visit my other site  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Airports /Travel for Aging Parents and Elders Traveling Alone: Happy or Pain Producing? 2015--Part 2

Old People Can Fly Alone. My Octogenarian Parents Did; so did my MIL at age 98.
But navigating the airport is stressful.

What stresses seniors (and many younger travelers)--at airports? There's a certain tension connected with flying today. Excluding fear of flying, it includes 7 stressors:

To view entire post please visit my other site

Saturday, July 4, 2015


INDEPENDENCE DAY, JULY 4TH--hard  won, as history shows

As we strive to help elders age well, aren't we also reminded of how important independence is to each individual throughout a lifetime.
*  *  *

Will post Sunday. See you tomorrow.

Friday, June 26, 2015

101-Year-Old Aging Well Independently: 10 How-To's

Sr. Advisor R, my mil, was a poster child for aging independently, unselfishly and well. She said, to the extent she could, she’d done everything; helped everyone; and given to those she wanted to give. She was ready to go. It was no secret. And I’ve been thinking–since her timely death last week at 101–about how she managed life so well.

R lived by the following: 

 1.Take care of yourself (or you won’t be able to take care of anything else).
2. Be responsible
3. Don’t abuse yourself. (You get enough from the outside)
4. Know when to say “no.”
5. Simplify (as you age)

--to view entire post please go to my other site

Monday, June 15, 2015

Airports /Travel for Aging Parents and Elders: Happy or Pain Producing? 2015

Young travelers may easily navigate airports but it's...
...Not so easy for aging parents and old people.

Many elders are obviously not at their peak physically--with
--poorer vision,
--poorer hearing
--less energy
than younger travelers.

TSA instructions that include lifting carry-ons to a conveyer belt for inspection can be problematical for elders with weak muscles. Taking a carry-on or pulley up and down escalators challenges balance. The myriad directional signs for gates can be confusing. Long walks to distant gates wear elders out. And important loudspeaker announcements--especially made by those with foreign accents--are often not heard or not understood. 

To view entire post please go to my other site

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Aging Parents: Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers Part 2 2015 Update

Cake by Esperanza 

Round-up of 50 Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers continued  
A tie!? When men "dressed" to go out ties were a most popular Father's Day gift. While still a popular gift, today's more casual dress code makes me wonder about the future of ties...they aren't listed under "Accessories/Clothing" in part 1.
However, this Father's Day Cake, complete with tie, could be a creative answer for those who bake and like using marzipan. Can anything top making this cake as a loving tribute to a great Dad or Grandad? For those who don't bake, my round-up continues.....
Hearing: Hearing loss is a problem for older people and for those who communicate with them. 

To view entire post, please go to my other site

Aging Parents: Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers--Part 1 2015 update

 Father's Day sleeveless sweater vest cake 
made by Esperanza

Round-up of 50 Gifts for Fathers and Grandfathers

More gifts ideas for aging fathers and grandfathers--than I think a man could possibly want--have filled my posts over the last four years. I've reread them, remembering the time and outside-the-box thinking that went into compiling the list. 8 categories, arranged alphabetically: "Accessories and Clothing" to "Vision."

Not needing to reinvent the wheel, I've updated the list and added a bit. It's long now. I'll post in 2 parts so it's not overwhelming. Hoping that your shopping is made easier and that the aging men in your life will have smiles on their faces when they open their gifts.

To view entire post, please visit my other site.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015--Meaningful Connections with Elders and Aging Parents


Memorial Day Weekend 2015...

...Is there a better time to have meaningful conversations with the older--and the oldest--people in our lives?

The commonality of experience, hardship, and sacrifice for country, is shared by countless families over countless years. Some memories lie deep within our elders--aging parents and grandparents and no doubt people who never married. Some memories may still haunt; some may never be spoken of. We know this from movies and books we've read, if we haven't experienced it in our own families.

Never-the-less there's a positive for those of us with aging friends and family members as well as those for whom we're caregivers--if these elders like to talk about the past. It's the opportunity to ask them meaningful questions that convey genuine interest ...

To view entire post please visit my other site

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Elders, Aging Parents and Grandparents and The World War II Memorial


Our Elders, Aging Parents and Grandparents: Journalist Tom Brokaw highlighted their specialness, coining the expression "The Greatest Generation" for his popular book about them. On May 19, 2015 countless aging parents and grandparents (and I) visited the World War II Memorial to pay tribute and to remember.

Part of the National Park Service, the World War II Memorial definitely does not glorify war. It does glorify the deep-seated values of our elders and a time in the history of the United States that affected each and every person. 

And we--or at least I--find most old people don't hesitate to talk about the WWII war years. In fact reminiscing seems to be a popular pastime with the elderly in spite of all the adversities they've experienced. (Depression and war to name two.) 

To view entire post, please go to my other site.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Help! Aging Parents: Best Alzheimer's Blogs of 2015 Honor

 Help! Aging Parents voted “One of the 20 Best Alzheimer’s Blogs of the Year”

Yesterday we took Amtrak to the Washington, DC area. Just before leaving I learned that, for the second year in a row, Healthline honors our blog as one of its 20 top Alzheimer’s blogs of 2015. 

Help! Aging Parents’ inclusion on this year’s “Best” list has special meaning for two reasons:

 First, it’s the only blog on the list that doesn’t have Alzheimer’s or dementia as a major focus.

To view entire post, please visit my other site.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Aging Parents and Memory: The Questionable Impact of Brain Games on Memory. Latest Research

At a certain age I think it's safe to say everyone--aging parents and us-- thinks about memory loss. Many boomers and seniors play bridge, learn a new language, and train their brains using innovative technology, hoping to stave off memory loss.

But the effectiveness of brain-training technology seems to be questionable in real life, according to AARP's 4/14/ 15 Brain Health Blog, "Major Report Shows What Works and What Doesn't for Better Brain Health," written by Elizabeth Agnvall. It's based upon an April 2015-released Institute of Medicine of the National Academies report, COGNITIVE AGING--Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action co-sponsored by AARP, the National Institute on Aging, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government and nonprofit organizations.
                   Visit my other site for this report's findings re: what
                   helps prevent, hurts, and doesn't help memory loss.

Friday, May 8, 2015



Note: This shouldn't be a surprise to our readers. Three years ago we posted: Aging Parents: The Mother's Day Gift Mothers and Grandmother's Value Most. Over and over we heard "time with children and family" as the answer to the objective Mother's Day gift question we asked.

While admittedly our sample was very small as I wrote in that post, if you click the preceding link you might find the responses "hit home." While the survey below's sample of 155 is also small, it includes the value (or not) of technology. I spoke with the person responsible for sending me this information and think it fits nicely with what I've experienced, especially opening the e-card. Thus--

                  Survey Shows Half of Senior Moms May Not Get
                            Their Mother’s Day Wish This Year

                        To view entire post please visit my other site

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aging Parents: 10 Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts that Get Used Up--no Clutter!

Pretty Packaging

Spending time with family--children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren--is what most older mothers want for Mother's Day. Being taken out for Mother's Day dinner with them adds to the pleasure.

What they don't appreciate are gifts that become clutter--
--that they really don't need or want
--that give them "problems" if they're old because they need to figure out where to put them--
--where to store them,
--how not to hurt the giver's feelings, and
--how to get rid of them.

           10 Mother's Day Gifts--that don't last forever and are
        thoughtful, eye-appealing, delicious, indulgent, pampering, 
                                         practical, exciting

To view entire post please go to my other site

Monday, April 27, 2015

Aging Parents: Mother's Day Gifts--Fashionista or Frumpy Dumpy, What's a Daughter to Do cont. 2

Eileen Fisher has shops throughout the US (click Store locator)). Her high quality, easy-care sweaters and tops look good on all body types and all ages. Forget that the models are always young and cool-looking. 60 and 70-year-olds, especially larger women, love the sweaters (some come in brighter colors). The proportions are "generous."  "Small" can easily translate to EF's "PS" or "PM ." Because it may be harder to get the size right, if mom doesn't already wear Eileen Fisher clothes, don't buy on-line.

While styles are “today”--possibly surprising--many are perfect for older women. I'm guessing (based on one pair of slacks that I've worn for a decade) all of her knit slacks have elastic waist bands and fit well on skinny or overweight women. Paired with a loose top and loosely fit cardigan sweater, muffin tops--as well as flabby arms--vanish.
Try to find them on sale at......

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Aging Parents: MOTHER'S DAY GIFTS--Fashionista or Frumpy-Dumpy, What's a Daughter to Do?

 Look good, feel good. New clothes can lift spirits 
                                    and that helps parents age well.
  Most women like to look good, yet aging issues, including lack of energy, may dampen a woman’s enthusiasm for buying clothes. Mother’s Day provides a chance to update older women’s wardrobes. For fashionista’s daughters, shopping for Mothers is fun; for others it’s a chance to help frumpy-dumpies look good.

 My 101 year-old mil’s favorite clothing catalogs (now on-line) are below, carrying a wide variety of  smart, well-priced clothing and accessories for women ages 50+++. No wonder they’re popular with many older women, as seen by the commenters’ ages.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Great Personalized Mother's Day Gift 2015 from Help! Aging Parents

.....A great Mother's Day Gift--for Mothers and Grandmothers
thoughtful, personal, one-of-a-kind

I love reusing stuff and this wonderfully-decorated picture frame caught my eye several years ago at Linda's home. She decorated it for her mother with an old photo of the two of them, surrounded by various mementos and "stuff." Click photo to enlarge. Personalization possibilities are limited only by our imagination. 

It's inexpensive and easy to make--just get the frame, buy some glue, and gather all the meaningful mememtos, unmatched earrings, and old jewelry and buttons you can find.

To view entire post and simple instructions, visit my other site.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Aging Parents: Forcing Resistant Parents to Do What's In Their Best Interest

Can we force resistant parents to do what's in their best interest when they're dead set against it, maintain our relationship, and have no guilt?  


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Aging Parents: When Parents Resist Help and Advice


The short answer is “no”–assuming aging parents have what 101-year-old Sr. Advisor R calls “a good head on their shoulders” and they’re doing nothing that threatens life and limb. If we try to force something that even suggests limiting parents’  independence or autonomy, we enter dangerous emotional territory.......

What is the motivation to force elders to do something?
1.  our feeling about parents’ judgment
2.  the consequences of–and for–our relationship with parents (earlier, now, future)
3.  Parents’ age, health, near-accidents or scary events, a doctor’s recommendation or friends’  recommendations may contribute.

Possibly omitted, however, is this thought–

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Friday, April 3, 2015


Passover and Easter: Another chance to lift elders' spirits and Help Parents Age Well 

Easter and Passover celebrate miracles. While we can't make miracles, showing thoughtfulness to our elders is precious. (Actually it can be a miracle if normally unthoughtful family members decide to "buy in.") And adding interest to life helps parents and the elders we care about age well.

Grocery stores, drug stores, and Dollar-type stores have countless inexpensive items for Easter baskets.

A little cash and a little creativity, and ribbon and some cellophane if you like, can turn an ordinary basket into an unexpected surprise that lifts spirits and brings smiles.
A bottle of wine, a and a box of matzos anchor Passover baskets nicely. Candy, flowers and/or green plants are a happy addition to all holiday baskets.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aging Parents: How Dangerous is Caregiving to One's Health?

11% of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate. [The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP--2009), Caregiving in the U.S. National Alliance for Caregiving. Washington, DC.] - Updated: November 2012


Family caregivers who are in good health are in a better position to help parents age well. No surprise here.  Reading the statistics about family caregivers' health several years ago was sobering. The Family Caregiver Alliance's  2012 "Selective Care Statistics Fact Sheet," reports: "of those caring for someone aged 65+, the average age is 63 years with one third of these caregivers in fair to poor health." The November 2012 report's fact sheet is easy-to-read but long. However, it's well-organized by topics--eg. gender, age, impact on working female caregivers, gender and care tasks--making selective reading easy. Example: 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Aging Parents--90th birthday: Elton John's mother throws her own birthday party for 80 guests, minus Elton, + an Elton John look-alike.

 Estranged Mother and Son
Gossipy posts are a rarity–if ever–on my blog. That said, being an Elton John fan, the Daily Mail’s article interested me, most especially because of his elderly mother’s seemingly very sound reasoning, which gives clues as to why–at 90– she appears to have aged very well.

Money, of course, helps. While she obviously knows how to dress and look good and throw a party, she's articulate, still has a good mind, and is certainly in touch with her feelings. When one lives a long life, regardless of economic circumstances, major losses and big disappointments are a part of it. The way they are dealt with certainly affects aging well and happy–or not.

(Note that the author of the Daily Mail’s article, Why my son Elton hasn’t spoken to me for seven years, says Elton’s mother, Ms. Farebrother, “was happy for our conversation to be recorded and indeed has approved every word of this article.”)

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Aging Parents and Caregiving--Joan Lunden's story

"Joan Lunden on Challenges, Guilt and Caregiving. Her breast cancer battle and selfless life story are inspiring."  Reblogged from this week's nextavenue, PBS's online newsletter.

Joan Lunden
Photo from

...Lunden’s life has been a series of triumphs and challenges. As a young girl, she lost her father, a cancer surgeon, in a plane crash. As she began her career as a TV broadcast journalist 30 years ago, she also became a caregiver both to her brother, who had health complications from type 2 diabetes, and to her mother, who was eventually diagnosed with dementia. 

What Lunden didn’t know at the time, she says, is that caring for her brother and mother simultaneously is when her caregiving journey began........... 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Aging Parents: Help for Caregiver Stress--The Best Stress-Relief Posts I've Found

Stress accompanies caregiving...

Yet caregiver stress differs from ordinary stress, like that from the work place. Its "ingredients" differ. Love, caring, devotion, loyalty, pushing oneself to--and beyond--the limit. While granted there is satisfaction, frustration, anger, resentment and fatigue are common byproducts. They generate stress. Can non-careivers appreciate caregiver stress?

Unlike Supreme Court Justice's Potter Stewart's famous pornography quote: "I know it when I see it," I believe we can only know caregiver stress if we've experienced it. With so much information about reducing caregiver stress  (about 17,700,000 items on Google; 1.990,000 on Yahoo) shouldn't we have learned to control it by now?

Three apparent roadblocks:

1, One size doesn't fit all (neither the elders we care for--nor us)
2. Non-caregiving family members often can't/don't appreciate the stress, and don't help.
3. We're often not very good at asking for--no insisting on--help when we need it. Is giving up "ownership" difficult? (True, they may not do as good a job as we.)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Oxalis Regnelli --Shamrocks at Trader Joe's in Arizona.

Bring interesting, fun to watch, blooming-year-round, easy-care Shamrock plants to elders for St. Patrick's Day. Green or purplish leaves that open in the morning and close at night, they bring a little life into the home.

Seemingly reduced to $2.99--don't they make great last-minute (or even extra) St. Patrick's Day gifts for aging parents--or anyone we care about?


PS These plants were unavailable in NYC last week. Perhaps because of late arrival (although I heard they were available in AZ last week), they are reduced--at least in this AZ store. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Aging Parents and Vacation Planning

When parents are old--healthy or not--can we plan vacations very far in advance?...Very far away? Do we dare to go on vacation?

March: Vacation advertising increases. It looks enticing, yet caution often fills our thoughts and precedes our making a commitment.

  • Can we risk going? 
  • If our elders are going to miss us, do we feel guilty?
  • Do we have confidence in the person who will care for them and contact us if problems arise?
We can decide to afford trip cancellation insurance. That covers one aspect. Yet our uncertainty  remains:
--Do we forgo a needed, well-earned or simply badly-wanted vacation?
--Will guilt and concern weigh on us emotionally and taint the trip?

A previously planned trip to Italy with friends presented this dilemma. We went....

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Aging Parents: Make Elderly Happy~Thanks to St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day. Another opportunity to make elderly people happy: happiness created by anticipation if we've planned ahead to do something with them; unexpected happiness from an unexpected gift or communication. And you don't have to be Irish to participate. A NYC ad campaign, ubiquitous in the NYC subways throughout the '60's and 70's, proclaimed: "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's real Jewish Rye." 

Likewise in NYC, we don't have to be Irish to love corned beef and cabbage, catch the spirit, and participate in St. Patrick's Day festivities. Every important politician, it seems, is Irish that day, marching--with high visibility-- in the popular  St. Patrick's Day Parade.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Aging Parents: Is It Better To Have A Friend Be Your Doctor?

January 20th's NY Times, Science Section's "Hard Cases" column, Too Close to a Patient for Comfort, makes the case, based on AMA guidelines and other sources, that objectivity in medical care may be compromised by doctor-friends. "Medical care supplied by a relative — or an old friend, or a trusted employee — just seems so logical. After all, who could care for you more? But that is just the problem..."

Two thoughts, a dilemma..and 1 good tip at the end.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

VA Aid and Attendance Pension to Get New Eligibility Rules

Veterans' Important Aid and Attendance Information
Reblogged from

Help! Aging Parents has presented information for--and about--Veteran's since a June 2010 post. This reblogged post by John Roberts, Esq. offers new and important information, in hopes that as many Vets and their widows as possible have this information in a timely manner, read the proposed regulations, and submit comments in the link provided at the end of the article-- if they feel the need.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lifting Elder's Spirits--Lessenng Winter's Woes

PFS Garden in Spring ~Click to enlarge
Rid Aging Parents' Winter Woes and Doldrums

Entertaining elders and aging parents in winter can be problematical. Too many storms and chilling temperatures lead to winter doldrums, especially in parts of the US this year.

Understandably many older people hesitate to go out, except for necessities. Cabin fever. Grumpy dispositions. Inertia.

The antidote: Think spring and take elders to a flower show. Leave the cold and the reality of leafless trees and non-blooming plants and enter the sunshiny atmosphere and beauty of spring.

Image: Philadelphia Flower Show ~2013 
           (click to enlarge)

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Saturday, February 14, 2015


What is it that's so endearing about seeing an old couple holding hands, walking arm in arm, smiling at each other in that certain way?

Is it what each one of us hopes for when we hit the old age mark?

My oldest guest, my friend's mother in her 90's shared: "I may be old, but Inside I feel like I did when I was an 18-year-old (pause) with all the same desires too."

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Special Small Sweets are Valentine’s Treats for Seniors and Elders

 Three Scrumptious Treats: Middle Eastern, French, American
Mouthwatering Middle Eastern Pastries from Michigan Mouth-watering Middle Eastern Pastries from Michigan
Many older people, seniors and aging parents, appreciate smaller portions and small tasty bites--shunning the big meals and all-you-can-eat excesses of their younger years. Metabolisms change, dietary issues develop but let's face it, a sweet treat now and then lifts spirits. If not on Valentine's Day----when?

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HEART HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH--Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms and Caregiver Stress

Caregivers help 1.6 million heart failure patients at home--did you know that? Many of us have--or have had--elderly family with heart issues, mine included. 

If validation is needed about the importance of heart health and heart risk
 --The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call February "Heart Month:
--The National Institutes of Health recognize the month, featuring a February 2015  "tool kit" from the American Heart Assn. 
--The American Assn. of Heart Failure Caregivers offers  information especially for caregivers
--This week, February 7-14, is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week. --February 6th was National Wear Red Day 

Are we all getting the message? Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for men and women. Yet many women are still not aware, evidently. And since more caregivers are women, there is a special emphasis on women's heart health as demonstrated through the "Wear Red Day" initiative.

Clearly caregiving requires putting others' needs before our own--and we get good at it, don't we! We can easily feel we're indispensable. We also know if we get very sick we're of no help to anyone---but somehow the logic escapes us when we push and overextend ourselves. 

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Entertaining Elders, Seniors and Aging Parents: Super Bowl 2015 Commercials

"Lost Dog"--can anyone resist? Best Ad--Courtesy Budweiser   "Lost Dog"--can anyone resist? Most popular
(Courtesy Budweiser)

What could be better entertainment for aging and elderly parents than watching some of these commercials, if they didn't see the game?

Sunday, February 1, 2015. Super Bowl XLIX....
If spirits need lifting, watching that little puppy plus a few other Super Bowl 2015 ads, could be just what the doctor ordered. 

To view entire post and watch selected commercials that will entertain and engage elders we care about, visit my other site 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dreaded Discussions become Conversations

...with 4 simple words

Tough talks. Dreaded discussions. Difficult conversations–often about issues involving two generations’ differing realities. Parents are good drivers.(?) Parents’ homes are still suitable.(?) Parents’ hygiene is fine.(?) The list goes on. To help parents age well, what is the reality?  
Do they need our help? or Do we need their help? 

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