Friendships in the Third Act: Are They That Valuable?

This is not my first article on the importance of friendship. This one adds a lot more information about that and suggestions for finding friends. Most of you have friends. For the many who do not or who have few, it is important to understand why friendships in the third act are indeed valuable and how you might achieve them comfortably.




Some health risks associated with the lack of friends are not compensated for with family relationships. A few explanations for this are because family members, rather than enjoying each other

  • see each other out of obligation.
  • want something, like money.
  • need “temporary” room and board.
  • promote drama to keep their own life going in their own way.

You get the picture. Don’t get the idea I am putting down all family relationships. There are some very good ones out there, but maintaining friendships enhances your life in general.

Fighting Can be Hurtful
Always Butting Heads?

You have heard the saying that goes similar to this: You can pick your friends, but not your family. That is not totally true, because with good reason you can detach yourself from family members that are toxic. Many people are just not able to accomplish this. It takes a lot of courage. Abandoning toxic family members is sometimes necessary for your own personal health and well-being. It reduces the stress in your life and prompts you to be more independent.


Many find that having no friends leads to loneliness which has been shown to lead to serious problems, e.g. depression. According to researcher and psychologist Steve Cole at the University of California, loneliness can be toxic, causing fears that impact your immune systems. This can initiate a host of physical and mental problems.

Loneliness is a leading factor in alcoholism which is increasing in older women. If you find yourself hiding liquor and the fact that you drink it at all, or drinking more than two drinks a day, you need to consider taking action now. Talk to your doctor. He or she will know who in your community can help you with this. Please don’t worry about stigma. Concentrate on the benefits of moving forward.


What Does it Take to Make Friends?

Having friends requires that we reach out. Don’t wait for someone to reach out for you, but when it happens, consider it carefully and see each other a few times before you decide you would really like this person in your life. First, let’s make sure everything is okay with you.

Friends Having Fun!Great friendships are investments because they are much like marriages. They require continuing investment. They meld the abilities of

  • tolerance of others’ mistakes,
  • patience,
  • having a sense of give and take,
  • forgiving when there is misunderstanding, and
  • being accepting without being judgmental.

These are just a few of many characteristics of friendships.



Have fun!
It’s Summer. Don’t Wait!


It’s far easier to make friends with people we see more often, but when you don’t see people you have a problem. If you live in a small community, try to make friends with neighbors. Try having a block party or a building party. Asking people to bring a dish will reduce the work burden and the costs and increase the variety. Find out what you have in common and also learn your differences. Other ways to meet people:

  • Volunteers make friends!
    Volunteer and Friendship Possibilities

  • Visit neighborhood parks.
  • If you are caring for grandchildren, have a summer party, asking for contributions of food or drinks.
  • Find out what volunteer activities are available nearby. Always check with schools, and the police and fire departments.
  • Host meetings to resolve neighborhood problems. You might have to take these to a higher level, but at least you will have the support of each other and possible solutions.
  • Attend local events, like art shows, plays, fund-raising cookouts, etc.
  • Become more involved in your church’s missions.


What Are a Few Things Friends Might be Better Off Not Doing?

  • Friendship does not imply that one can expect to borrow money. Yes, friends want to help out when they can, but there should never be a feeling of expectancy on your part or a feeling of obligation on their part and vice versa. Learn to say the word “no” and to hear it as well. 
  • Divulging each other’s secrets can be dangerous and result in no friends. If you can’t talk to a friend, who can you talk to?
  • Try to avoid people who always feel the need to argue or who don’t respect your right to have an opinion. Learn to offer your opinion in such a way that you don’t offend the other person.
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes, friends just need someone to listen.
  • Manipulation has no place in friendships. No one likes to be “had” or “used” or even tempted to be taken advantage of.  
  • Don’t speak ill of other neighbors. Gossip travels fast, and community life will become difficult. If someone mentions a problem with a neighbor, just say “I’m sorry. I hope you can work it out.”



Trippin' Together
Friends Trippin’Together

Putting up walls around us does not make it easier. Let people really get to know you by being authentic. I’m talking about the way you think about things, the things you like to do, the mistakes you have made and what you learned from them, things you would like to learn but need help with, etc. I am talking about being down to earth—being someone with humility and not always talking about your good points or best achievements. Are you the real thing? Don’t know?

Are You Being Your Authentic Self?

According to an article in the Huffington Post your authentic self is “who you are at your absolute core. It is the part of you not defined by your job, function or role. It is the composite of all your skills, talents and wisdom.” It is what makes you the person you are. It is not what you think you should be.

If you are waiting to be the person you think you should be or to be like everyone else, you are always going to be disappointed in yourself. On the other hand, if you are willing to take a chance and be the person you are, you might be pleasantly surprised.

If you don’t have skills you believe to be important, rethink them. Perhaps you are good at singing, typing, gardening, computer programs, writing, painting, organizing, etc. If you still don’t feel impressed with yourself, find a way to learn something that you are interested in. There are all sorts of things available on the Internet, in adult education classes through your local school system, or even in college universities for free if you are over a certain age.

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche is saying that the real you wants to be out there, but even when you move with courage, you might be disappointed with the results. There are still those who would oppress people, look down on them, and cause them to feel very uncomfortable if they disagree. Learn to identify them and don’t allow yourself to feel intimidated.

Now, I am not suggesting that you should disagree for the sake of doing so. I am saying that you need to speak up when you disagree.

Remember, there are too many people who want you to be like them, so they will feel comfortable and powerful. You give them power when you reluctantly agree, and if you are always agreeing, who are you? Where is the real you? Do you want to belong to an organization that always follows the lead of those who appear to dominate the others?

Be All That You Can BeMy suggestions include learning how to say “I disagree” in different ways:

  • “I have a different way of looking at it.”
  • “Would you like to hear my thoughts on that?”
  • “I am not sure I understand what you mean by that. Please help me out.”


A Landmark Study

How powerful is our need to conform to others’ wishes and opinions even when we know what they want is wrong or when we have a different opinion? As early as 1955, a study was published on “Opinions and social pressure” by Asch in the Scientific American. Interestingly, seven participants were “planted” and told to state identical wrong answers. Almost 75% of the remaining participants went along with the seven, knowing they were wrong.

Later, in a follow-up study, Asch wrote that when one of the seven “planted” participants was told to disagree with the other six, only 5% of the actual participants went along with the other six.

Express Yourself.
Who Are You?

So remember to feel free to disagree. You never know who in your group might be right there with you or even have a different opinion from the rest. You are probably saying at this point that you can’t do this one on one.  Yes, you can.  Just practice it.  And if someone is talking about something that really makes you uncomfortable, just say so.


Renewing Old Friendships Can Be Rewarding

Writing this article was difficult because I realized I had not been doing what I needed to do to make friends. Many of my friends from recent years have died. Unfortunately, I got busy and didn’t take the time to try connecting with new or older friends, except for two, whom I visit on Facebook occasionally and see less frequently.  But, I did rejoin an organization I had belonged to.

Recently, I contacted someone I had not seen in over 40 years and arranged to go visit her–two hours away, I had thought of her often because she was the one friend who accepted me for me. We had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We laughed and talked about things we knew we could discuss without fear of being judged. Trust me, being able to relax with others is such a great feeling. She has already done many of the things I would like to do, such as traveling in an RV all over the country or just kayaking. I hope to learn from her and see her again soon.

From Fifty is the New Fifty Some pertinent steps to renewing old friendships:

  1. Find them. Google their name. Sometimes you will find they have remarried.
  2. Contact them. Facebook was the obvious first contact for me and it worked.
  3. Call them. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers.
  4. Remember old times. Ours were sad and happy, and talking about them was cathartic. We have a lot more to discuss.
  5. Ask about current activities. We both have things going on and have mutual interests.
  6. Agree to see each other again. We did this.
  7. Don’t be too disappointed if the friendship fades. Some things you can’t control. Just hope for the best.



Yes, it has been shown that having friendships after you get older is definitely valuable.  Be willing to give up any incorrect notions you have had about friendships and entertain new ones. There is a wealth of information out there on establishing and maintaining friendships, but the main points to consider are to be honest, genuine (authentic), and helpful. Honesty requires that you be able to present your own opinion.  Learning how to disagree properly will give you a new sense of freedom.

The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when. Simon Sinek in Brainy Quotes

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Please let me have your thoughts in the Comments section below.



Why are Older Adults, Particularly Women, Drinking More Alcohol?

Have you gone too far?

Alcohol affects older women more than older men. While fewer women drink as they age, particularly those born earlier in the 1900s, those from later generations that drink have been drinking for longer periods of time, probably because there was less stigma attached to it. If you don’t believe there is a problem with women drinking, the statistics prove otherwise: According to Robert Jimison of CNN, 47.5% of women age 60 and older drink alcohol.  This is an increase of 10% from 20 years ago, and it is quickly closing the gap between female and males.  The figure for men is 59.9%.  That is only 12.4% more than women.

According to an NIH publication, women are just as likely to be admitted to a hospital for alcohol-related problems as they are heart problems. Increasing numbers of women are being admitted for accidents, including falls with broken bones that occurred while they were drinking.  Why is this?  Older women, a group known to take more antidepressants for their mood disorders, risk more when they add alcohol to their routine. Mood disorders include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and others.

As seniors age, there are ever increasing problems with their using alcohol.  Older adults have less water in their bodies and this creates a higher concentration of alcohol. In other words, it does not take as much alcohol to get high as it once did and the higher concentration produces higher blood alcohol levels, more so in women.  In addition, alcohol is not metabolized as well in older people. These problems are magnified by using alcohol with many drug types, diseased states, and the fact that their bodies can no longer tolerate the amounts they used in the past.


Don't Go There!


Call for Help!Alcohol poisoning may occur and caregivers need to be aware of the symptoms:  Slowed heart rate and breathing, low body temperature, loss of consciousness, vomiting, poor reflexes, and confusion. A person may vomit after loss of consciousness.  If that occurs and the gag reflex has disappeared, the person will likely aspirate on the vomit and die. That is sufficient reason to call an ambulance if someone passes out.

Evidence that someone may be headed in that direction is being tired, not eating, not sleeping properly, slurred words, and confusion.


Why do seniors drink more alcohol?

Many seniors live alone and are not actively participating in any activities that would provide them with some self-expression.  Unfortunately, they stay at home and feel absolute loneliness, unwilling to make friends or to seek membership in organizations that would provide an outlet for socialization. Maintaining friendships has been shown by many to have one of the most positive effects on aging.  Watching the video below will provide more enlightenment about the causes of alcohol use and abuse in older adults.





What happens when they drink with certain medications?

Muscle relaxants

Side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, weakness, and problems with judgment or thinking can occur.


Pain medications

Using alcohol with pain medicationsPills + Alcohol = Problem can cause severe problems.  Not only does alcohol adversely affect the liver, painkillers containing acetaminophen, such as hydrocodone, affect it as well.  The risk of liver damage increases substantially when using the two together. The brain, pancreas, and heart may be affected by excessive alcohol use.  Other problems that may occur as a result of using alcohol with painkillers include slow and shallow breathing, shortness of breath, tiredness,  clotting problems, constipation, high blood pressure, stroke, irregular heartbeats, tolerance, death, breast cancer and mouth and throat cancer.



Alcohol and antidepressants do not work too well together either.  Drinking reduces the effects of antidepressants and may actually increase your anxiety or depression. Adding other medications to the mix, like pain or sleeping pills will almost surely make things worse.  This could create an overdose or exaggerated symptoms of many problems.

Combining alcohol with MAOIs, such as Marplan and Nardil,  prescribed for major depression, Parkinson’s, and other illnesses is especially dangerous and can cause serious spikes in blood pressure.

Alcohol taken with antidepressants can also cause drowsiness and sedation and affect your ability to think and react.  The following reactions may occur if you use alcohol with melatonin, a sleep aid: breathing problems, drowsiness, becoming dizzy and losing consciousness.


Other Medications  

Sleeping pills, cold and allergy drugs, acetaminophen, aspirin, and cough syrup also interact with alcohol, causing severe problems.


What about the impact of alcohol on certain diseases?

According to the National Institutes for Alcohol and Abuse, there are a number of diseases that are made worse by alcohol.

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Liver problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Memory problems
  • Mood disorders


Diseases caused by too much alcohol.

  • Liver diseases
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increases the risk for certain cancers
  • Brain Damage
  • Intestinal problems
  • Affects the immune system which allows infectious diseases to occur

Are you willing to risk any of these?


Free Yourself With Knowledge

What can you do about it?

Get help.  Remember that you will respond to treatment in the same way a younger person would, so don’t discount treatment.  Talk to your doctor. He will guide you to an appropriate place.  If you cannot afford treatment, your doctor can also advise you of those agencies that have a sliding scale method of payment based on income.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that people ages 65 and older have only one drink per day.  Talk with your doctor about this and about using any of the above medications with alcohol.

Thank you for reading this important article.  I would like to know if you found this article on alcohol helpful or if you have any suggestions for others.  Please use the Comment Section below for your responses.


Life After Divorce for Grandparents

Divorce can be difficult for grandparents.Are you struggling with what to do?

Divorce is a terrible thing in most cases because it usually means that the couple just did not care anymore and or were unable to work things out either alone or with a counselor. On the other hand, it can be welcomed if a spouse was harming the other or one of the children. You might be one of the grandparents whose child has recently been through a divorce. If so, you feel left out to a great extent because you don’t know what your future role is or if you can plan on having a future with your grandchildren. Chances are you have lots of questions regarding your future relationship with your grandchildren and the parent taking care of them. Life after divorce for grandparents can be difficult just as it is for the rest of the family.


What do your grandchildren need from you?

They need reassurance of their own value and they need love. It’s tempting to think about spoiling them, but that would only cause future problems. It would also cause problems with their parents and possible alienation.

If they think they might have caused the divorce, they need to understand that they did not. If they bring up an incident they were involved in, they need to understand that their parents were experiencing problems prior to that incident.


What should you disclose to your grandchildren about their parents’ divorce?

Absolutely nothing. That is their parents’ responsibility. You have no idea of what they have been told and saying anything could confuse them. What you can do is to be the peacemaker at all times, remembering that the adult children and the grandchildren have most likely been through a series of events that were not enjoyable and that had lasting consequences. A peacemaker remains positive and “calm, cool, and collected” as they used to say.

Separation and divorce can cause problems in the extended family.


Never express any anger toward the parents and their roles in the divorce. First of all, you can’t know the whole story, and second, you can definitely believe that there are two sides to the story. Hopefully, parents will review their actions,7 learn what they did wrong and take full responsibility for them. Last, each parent has his or her own interpretation of the other parent’s actions which may or may not be correct.

If you do tread that road, you make your grandchildren very uncomfortable which adds to their anxiety. If you are able to convince them that they have a bad parent, they may experience low self-esteem. Doing this could alienate you from your grandchildren or cause them to think less of you as a person. Remember:

  • The child is not at fault and does not need to hear blame statements.
  • Generally, children love their parents and are not old enough to understand what went wrong.
  • You do not want to be responsible for causing further problems in a family that has been experiencing problems.

Grandpa is having fun with grandchild.How can I make things easier?

Do what you can to maintain relationships with your grandchildren. There are several online groups on Facebook for grandparents that you might find helpful. You just type grandparents in the search box and join a group. This gives you the opportunity to observe how others are handling the same problems you face. If yours does not come up, ask your own question and engage in a conversation with those that respond.

Continue your peacemaker role with the parent who initiated the divorce. Contact that parent and ask if he or she would meet with you to discuss your concerns about family events, holidays, and visitation. If you are not successful, ask if they would be willing to have a mediator work with both of you. Dr. Edward Kruk has also proposed mediators and family therapists to work with families denying access to grandparents, but notes that they have been resistant to recognizing the impact of alienated grandparents.

Avoid being antagonistic. Yes, I know it is hard. You hurt. You are angry and disappointed about your child’s aspirations and concerned about his or her future. And you have every right to feel like this. But you will have to discuss these feelings with someone outside of the family.


Divorce talks can result in peace.

What are the grandparents’ rights?

Generally this question applies to visiting with grandchildren. Grandparents have no legal status to visit with their grandchildren and must rely on the goodness and cooperativeness of the parents. If that fails, it is possible in all 50 states for grandparents to acquire the legal right to visit their grandchildren. You will find your state listed in an article written by the American Grandparents Association. No one likes to seek a legal resolution, so hopefully your child has at least partial custody and is cooperative in that regard.

If you decide to go the legal route, some things in your favor include:

  • You were raising your grandchildren due to a court order.
  • One or both parents have been jailed or imprisoned and you have been helping to take care of their children. Unfortunately, a court will sometimes award a guardian who does not properly take care of the children and passes them along to any and all who are willing to have them.
  • You have observed that the parent primarily responsible for them is not taking care of them properly, thus causing harm, or you have knowledge that the parent is a drug addict.
  • If you have a grandchild that does not wish to see you and you believe that you can prove the grandchild has been improperly brainwashed about an alienated parent, your child, and you are experiencing a grandparent alienation syndrome.
  • You have experienced some good times with your grandchildren.

A grandmother wanting to connect.Hopefully, you will be able to resolve your issues with your family peacefully. For additional help there is a closed organization on Facebook called Mothers-in-Law Unplugged. You apply for membership. Another organization, Grandparents Unplugged can be found on the Internet. It provides an avenue for asking questions and getting answers from anyone who believes they can help you. A third, but probably most important, is Alienated Grandparents Anonymous.

What is Grandparent Alienation Syndrome?

This is a term coined from “parental alienation” which was proposed by Dr. Richard Gardner in a 1985 article to define a situation where one parent manipulates a child, often the oldest, into believing that the other parent should be rejected for various reasons. Wanting to stay in favor with the manipulating parent, the child will not only reject that alienated parent but will also make up things about the alienated parent. In rejecting the targeted parent, the child is likely to reject the grandparents and other family members of the parent.


Divorce both solves and creates problems. Some last forever. Grandparents have to be persistent to a point when they are having problems gaining access to their grandchildren. If you have tried it all, you may have to settle for the obvious–no contact with your grandchildren. I know, it is heart breaking. It is possible that when they get older and understand some of the things that have happened, they may want to initiate contact. I know you will be grateful and will welcome them with open arms.

I’d like to know what you learned from this article and what you would like to contribute. I welcome your comments. Please see the comments section below.


Solutions for the Lack of Sexual Desire in Women

The Enormity of the Problem

Sad and Embarrassed About Sexual DysfunctionAlmost half the women in the United States have reported problems related to sexual desire. When you consider that there are many uncounted women who have never reported their problems or participated in a study, that figure naturally increases. So, yes, at some time or another during her lifespan, one can safely say most women are likely to experience some form of sexual dysfunction, including loss of desire, inability to climax, and sexual arousal problems. This article proposes to address some solutions for the lack of sexual desire in women.

The causes of these problems fall into two categories:  physical health issues and psychological dysfunction. So what are some physical problems that generate sexual dysfunction?

According to the Mayo Clinic, heart problems, kidney failure, neurological problems, and cancer are among the disease processes that affect sexual desire. Hormones, such as lower levels of estrogen following menopause, may be responsible, and medications that include antihistamines, chemotherapy drugs, and antidepressants are often the culprits. If you are dealing with any of these issues, please contact your doctor. You will be surprised and grateful with most of the results.  

There are also any number of psychological causes including post partum depression, normal depression, anxiety, severe traumatic events, etc.  The important thing to remember is that there is usually a definable cause, which sometimes requires investigative work.  There are many questions to ask yourself when plagued with sexual dysfunction. Just asking them will often trigger a memory of something disturbing you.

  1. You Have to Ask the Questions!Are you inhibited by low self-esteem, guilt, or fear?
  2. Do you have a chronic disease that causes aesthetic problems with sexual activities?
  3. Do you feel embarrassed about your sexual behaviors?
  4. Are you troubled by any childhood experiences?
  5. Were you physically, sexually, or emotionally abused as a child or adult?

You must consider the health of your relationship and understand how that affects your loss of sexual desire.

  • What are your unfulfilled needs?
  • Are they realistic?
  • What are you doing about them?
  • Did you get married for the wrong reasons?
  • What anger issues do you need to resolve?
  • Is substance abuse part of the problem?
  • What are the reasons for the substance abuse?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your mate?
  • Think about why he might be thinking the same about you.
  • Consider why you were attracted to your partner and why you are living together.

Other causes have been addressed by different authors.  

Many women are embarrassed or disturbed by their memories and don’t wish to revive them for the purpose of talking about them; however, that might be necessary in your case. Check off all of the above that apply to you and write them down in a journal as goals to work toward solving. Sometimes, just reading a book can be extremely helpful. The book, For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality by Barbach. 

Meditation for Real

Practicing mindfulness with yogaFor thousands of years, meditation has been used to deal with all kinds of problems, including anxiety, depression, other mental health issues and medical problems. Scientific evidence exists for a number of improvements with meditative techniques, including stress, ability to engage with others and use of empathy With the reduction of stress alone, you can see the implications for all related issues, such as lowering of blood pressure that can lead to improvement of existing heart conditions or prevention of the same. Stress has been found to be a factor in so many illnesses, both mental and physical, that it is always practical to employ the use of whatever is necessary to reduce your stress, whether it be exercise, diet, education, or meditation.

In a way, meditation is much like sex, which improves with practice. Additionally, both mindfulness and sex are stimulating and relaxing at the same time. Not only do they improve your self-esteem, they also improve your relationships with other people and your overall ability to be successful.

Meditation Techniques

There are endless areas where meditation can be effective. I would like to share some techniques you can use on your own that may be helpful in the resolution of some of your issues.

Breathing exercises are known to be helpful for a number of issues. In a quiet area, indoors or out, sit down and cross your legs. Try this for about three minutes—best to set an alarm rather than look your watch. Concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in slowly and thoroughly through your nose, hold your breath for a short time, and breathe out of your mouth.

At work, if you are unable to use your office, the restroom will work fine. You may skip crossing your legs since you will not be on the floor. Do this often throughout the day. Soon you will find yourself doing it automatically—but avoid if you are driving!

Meditate to Remove Stress

Throughout the day and when we awake at night, we have thoughts about things that disturb us and we want to do something about them. Some things we can resolve but doing something about others would most likely create additional problems. Even bringing it up would create a problem. For you, this is an unsolvable issue, but rather than dealing with it in some appropriate fashion, we continue to think of it, allowing it to drive us crazy, and get angry with the principals involved. In this same category we can include thinking about what we did that might have been wrong or if we hurt someone’s feelings or did we do the right thing. We are not only afraid of being judged, we are also afraid of judging. 

There are solutions for dealing with this type of thinking and the disturbing feelings it causes. One of the mindfulness exercises that might help:

1. Stop what you are doing and take several deep breaths. Focus on emptying your lungs and breathing in with your diaphragm. Notice those thoughts and the feelings that creep up—those that keep bothering you..

2. Observe these thoughts and feelings. Do not attempt to analyze, judge, change, or avoid them. Recognize them, speak to them, and accept them.

3. Do you notice that you feel any differently by just simply accepting the existence of these thoughts and feelings?

You will find other mindfulness exercises on YouTube. Of particular note are those by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a leader in the teaching of these exercises. Try this link to YouTube, where you will find many more videos: If the link fails, just copy and paste it.

Are Women Being Fair to Themselves and Their Partners?

It has been reported that even though numerous women experience or have experienced loss of sexual desire, less than a fourth of them have stated that as being a problem. Loss of sexual desire does not bother them. Some partners use this as an excuse to avoid sexual relations because they are overweight or are not up to par in other areas and don’t see themselves as being attractive. Others may be engaged in affairs and cannot maintain more than one relationship. I could go on, but the fact is that whatever the reason, their refusal to talk to their doctors or participate in counseling to resolve the issue is questionable. Sadly, loss of desire is too easily used as an excuse not to engage in sexual relations with one’s partner, and the partner is all too often treated as if he or she is abnormal because they fail to understand this or simply don’t appreciate being treated this way.

Why should they? First, this might sound harsh but this behavior is a good example of antisocial, behavioral problems, where the partner lacks concern about the psychological consequences on her partner. She would do well to ask herself how she would feel if rebuffed for the same reasons. It is evident that she is maintaining a façade about the relationship and has no reason for wanting to repair it. 

Second, feeling unwanted, the abused partner is likely to enjoy the attention of someone else who shows them that they are still attractive. No, this is not justifiable behavior but it is predictable. This causes unwanted marital problems, or does it?  When questioning the behavior of a woman who does not seek help with sexual dysfunction, one wonders if she is just waiting for an excuse to blame the partner to avoid receiving the blame.

Third, it is unfair and detrimental for the marriage and the family for someone exhibiting problems with sexual dysfunction to refuse to seek professional help, not only for herself but for her partner. A problem of this magnitude can affect any involved children who have the ability to pick up on any family discord.

Last, it would be inappropriate not to address the cost of professional help as a factor for many.  So, let me say that there are pastors available to help and there are mental health organizations in most communities that have a sliding scale pay plan based on income.  Please look into these.

What Else Can I Do About This Problem?

Write in your journal the positive aspects of yourself, your accomplishments, your skills, and your hobbies. Note how they have contributed to your self-image. Just looking at these will provoke memories of “I can” and “I did” and serve as reminders that you can achieve what you want.

I am not saying here that all sexual problems can be resolved, but I want to reiterate that it is extremely to discuss these problems with your partner, aned ask for help.  A visit to your local library, your doctor, or sometimes with a friend would be helpful. Therapy is also good and sometimes essential.

Journaling is Meditative and Therapeutic


There is every reason to work on increasing your sexual desire, including feeling better about yourself, learning why you are having the problem, and learning how to express yourself and your needs to your partner.

The best way to start is to be honest with yourself and partner. If you go the therapy route, be completely honest with your counselor. Most insurance policies allow visits to a counselor.

If you have other suggestions for dealing with these problems, please use the comments section below. Also use it for letting me know if this article has been helpful in some way to you.


The Many Facets of Successful Aging

Do you have the courage to make goals for your life–for tomorrow, next month, next year, and years from now–or are you waiting for someone else to do that for you? I am not just talking about financial goals.  I am including your health, happiness, and all of those other things that make up life–the many facets of successful aging.  Perhaps you are a dreamer and believe that everything will just fall into place for you?  

I am here to tell you that if you are waiting for someone else to fulfill all of your needs, you might consider all of the things that are likely to happen to that person. And then consider what might happen to you as a result. Yes, I know that many of you have prepared well, are enjoying your life, and can rely on having the means to age successfully.  But, most of us are not in that category.  Some of us did all of those things.


 Goal setting is essential to preparing for successful aging. 

Growing Old Successfully Takes Courage

Many studies have been done on this subject with varying viewpoints on what it means.  A review study captured data from a number of studies done during the period beginning 1902 through 2015. There were two different formats for determining what successful aging was.  The largest number of reports were based on what those who were aging had to say about their successes and what caused them.  These results can be significant, but it is important to note that when we are telling our story, we sometimes have a tendency to sugar coat it.  A smaller number was based on what researchers measured, using predetermined criteria–the predominant factors of aging.

For those of you who have older adults in your life, ask them what they believe contributes to their successfulness or unsuccessfulness with regard to aging.  They are likely to report that overall they feel contented and more accepting of themselves and that they are engaged with life.  But they are just as likely to report that their satisfaction is coming from staying fit, maintaining a good diet, and following doctor’s orders. Many now have time to help others, gaining huge satisfaction from their new roles.  The wisdom accumulated through their years was proposed as a major theme that became evident through the interviews of older people along with the information that seniors might benefit from assistance with gaining access to opportunities for greater social engagement and learning better ways of coping. 


Adventures are one of the facets of successful aging.


But things can change with the way we look at success.  Education, communication such as social media, medical science, cultural support, and other things as well have contributed to the study of successful longevity with significant impact. More of us are living to be over 100 years old. We will examine some of the many facets of successful aging in this article.  Why?  At 100 years of age, we want to feel that we are successfully aging! We want to know that there is more to come.


“It takes courage to dream, to face our futures and the limiting forces within us. It takes courage to be determined that, as we slow down physically, we are going to grow even more psychologically and spiritually. Courage, the philosopher Aristotle taught us, is the most important of all the virtues, because without it we can’t practice any of the others. Courage is the nearest star that can guide our growth. Maya Angelou said we must be courageous about facing and exploring our personal histories. We must find the courage to care and to create internally, as well as externally, and as she said, we need the courage ‘to create ourselves daily as Christians, as Jews, as Muslims, as thinking, caring, laughing, loving human beings’.”
― Bud Harris


The Many Definitions of Successful Aging

You can compensate for disability for successful aging.

Often used definitions of successful aging are presented in different forms of three criteria:  State of health and disability, ability to think clearly, and social engagement with others.  Not only do these imply, but others suggest that if you are disabled, have an incurable disease, or have a terminal illness that you are not successfully aging.  But, you see folks all the time in wheelchairs, using walkers or canes, or with visible signs of health problems, such as shaking, limping, or features suggestive of Down syndrome, mental retardation, neuromuscular disease, cerebral palsy, etc.  Are they aging successfully? Have we eliminated this segment of the population from the definition of successful aging?


For the most part, those in the latter stages of life have learned how to adapt and cope with the things they cannot change to have a successful life.  One study examined and recorded the attitudes of a group of men and women age 55 and older from various cultures who were disabled and learned that most of them were content with their lives and believed that they were successfully aging.  In addition, they recognized that those who may not be satisfied could be helped by clinicians who would use interventions appropriate to their culture that would promote successful aging.


Successful Aging is Different for Each Person


“Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn


Disability does not prevent working or successful aging.At a Walmart near me, I often see an extremely crippled, middle-aged man pushing a long line of grocery carts back into the store. He appears to be happy, as evidenced by smiles.  He is definitely enjoying his work.  And he is not totally dependent on other people if dependent at all. Is he aging successfully?  Of course, he would prefer to be made whole, but he is making the best of his life!



Some homeless can't work. Others can and do.Compare his success with that of a man who portrays himself as homeless and unemployed, sitting or standing on the corner where one enters the same Walmart parking lot.  I have observed this man, his companions, and their dog on many occasions, with two sitting in their car, taking turns holding the sign which asks for money. Are they aging successfully?  Can they change their future?  I don’t have the answers, but I can say that while they appear to survive, they do not appear to be happy.  

How often have you looked at the people I describe above with sadness or disdain?  For most of us, it is one or the other.  If so, maybe we need to take a closer and different look.  It is likely we will change our attitudes. No one should feel embarrassed about the way they look if they are the victim of an unfortunate birth, mental illness, or accident and lack the ability to smile.  On the other hand, those who pretend for the purpose of getting money are to be pitied.  They have no sense of personal responsibility for their own happiness.




Look at news stories about those the Tim Tebow Foundation helps.  Over 90,000 people worldwide participate in this event, and all that I noticed were happy.  Are they happy all of the time?  That is doubtful, but neither are we. One thing I am sure of is that they look forward to this annual event, as do the hundreds of thousands who prepare for and assist in its conduct.

The Many Facets of Successful AgingYesterday, I attended a luncheon to celebrate the birthday of my Sunday school class teacher.  We started talking about age. Many of us expressed ownership of ancestors who lived to be over 100 along with the hope that we might also live that long.  Seated across from me was a woman who spoke up, “I am 90 years old.” We were all surprised because she hardly looked 70.  She admitted to taking a baby aspirin a day (a blood thinner to prevent clots) and no other medications.  She was not the only healthy looking, aging woman in the room, and I was proud to see so many there who were happy with being who and where they were in life, regardless of evident disability in a few.


Are You Aging Successfully?

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
― George Bernard Shaw


Considering the subjective and objective opinions and measurements of the characteristics of successful aging, we can safely say that one can be disabled and be living successfully simultaneously, so the age-old definition as stated above is defunct and certainly out of place.

I have written about many characteristics of successful aging before, such as our appearance, self-image, sleep habits, employment, need for caregivers, mental acuity, education, finance, vacationing, and volunteering; however, I will be adding more to these and talking about new things.  Please see my blog for these.

It is important to note that worrying about being successful in your aging is not going to get you there.  You need to plan for it, but don’t look at it as planning to be old. Look at it as enjoying being older, as another extension or phase of your life.  Learn to accept those limitations that you absolutely cannot overcome.  Not doing so is futile.  Be the woman you want to be in your own way. Don’t ever stop laughing.  That will be your bet for successful aging.

I would like very much to hear if you have any comments on this post including your own experiences and how you are dealing with those.










Remove the Difficulty from Starting Over

Some people are blessed with not having to concern themselves with too much change in life. Everything has pretty much gone their way. Others might have gotten married and remained that way until one raised the question of divorce. Or one spouse lost another to accident or illness. Or the family lost a child. Maybe you lost a job. A new beginning for some followed a tumultuous life in one of the armed forces


Chess symbolizes the transforming of our mind.


where they served in a war-torn country with a possible loss of limb, brain damage, and fellow soldier, or the ability to return to a normal life without consistent medical care and or mental health treatment. Addiction is another issue that is touching families all over this country. How does one go forward from all of this? One learns to remove the difficulty from starting over! We learn to relish the opportunity. It is never too late, even when faced with a terminal illness.  Please do not infer that the above image means that life is only a game. Life is actually a series of games, plays, and choices to be made over and over. One day we lose and the next we win!

“It hurts, because we wanted a different outcome, but then we make it hurt even worse by creating a narrative around what happened. So, instead of creating that debilitating narrative, I think we’re better served realizing that now, we have an opportunity to pivot – to take our life in a different direction.”
Chris Hill

Going Forward

Start over with determination and courage.Yes! You can do it. You can take on a new and different armor by redefining yourself. So, you ask how? And no, it is not that simple. The first thing you have to do is to look at your situation as a definite opportunity for a new beginning and rejoice in that. Remember how it felt to get that job that was so important to you? That was the feeling of success! That feeling is always waiting for you especially when you fail at something.

Failure at anything is simply another opportunity for success. Yesterday you failed, perhaps through no fault of your own, and tomorrow you will achieve success. Remove all of that blame and guilt  and attach achievement to the situation. The next question is how am I going to go forward when quitting would be easier for me? Admit that you are

  • at an impasse.
  • going to put the past where it belongs.
  • ready to move forward and will use any help you can to get there.
  • sad for now but that you will get over it.

How to Move Forward


Death is different to each person, and it is almost impossible to accept one person’s instructions on how to deal with it. Your relationship with the individual largely determines this. Most of us have friends and other family members who have been in this situation,  and these are the ones we are most likely to turn to. Very often, they think that they have all of the answers. Unfortunately, well-meaning people think they know what you are going through. Some ways to avoid this are:

  • If you do have a friend or relative who listens without giving a lot of advice, that would be a good person to speak to.
  • If you are a religious person, get some recommendations for pastors or other church leaders to speak with.
  • Seek organizations that have a grief sharing meeting on a scheduled basis.
  • Seek counseling. Some counselors see clients individually and conduct a grief group.
  • Ideas are produced for starting over in journals.Audio books can be helpful and are much easier to listen to than to read.
  • Start a journal about your loved one. Define the relationship you had. If it was a great one, write why. Include some pictures of the two of you together. If not always a pleasant relationship, write about that as well, but add why you’re struggling with that. If you wish, write about all of those things you feel guilty about. When finished, you hopefully will want to ask yourself for forgiveness and let it all go, remembering only the good things. When you are tempted to revisit your guilt in this relationship, also revisit your request for forgiveness.

“Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.”

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, The 13th Sign


Downhearted following job loss. Move on with determination.Losing a Job

Whether it be because you had to quit or because you were fired, the results can be the same. Our identities can easily get wrapped up with our job sometimes. Losing a job can be similar to experiencing death; however, it can also be invigorating if you were having difficulties on the job. Regardless of the reason, try looking at it as an opportunity for starting over.

“There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes it’s meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.”

Piper Payne

Consider starting something new when looking for a job. Constructing a resume to include all the things you are capable of that can be applied to a workplace can be very helpful. Apply for as many as possible, even those that seem to be a stretch. Often, the job scenarios are standard and don’t really depict the position accurately. Look forward to the new you. Maybe it’s the person you always wanted to be. Maybe it is the fulfillment of a goal to be someone you would be happy to settle for now.

Fear runs our lives. It doesn’t matter who you are. You have to understand your relationship with fear. Whether you’re scared of getting into a relationship; or taking the new job; or a confrontation – you have to size fear up. Chris Pine

Read more at:…

Life After Traumatic Injury or Illness
If you learn that you have a terminal illness, take a close look at the many who have gone before you, especially those brave men in politics like John McCain, Ted Kennedy, etc. They fought a brave fight doing what they loved best, helping others. The following also faced death and did so with dignity, courage and resign: Elizabeth Edwards, Patrick Swayze, and Steve Jobs. And then there are those who are suffering from Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s. You know who they are and you see them fighting. Most of these people had or have hope–the kind that hopes for the ability to make every day count in some way.

A comment from an NIH project report:

“I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and facing life as it comes to me. I don’t worry about dying. It’s coming and I just don’t want to rush it.”

Recovering from an illness or traumatic event is different. It becomes a matter of rediscovery, healing, acquiring new coping skills, and making huge adjustments. Your friends treat you differently sometimes. Please take a look at this short video for some perspective on what these people go through and learn how you might be helpful in their lives.


Most of us have faced some form of starting over in our lives for various reasons. And in no way should that be diminished. It happened, you have suffered, and the future is better than you think. Make it the most meaningful future for yourself and those around you. Be grateful for what you have had. If you are having problems now, look at your event as a blank slate, an opportunity to reinvent. Turn a sorrowful event into an enjoyable journey, improving your life and inspiring others. I did not cover divorce and addiction in this article but will address those in the future. My wish is that you will seek the help you need, whether it be from family, friends, organizations, church leaders, or mental health professionals.

“Sometimes life requires more of you than you have to give & demands you plunge into the reinvention of yourself if you truly wanna live.”

Curtis Tyrone Jones


I would like to hear from my readers, find out if they were helped by this article, and learn about their experiences with starting over. Please use the comment section below for these things and to make suggestions to others on this important subject.


Is Buying Anti-Aging Creams Confusing for You?



is-buying-anti-aging-creams-confusing-for-youBuying anti-aging creams and serums has become a complicated process today due to the variety available and their misuse. By misuse, I am referring to how they are made. For example, did you know that antioxidants perform better when used with retinoids and sunscreens? Is buying anti-aging creams is confusing for you?  If so,  my purpose is to explain some of the terms used in articles about the skin and clear up some of that confusion you might have about using products.

Antioxidants comprise one of the two main categories of product additives which include the following:

  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Polyphenols/Flavonoids

As a group, antioxidants decrease the deterioration of collagen and reduce free radicals.

Retinoids better known as vitamin A or retinol are part of the second group called cell regulators. Products from either group can produce results in skin appearance, but work much better when used together with a sunscreen.


Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is known for its ability to regenerate cells and maintain cell metabolism.  It has also been shown to increase the elastin in the skin, reduce redness, and aid in removing or diminishing discolorations.  In another study, a concentration of 5% niacinamide was applied to half the face of 50 women with additional results of improving wrinkles, fine lines, yellowing and hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin).  Examples of natural food sources of B3 are chicken and turkey breasts, tuna, and liver.


Tuna is a source of vitamin B3.


Vitamin C

You don’t hear much about Vitamin C being used for the skin, yet a number of research studies have confirmed that it is an important anti-aging product.  Vitamin C has many benefits including its use after surgery to heal wounds and build scar tissue.  It also strengthens cartilage, teeth, and bones.  Oral Vitamin C is also used as a matter of routine by women who are aging because their bodies do not process it as well.   Another important aspect of Vitamin C is that it is safe to use with other anti-aging agents including sunscreens, alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin E and retinol.

Vitamin C’s ability to produce collagen is one reason for its incorporation in a number of anti-aging creams together with other ingredients shown to be effective in improving the skin’s appearance. As we age, collagen production goes down. Skin products are only as good as the percentages of the ingredients needed to produce good effects. You want to achieve at least 5% of Vitamin C.


Oranges are a source of vitamin C.


When you review products for Vitamin C you should realize that not all of these products are effective because they do not reach through the skin as needed, nor do they transform the necessary components of Vitamin C into the skin.  Those agents you most likely will find in an ingredient’s statement for Vitamin C are magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), which prevents water and collagen loss, and ascorbyl 6 palmitate, which destroys free radicals, and ascorbyl phosphate, which aids in the transport of agents through the skin.


Tomatos are another source of vitamins C and E.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an important additive to skin creams and serums.  It acts as an anti-inflammatory and combats the proliferation of free radicals which cause skin damage.  This vitamin has not been widely studied for its application to anti-aging products; however, it is well known to encourage wound healing.  When applied to the outer layer of the skin, it enhances moisture retention and smooths the skin.  Vitamin E is not as effective as Vitamins C or B3 and works best when used with Vitamin C.  It is extracted from tomatoes, avocados, other fruits and vegetables, and some grains.  Please see my Review section for a product that contains both vitamins C and E along with Ferulic Acid.


Avocados are a source of many vitamins, particularly C and E for the skin.


Polyphenols are derived largely from fruits such as pomegranates, grapes, and kiwi, vegetables, grains, green tea, coffee and red wine.   Products utilizing this antioxidant source are harder to find. While it has been around for quite a while as an anti-aging agent, one of the polyphenols, ferulic acid, has become more popular when used in combination with vitamins C and E.  Ferulic acid is extracted from the membranes of oranges, rice, peanuts, wheat and other foods.  If was found by Duke University to act as a sunscreen and to prevent wrinkles.



A source of ferulic acid for the skin.


Cell Regulators

Vitamin A

Cell regulators include Vitamin A derivatives, polypeptides, and botanicals that work on the metabolism of cells and induce the production of elastin and collagen.  The primary vitamin A version we will discuss here is one used in over-the-counter anti-aging creams and serums–retinol.  The more potent form of retinol, tretinoin, can cause severe skin irritation and is used by dermatologists.  If you are considering seeing a dermatologist, using an over-the-counter product with retinol is recommended beforehand, as that will give you the opportunity to test it on your skin.

Vitamin A in the form of topical retinol used at .04% was effective in a study done with senior citizens and was found to increase collagen and moisture in the skin after a 24-week trial.  They concluded that topical retinol was effective in improving wrinkles through increasing collagen production and water retention in the skin. Interestingly, they also found that skin treated with retinol was “more likely to withstand skin injury and ulcer formation.”



In a study reported by NIH the number, length, and depth of wrinkles was markedly improved by the application of a gel with 3% collagen-like hexapeptide and 1% booster molecule twice a day for four weeks.

Peptides are gaining in popularity and can be identified in the ingredients statements under several names:

  • Octapeptide – improves the appearance of lines.
  • Palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl 3000) – aids in absorption and reduces the size of wrinkles.
  • Acetyl hexapeptide (Argireline)  – relaxes facial muscles which in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles

Peptides come from broken strands of collagen called amino acids—the active molecules and small proteins.


Represents amino acids.



Yes, shopping for skin care products is very confusing.  An important thing to know is that you should look at the ingredients statements for items that represent those I have discussed.  While it does not generally tell you how much of an agent is included, it does list them in descending order of strength.  If the agents you are looking for are at the end of a long list, move on to another product.  You want them closer to the middle. Sometimes, the actual percentages are shown near the item name.  If there is anything you would like to add to my post or say about it, please use the Comments section below for that.  I am open to suggestions and discussion.

Please enjoy this youtube video to learn some more tips from one of the best in the dermatology field:

What Does it Take to Feel Good About Yourself: Your Self-Image

Why would anyone want to improve an already good thing? The most obvious answer is that there is always room for improvement. Yes, you have heard it many times. Truth is that while we think we reveal positive self-images, other people don’t always see us as we see ourselves. Sometimes, we believe we have attributes that we really don’t have, and we believe it so sincerely, there is no telling us otherwise. That alone is a good reason for assessing ourselves and trying to determine how we come across to others; however, there are other reasons.  So, what does it take to feel good about yourself:  your self-image?

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.     

Margaret Sanger

It takes determination and curiosity for change.Why Would We Want to Change?

Jennifer Crittenden has written a wonderful book, You, Not I: Exceptional Presence, where she defines presence as “the ability to manage the perceptions of others through our observable behaviors.” Further, she notes that changing our behaviors to display credibility, authenticity, and trust is extremely important in demonstrating our “potential to get noticed, be promoted, and improve your financial compensation.”

Other reasons for wanting to change would include wanting to feel that we are accepted in a group, wanting to reach that stage of authenticity where we no longer worry about how we look to others, and wanting to feel comfortable in any environment with the ability to demonstrate that “I am in control of my life.” .

Barton Goldsmith emphasizes a number of helpful ideas about making the changes necessary to possess and portray a more positive self-image. One of my favorites is to refuse to get insulted. Dr. Goldsmith says that you need to consider where the supposed insult came from and ignore the issue if you decide its origin lies with that individual. Don’t react. If that person thinks he has a legitimate reason for insulting you, he has a responsibility to share that with you.

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Coco Chanel

Building self-confidence is up to you.What Goes into One’s Self-Image

Below is a list of many of those things that make up our self-image.

  • Behavior
  • Attitude
  • Personality
  • Scholastic achievement
  • Credibility
  • Occupation
  • Physical self-body image
  • Feelings about self
  • Authenticity
  • Skills
  • Hobbies

When you look at these, you realize that there are many things that might possibly fit into the change category for you.  You want to look at them as changes that would help you to feel better about yourself. Some of them likely have been gnawing at you. You will also come up with some items not listed. Sometimes we allow those missing items to hold us back.  So ask yourself, “What is my problem?”

Generally, all of those things that you have accomplished contribute to your overall self-assessment and without even telling people about your background, you can radiate success through your attitude, behaviors, and personality. Not surprisingly, feeling better about yourself leads to an improved aura. You obviously feel more comfortable and people notice that.  They enjoy being around you more.

If you are retired, occupation is not a concern, but staying busy and productive in areas like volunteering, mentoring, and just belonging to a group can be very stimulating.  Body image may not be a concern during the latter stages of your life, except for the health angle.  You might also say, “why worry about skills?”  Skills keep your mind going.  The theme of this website is all about successful aging, and improvement in any area certainly contributes to further personal growth and extended life.

Knowledge of other people’s beliefs and ways of thinking must be used to build bridges, not to create conflicts. Kjell Magne Bondevik

Continue the work of building your self-image.

 The bridge for an improved self-image is going down–simply put, it is not an uphill challenge to effect change.

How to Work on Change

You might find it helpful to keep a journal of your activities.  Make a list of all of the things you know you do well. Then make a list of those things you want to change about yourself, setting realistic goals for getting to where you want to be. Record your successes and your final achievement of each goal, stating what you did and why it was important to you. Mountain State Centers for Independent Living has a website to further assist you in this endeavor.

1. Do not exaggerate. This is something most of us are prone to do because we think it sounds good to others. Deep down we feel guilty because we know we misrepresented the truth.

2. Maintain a positive attitude. This can be difficult, especially if you have come through a life of having negative events. Remember that you are past these now and that you have gotten what is important from them to help you.

3. Understand that none of us is perfect and be willing to be honest with people when you make a mistake. Often, an apology will do.

4. Don’t stay awake at night beating yourself up because you might have done the wrong thing.

5. Refuse to feel bad about things you have no control over.

6. When you recognize a fault you want to repair, practice the right things to do and encourage yourself.  Google it and see what others are doing about it.  Work with a friend and ask them to take note of those changes as they occur.  Believe in yourself and your ability to execute change.

If you want to get deeper into improving your self-image try the Cleveland Clinic.

Think about your self-development always.Summary

Very often we do not think about improving the way we think about ourselves and how others view us until we get caught in a situation where our performance is important. Whether we want to get what we believe we are entitled to or just put off a persistent salesperson, we need to feel and look confident. It could be buying a house or car, speaking in front of a homeowners’ association, or advocating for change for something we feel passionate about in the community. We want to be able to do our best.

Helping Caregivers that Help Seniors Aging in Place​

Importance of Volunteer Caregivers—Financially

The value of caregivers is underestimated and unappreciated.Based on a recent article in WebMD, caregivers are saving the U.S. Government–that is, you, the taxpayers–a whopping $470 billion a year. Caregivers come from all areas, but the most astonishing source is from children, ages 8-18, many of whom have had to quit school. This group represents 22% of volunteer caregivers. Forty percent are men, and 33 percent are women. (The Invisible Workforce, by Lisa Marshall) Helping caregivers that help aging seniors aging in place and other sick individuals to stay with their loved ones is very important.

That $470 billion is an amazing figure that gives rise to the thought of what the government is doing with this huge savings. To further give you an idea of how large this saving is, the National Respite Coalition reports that in 2009, the estimated value of 42.1 million caregivers for adults was $450 billion a year and that this figure was more than Medicaid spent in 2009. Adding four to eight million more caregivers for children increased the total saved the taxpayers an additional $50 to 100 billion. When we think of caregivers, we think of seniors getting too old to take care of themselves. We don’t realize the large number of people in this country with diseases from the following categories that require care. Please note that this list does not include all forms of cancer nor does it include severe mental illnesses other than depression:

  • Suffering from a serious illness.Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Brain Tumor
  • Dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy Bodies
  • Depression
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • HIV-associated Neurocognitive Dementia (HAND)
  • Huntington’s
  • Hypoxic-Anoxic Brain Injury
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Children's caregivers need help too.Parkinson’s Disease
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Vision Loss & Blindness
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

This list of illnesses comes from Family Caregiver Alliance, the oldest organization in this country for caregivers. Their statistics show that 80% of people diagnosed with these illnesses are cared for by their family members. But back to that $470 billion.  It would behoove us to insist that that amount of money be set aside for health issues and anything related to caring for the sick and the elderly.  This might mean our foreign aid would be reduced, but we have really been fighting that issue for a long time, haven’t we?

Caregivers – Family Member or Paid Employee

Family Members

According to Joseph Matthews, an attorney with, assistance is available in some states for paying a low-income client or in some cases one where there is “slightly too much income or assets to qualify for Medicaid” the same amount of money that would be paid for help through a certified home care agency. The recipient can use this money to pay his caregiver, whether it be a spouse or a child. Children who are considering reducing their hours or quitting their jobs should consult the site further for information on how they might be paid for providing their help to a parent. See if your state has a Cash and Counseling program by contacting the Medicaid office in your area. Mr. Matthews has written two books on this subject for those who are trying to make plans for long-term care. One of those is Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for it: This book is available from and is shown below for ordering from them. Those who have rated it did so with five stars!

Paid Caregivers

We need better understanding of caregivers' roles.

Every time I see an article about caregiving, I want to cry, regretting that I did not take care of my mother. Others told me that she needed 24/7 care, but I believe she could have been kept in her own home with just me there. Not that I am special, but I had training in caring for older and dying people that would have facilitated my taking care of her. I also believe that she would have lived a lot longer and with happier days. I was too easily swayed to go along with the prevailing opinions, but if I had to do it over again, I would seek help on how I might adequately care for my mother and save myself at the same time.

The decision to place her in a nursing home came too soon after her confinement for rehabilitation following repair of a broken hip. The rehab staff made the decision within 24 hours of her admission. She actually appeared to have no hope and no desire to do anything to get better after that decision.  She had been given a drug to calm her that actually caused her to act inappropriately. This changed when the medication was changed.

If this happens to you, try to discuss it with family members properly, pointing out that you, too, have a stake in your loved one’s care, that you have a voice, and that all family members should be satisfied that they are doing the right thing:

  • Postpone the decision to put someone in a nursing home with all members acting together to provide temporary or better permanent care.
  • They need to assure themselves that they are in agreement.
  • They need to be interested in learning about other avenues of care.
  • Each person should question their own motive which sometimes includes thinking they know best, not wanting to take responsibility for their loved one, not wanting to be outdone by a family member who might be willing to make the sacrifice to care for the loved one, or wanting to exert power over another.
  • Erroneous thoughts need to be disproved with second opinions.

Love for gardening even at 94.My mother had been doing what she loved best—caring for her flowers outdoors when she fell backward onto a concrete stepping stone. Forty-four million people are taking care of their loved ones in their own home. That is 13.6% of our current population. I have come to believe it is the single most important thing we can do for our loved ones whenever it is possible. Why do I say that?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, abuse is admittedly occurring in nursing homes and in assisted living facilities on a large scale. Please review the two-page report on the types of abuse, particularly the pie charts which show very little variation between nursing homes and assisted living facilities, except in financial exploitation and resident-to-resident abuse, where the latter is higher and the resident abuse is lower in the assisted living facilities, as you might guess.  Also, please see the best and most extensive article I could find on elder abuse, especially for the list of how seniors or residents are mistreated.  These are things we just don’t think about, such as changing soiled underwear or brushing their teeth.

I was recently confined for physical therapy following back surgery. I arrived there on a Friday afternoon and by Saturday afternoon, I was ready to leave. On Monday at 8 am, I called my doctor’s office, begging them to have me discharged. My doctor contacted the doctor in the facility who visited me and assured me that I should be ready for discharge by Wednesday. I needed more physical therapy. He also assured me that he would write some orders that should improve the care I had been getting. The revised orders did little to improve the delivery of pain medication, but the physical therapy was a pleasure to look forward to. That is the only thing that got me through that five days. Sure enough, the doctor arrived early Wednesday afternoon, and I was gone within 30 minutes. This occurred after the director of the rehabilitation area informed me the day before that because she had not received 48 hours notice, I would not be leaving. Three of many of my observations were:

1. The food was awful. The watery consistency of cream of wheat and grits with no seasoning is a prime example of what was available. My diet was a regular one. The best meal was the last meal, which I am sure surfaced as a result of a visit by the dietitian the day before.

2. Staff would make excuses for not doing their jobs. Unfortunately, they worked 12-hour shifts, and you could find them sleeping in the middle of the night in the lobby and dining area. They worked harder at covering for each other when one was not to be seen anywhere.

3. During my last night there, my roommate told the nurse that her pacemaker was shocking her. While the nurse acknowledged hearing this, she did nothing about it. About 7:45 am–before breakfast–an occupational therapist came to get me for therapy. It was a short day for him and he wanted to get it over with. Fortunately, he noticed my roommate shaking uncontrollably. Our beds were separated by a curtain. He called the staff, my roommate lost consciousness, use of the crash cart was required, a doctor arrived on the scene, and my roommate was transported to the hospital next door. No one could give me any information on how she fared.

Six weeks after my discharge, I received a survey for completion about the rehab/nursing home from an independent source. I completed it with pleasure. You might say that my encounter was an isolated incident, but it was not. I talked to friends who had relatives there with the same or similar stories and I read the nursing home reviews on the Internet. People might also say, “What do you expect, you are getting free care?” Wrong. I have paid the deduction for Medicare since its inception. Along with the rest of you on Medicare, I pay the newly increased amount of $134.00 per month for Part B of Medicare that includes considerable deductions, depending on which Medicare advantage plan you select.

Need help for caregivers assisting Alzheimer's victims.Research Regarding Mistreatment in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

It must be difficult to generate studies that prove what I am saying, except maybe by surveys, but I believe more are necessary. Those that have been done are not being acted on quickly enough. Medicare needs to improve the way their approved institutions take care of their residents. Employers need the funds to provide employees with proper training, and the training should be enforced in the work environment. Yes, this enforcement would cost extra money to have someone available for each shift to properly supervise, halt improper activities, and report what employees are doing if they fail to follow through on their instructions. Additionally, I believe cameras should be utilized in each area where staff and residents see each other.

The government needs to find out what makes paid caretakers tick. Why do they abuse their patients and residents? In many areas, they are actually demanding $15 an hour to care for people, while many with college educations don’t make that.  Home health agencies benefit the most from sending out paid volunteers who very often make their own rules that sometimes amount to fraud.  Stricter laws need to be enacted for those who mistreat the sick or those at the end of their life. Sick people are hardly able to fight back, and many would rather die than to have to be in an institution where they get the care they do not deserve.


Represents billions saved by caregivers.

What Should Medicare do with the Billions saved by Caregivers?

Capture the gain and spend it to improve the training and care of volunteer caregivers, not to mention provide them stipends. Most of them have given up a job or school, reduced their retirement benefits, lost their hospitalization, and lost a significant part of their own life to care for a loved one. As Lisa Marshall[1] points out, some government entities have begun counseling for individuals and families of caregivers, support groups, and other services, but this is not available in all states. Caregivers increase their chances of acquiring dementia after taking care of spouses with the same illness. They also acquire more heart disease, depression, and anxiety than non-caregivers. This will eventually cost them and the government additional funds.

With the number of possible caregivers declining for family members due to declining family size, more are going to be forced to go to institutions, where they are not going to get good care. The attitudes toward older people and those with serious illnesses should be changed. Rather than being looked at as individuals destined to die at any moment, they should be revered as people who have earned the right to die as peacefully as possible and with dignity.


If you are thinking about becoming a caregiver, please review the caregiver training available for those uncomfortable about taking care of a loved one or those thinking about becoming a CNA.  This training is provided on site in schools and colleges and online through schools, organizations, and YouTube videos. One example of a YouTube video is this one of a series taught by Family Caregiver Alliance.

I encourage you to come up with your own ideas and either post them in the comments section below, forward them to your congressmen and women, join nonprofit organizations to advocate for the sick, elderly, and caregivers, or all of the above.  See below for another excerpt from an important series of taking care of those with dementia.

[1] The Invisible Workforce, WebMD, p. 82, Nov/Dec 2017.

How to Get Better Sleep for Healthy Aging

Sleeping through the night becomes more difficult as we age due to the increasing number of disorders prevalent in the latter stages of life. Conversely, not sleeping enough hours on a regular basis leads to a multitude of problems, some of which lead to disease, major changes in lifestyle, and reduced mortality. Getting better sleep for healthy aging should definitely be on your list of things to work on immediately.

To be always intending to make a new and better life but never to find time to set about it is as to put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day to the next until you’re dead. Og Mandino…

The Importance of Acknowledging Sleep Problems in Aging

Get better sleep for healthy agingSleep problems are easy to ignore.  You forget you have them until something goes wrong at work, your reflexes are slowed when driving, or your moods become irritable.  You are not easy to get along with and you forget that you really do have a sleep issue that needs to be dealt with.  What’s it going to take?  How about some more education to begin with.

I was proud of working 18 hours a day and sleeping three hours a night. It’s something now that has turned into a problem for me: not being able to sleep… having insomnia. Sean Combs

What Does Lack of Sleep Do?

Sleep deprivation is known to cause many problems. Two problems that are extremely significant to women are hypertension and the development of coronary heart disease. As noted in my article on dementia, 80% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were shown to have cardiovascular disease. That puts getting a sufficient amount of sleep at the top of your list of things to do to avoid cardiovascular disease and possibly Alzheimer’s. Getting enough sleep must be a priority to avoid a number of other problems as well, as revealed by various studies:

  •  Abnormal glucose tolerance in men and women (associated with diabetes)
  •  A  study of 5,500 showed that in men and women getting less than six hours sleep at night there was a 66% likelihood of getting hypertension compared to those who got from seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Presence of metabolic syndrome markers in those who were from 30 to 54 years old.
  • The immune system may be compromised, providing an opportunity for acquiring various diseases.

Mental problems cause sleep issues.Additionally, mental problems can arise as a result of not sleeping properly and cause additional issues at home, in your social environment, and at work. These include

  • Negative thinking
  • An inability to resolve problems
  • An inability to not only exercise tolerance of others but also feel empathy
  • Lacking or reduced impulse control
  • Depression
  • Headaches from stress



What is Normal Sleep for Older People?

Normal sleep patterns for older adults include changes in the traditional stages of sleep beginning with stages 1 and 2 where there is more than usual. In stages 3 and 4—slow wave sleep—there is a continuing decrease over time with total disappearance after 90, and in stage 5—that beautiful and calming REM sleep—there is a decrease that is compatible with a total sleep time decrease. This total sleep time was shown to be less as we age and to last about seven hours.

What Can Be Affecting Our Sleep


Can loafing cause sleep problems?


Unfortunately, older people have difficulty getting an average of seven hours of sleep. This can become chronic. There are many reasons for this, and among them are a number of mental and medical conditions including breathing problems, thyroid disease, heart failure, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, musculoskeletal diseases, spinal stenosis, and urinary problems.  At this point, you have probably picked up on the fact that some things that cause sleep problems are also caused by sleep problems, e.g. depression, anxiety, heart disease.  Those with certain mental illnesses, particularly those with anxiety, have difficulty sleeping.  People that worry have problems, as do people that drink alcohol before bedtime. Sure, the alcohol might help you get to sleep, but you are most likely to wake up a couple of hours into your sleep unable to sleep further.


What is the Ultimate Result of Sleep Deprivation

A Healthy Sleep article revealed that the health consequences of insufficient sleep in the long term, such as “diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease …may lead to a shortened life expectancy” and early death. It is also noteworthy that getting more than nine hours of sleep is unhealthy. Additionally, sleep loss can cause an increase in problems at work such as errors, productivity, and relations.

I’m very happy with my life. I am what I am. I don’t worry about anything that I can’t control. That’s a really good lesson in life. Tom Watson


 Sleeping is easy for some!Improve Your Ability to Sleep

  • Rather than fight sleep as in just gotta see that last TV program, go to bed when feeling sleepy or tired.
  • Try to maintain a routine for going to bed.
  • Turn off your television and electronic devices.
  • Don’t go to bed worrying about anything.
  • Concentrate on something positive.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine.
  • Talk to you doctor and get suggestions from him.
  • If anxiety, persistent worry, or being depressed is affecting your sleep, see a mental health counselor. Most mental health agencies funded by government funds provide therapy at a minimum cost. 
  • Try some white noise, such as a small fan that you can just hear, a CD with water bubbling in a stream, etc.
  • Look into manufactured devices, such as the one shown below, that help with sleep.
  • Plan activities before bedtime that relax you.
  • Avoid going to bed hungry.  I like a couple of crackers sometimes but especially if I ate a light supper.
  • Try Yoga.

In summary, it is obviously important to improve your sleep habits if you are not getting sufficient sleep.  As noted, a chronic lack of sleep can cause disease and affect your quality of life and length of life.  You will find that people don’t enjoy the consequences of your not having slept well.  They don’t deserve this and neither do you.  Please do something about it and please give me a comment below, letting me know if you have some tips for sleeping better.


The sleep aid device shown below appears to have helped people sleep.  Please check the device out on and see what they are saying about it.

No truer words!