Thursday, August 28, 2008

"I" is for Insomnia

If you wake up many times during the night, if you wake up early and are unable to get back to sleep, or if you wake up tired, then you may be among the over-60 age group which suffers from the most common sleep disorder, insomnia.

Insomnia can strike from a variety of causes.  Help yourself by developing proper bedtime habits.

Consider observing a regular schedule during the day, one which includes exercise.
Follow a bedtime routine.
Make your bedroom a comfortable sleeping environment.
Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
Drink less in the evening.

And sleep like a baby.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Telling Your Story

I wonder how many precious stories are lost because people don't have the skills to put pen to paper.  Maybe some people think their narrative would be of little interest to others.  Maybe the embarrassment of not picking up the basics of grammar, spelling, or punctuation in school is preventing them.  
Sad, I think.  I'd relish reading about a family member's actual thoughts, hopes, desires or events (or listen to them) in ANY form than have them vanish for all time.  
Unlike teachers grading "What I did This Summer," I don't believe our descendants would sit in judgment over silly communication errors.  There are volumes of reasons some school lessons don't stick.  So, please.  Don't worry about rambling, about fragmented sentences, about improper use of pronouns, or even about spelling. 
A journal is a safe place to record your reflections. 
Spurred on by a conversation with an old friend, your autobiography can be completed in an afternoon.
Consider other forms for sharing your stories--like gathering the family's favorite recipes or compiling a scrapbook or album.   
I think they would be delighted to learn more about you.
At least I would.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Natural Disasters and How You Can Prepare For Them

A hurricane, flood, earthquake, fire, or other disaster can strike your area with little if any warning.   The Red Cross has created multiple plans to provide assistance.  In fact, they have preparedness information specifically for seniors and people with disabilities.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging has a comprehensive emergency readiness checklist available for older adults and caregivers.

Find out why older Americans should get ready now, such as:
1. Establishing a personal support network
2. If you are traveling, identify yourself to the registration desk that you may need assistance in the event of an emergency
3. Carrying multiple health cards with you (behind your driver's license or primary ID in your wallet), in your car, and in emergency supply kits which include your medications, equipment you use, allergies and sensitivities, communication difficulties
4. Preparing an emergency contact list, both in and out-of-town, to relay information and messages
5. Collecting and storing in sealed freezer bags your emergency documents including family records, deeds, charge and bank accounts, and social security numbers
6. Pre-assessing your own ability for shutting off utilities (if necessary), using a fire extinguisher, etc.  If you or someone you live with is unable to undertake these duties, take appropriate measures to get assistance.

Don't be a victim of the next natural disaster.  Get ready now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Starting a New Life in a Retirement Community

I have flashbacks to when my kids entered kindergarten.  Their reluctance and anxiety had shown on their faces.  I had hoped my expression exhibited excitement rather than the trepidations  I was experiencing at the moment.
How would this new adventure play out, I wondered?  Would they make friends?  What if they were bullied?  Would they fit in?  Were they ready for the new challenges?
Those days are long gone.  
Now, unexpectedly, similar sensations are creeping into my head.  Mom is settling into a new retirement community.  I am witnessing her sadness at leaving the comfort and familiarity of her home of 40 years and her discomfort of trying to fit into a new situation.
Someone told her it would take 3 months to feel at home.  I hope that isn't so. I don't think I can last that long! 

Monday, August 18, 2008


"Buff lady," "Utah," "Wise One," "Yachtygirl" and I were working out while discussing our kids and tattoos.  
1. One son felt that by the time he would be tired of his naked boyfriend/1 st girlfriend yin/yang tattoo imprinted on his chest, dermatologists would have figured out a way to remove them painlessly (that's an optimist!).  
2. One teenager cut his curly locks into a Mohawk and then shaved his head, a prime target for scalp tattoo devotees.   
3. One relative and her brood got themselves peace dove reminders of a deceased child.  (Now that's sweet)
4. One lady pointed out the rush that getting a tattoo has on some people, so much so that they continue to play the easel to the artist's tools.  
Frankly, even though I dislike Erin's tattoos (birds and a rose), by law she is considered an adult and in charge of her own body.  
Hiding them isn't an option. Warm weather, I've found, lures tattoos to poke their indiscriminate heads out of sun dresses and bathing suits.  
Whatever happened to the good old days when rebellion meant smoking in the high school bathroom or leaving the campus at lunch?  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jogging Your Memory

In my mind's eye, I pictured the honey bee diligently cramming each cell to the brim. However, with each successive expedition, the worker packed the cubicle with imperceptibly less nectar than the time before.  Only after years of this repetition did it become obvious that the cubicle was reflecting what was happening day after day before my eyes.

Similarly, I see lapses in my own memory.  Once I was able to remember volumes of information which filled enough test booklets to earn me high grades.  

Now I have trouble remembering names, data, and things to do.  

Dad always said, " Don't try to remember something that you can write down." He might have been content with some senior sites jam-packed with handy checklists.

I play games to jump start my memory.  I may sift through the alphabet to see which letter generates a familiar connection with the forgotten name or face.  
Fay has another way of remembering.  She has 2 Roll-a-dexes, one by last name and one for profession or trade.  All her doctors are bunched together.  So are her handymen and service people. 

What games or tools do you use to replenish those partially-filled brain cells? 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Passion For Life

Nancy featured an animated inspirational speaker Randy Pausch on her blog. 
This 47 year old Carnegie Mellon computer scientist recognized that he wouldn't participate in some of  life's most precious moments with his children so he condensed who he was, where he came from, and what he believed in in a 10 minute lecture.
We are fortunate to have his wisdom memorialized.  Do yourself a favor.  Watch it. Witness one man's passion for life. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Just Something Yummy

Lemon curd. Bob wants to know why I bought lemon curd. I don't know why I bought lemon curd but it was calling to me from the shelves, reminding me of Debbie at the gym regaling lemon curd--how useful it is, how you can add it to just about anything and it'll transform the dish into something sensational, almost orgasmic.

So in a weak moment at Trader Joe's, I stood in the lemon curd aisle and contemplated all the ways I could use lemon curd.

I suppose if I were English and fancied teas, I'd have lemon curd as a daily staple with my scones.

Having some Canadian blood it me, it might make some sense I'd at least stop and take a quick look.

I could make yummy lemon bars  or even lemon meringue pie.  I found 81 recipes, more cards than in my whole recipe box, just using lemon curd.

I've even been told it can be eaten au naturel by the spoonful!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bad Hair Day for Men and Women

The National Institute on Health reported the obvious: Both hair and nails change as a person ages.

Some days I just don't know what to do with my hair.  I've colored it for so many years that it's dry and brittle.  

The Third Age Foundation came to my rescue.

Getting the right haircut (women  and men), is essential to looking younger, experts agree.

Improve your health and appearance by finding out ways (including new surgical options) to deal with your thinning hair, a common complaint among both women and men

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Buying Clothes When You're Over 50

Granted, I don't have Diane Keaton's budget.

But I am so frustrated.  I've been surfing the web for an hour now.  I can't believe the lack of clothing options for the over-50 lady.  

Common on, clothing manufacturers.  What do we have to do to rouse you from your coma?

We don't need polyester--it was never and still isn't breathable.  You can do better.  Granted, denim provides style and comfort but Levi Strauss put his name on the fabric 1 1/2 centuries ago.     

I'm tired of looking at scrawny young women in tight-fitting clothes.  I'm tired of having to sift through wardrobe sites only to find abysmal plus sizes or unimaginative women's clothes.
We're a huge audience.  We're busy.  We want to be fashionable.  Many of us have the disposable income.  Gosh, if a designer just gave us what we wanted in fabrics, colors, and styles, he/she'd be laughing all the way to the bank.   

Clothing manufacturers:  Take the 50something challenge-- Create a clothing line dedicated to our age.  Then maybe more of us could look like Diane Keaton!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Planning for the Future

Home Instead Senior Care and author Jo Myers have provided the ultimate planning guide for baby boomers and their parents.  
No, I'm not referring to a travel itinerary (even though I could use one just about now).
This is a simple list to prepare for the inevitable. 
No one over 50 should postpone most of these chores.   
Better yet, do your own will and/or trust or get it done by a competent attorney now.  

Friday, August 1, 2008

Camping with Grandchildren

It takes a long time to recover from camping with granddaughter Haley.  

Ok, so it really wasn't "camping."  I guess staying in a hotel room and eating in a food court at Yosemite Lodge doesn't qualify.  But it may be the closest I'll ever get to the real thing!

For all those other grandparents out there of squeamish nature, this is what I learned when Haley and I went to Yosemite:

1. Discuss bears and their yen for human food prior to your trip.

2. Don't expect to do much sightseeing (even if those magnificent waterfalls are only a stone's throw away) when a swimming pool is beckoning your 4 1/2 year old grandchild.

3. Gourmet dining and healthy eating in food courts?  I don't think so.

4. Dirt is okay.  So are puddles.

5. Don't call housekeeping until you are absolutely positive that blankie didn't run off with the local ranger.

6. If a tour bus driver responds to your emergency pleas with, "Is it pee or is it poo?"  Always respond, "Pee" even if you suspect otherwise.  

7. Go to sleep when your grandchild does.  You'll need the energy.

8.  Have fun.