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Ah, the joys of fall, the chill in the air, the holidays... and Medicare open enrollment. OK, maybe thoughts of Medicare Part D plans do not bring the same warm and fuzzy feelings. Do not despair; the folks at Good Neighbor Pharmacy can help.
The Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging has hired an experienced nonprofit executive with a track record of successful capital campaigns to take over as the new executive director of the SCV Senior Center.
Everyone wants to have a gorgeous home, but making your house safe should be a priority.
As more seniors "age in place" with the assistance of loved ones, community support services or professional caregivers (or, ideally, all three), it becomes increasingly important for everyone in a community - senior or otherwise - to recognize the special needs of our aging population.
The recession may be ending, but not for many of our seniors in need. Older Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for essential items such as food, gas and medicine, not to mention utilities such as heating, cooling or phone service.
"The most important gift to a senior is time," reminds Geneva Knoles, CSA and director of Visiting Angels (263-2273). "Some seniors have difficulty getting out into the community, so they miss out on many festive activities. Offer to take a senior who no longer drives to go shopping, invite them to a festive music event or church function, or bring baking supplies and keep them company while baking some holiday treats," she suggests.
"Who's baby is that?," my 83-year-old grandmother asks, for the sixth time in as many minutes. "That's Olive, Grandma. She's my baby," I say, hoping that my grab bag of emotions - sadness, frustration, worry - are not evident in my repeated response.

Just three years ago my grandmother and I would have hours-long conversations about topics ranging from childrearing to investing. Now we talk about the weather. A lot.
As people grow older, things change. Some changes are simple (bifocals!); others are more time consuming. Still, there's no change more important than making sure that a senior's environment is safe. Luckily, most improvements can be made in a day or less, and at very little cost.
Whether due to advanced age, cognitive impairment, illness or injury, most people will eventually need some form of in-home care and assistance.

Fortunately, our community has numerous in-home care professionals that specialize in providing screened, bonded and insured in-home caregivers. Eager to assist families in need, they're also dedicated to ensuring the safest and highest quality care giving.
One of my favorite stories of the holiday season, besides "It's a Wonderful Life" (of course), is that of Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim and the ghosts - oh, yes, the ghosts - of Christmas Past. Every year the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier and in September I saw a display with an upside-down Christmas tree. I think the clerk noticed me, as I was practically standing on my head to figure out this oddity. Yes, I was reassured, people do buy them.
I saw a poster in a store today that read, "Be Patient with Me, God is Still at Work." I began to think about patience, tolerance and this whole "maturing" thing. I find as I get older that I'm more patient and less tolerant, the antithesis of youth and years gone by. As children, patience eludes us. On road trips, how many times were our long-suffering parents asked, "Are we there yet?" We wanted something and we wanted it right then. So characteristic of youth! A friend asked me to define the difference between patience and tolerance. Here's my take on things: Tolerance is acknowledging the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be.
I never used to have this boisterous laugh. For years it was a soft, quiet giggle; "feminine," totally unobtrusive and decidedly not the "real" me. Thankfully, as years go by, I have slowly developed a from-my-belly-through-the-depths-of-my-soul kind of laugh. It's a I-don't-give-a-darn-what-I-sound-like type of laugh. It's the kind of laugh that makes other people laugh. But most importantly, it's the kind of laugh that feels good. Growing up the l-word meant "love" or "like." I can remember childhood girlfriends talking about the l-word, usually in reference to their beloveds (whether the lucky gents knew about it or not is another story).
You've got competition! Soccer Grandmas and Grandpas are lining the sidelines at every game and their numbers are growing. And if you think parents of soccer kids are obnoxious, overbearing and over exuberant, you ain't seen nothin' unless you've seen Soccer Grams. I speak from personal experience. I am a proud Soccer Gram, complete with pom poms and racing sneakers (no one sprints the line like I do).
What a difference between my first trip to "the continent" 16 years ago and my trip to Italy a few months ago. Alas, I'm getting older; at least that's what my body tells me when it fails to regulate itself and I am forced to go in search of a farmacia to remedy the problem. I guess I thought I would have the same energy as days gone by and certainly had a rude awakening. There I was, an antiquity among antiquities.
There is nothing cute about caregiving. It is the number- reason for work loss in today's economy, representing billions of dollars in lost time and wages. The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old Baby Boomer woman with some college education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring for her mother who lives nearby. According to a recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, it was found that there are 44.4 million Americans age 18 and older providing unpaid care to an adult, with the average length of caregiving being 4.3 years.
I'm so tired of all the "bah humbug" that goes on this time of year. Enough about the materialism of Christmas; it's a reality, but doesn't have to necessarily interfere with the way we choose to celebrate. The nicest thing about aging (yes, it does have its benefits) is that we have so much of the past to draw upon. Here are some memories and wisdom I've accumulated through the years. You don't have to have a lot to give a lot. Dad was in school under the GI Bill and graduated when I was 4. Mom used all of her talents as a former home economics teacher to make aprons, placemats and the like out of flour sacks. Back then, flour came in printed cotton bags that served multiple uses.
I could have entitled this "The Art of Doing Nothing," but it's too structured and too precise. Doin' nuthin' is just that; it's like the feeling that comes with reading, "Huck Finn floatin' down the lazy meandering river, doin' nuthin'." See what I mean? There have been volumes written on relaxation. In today's society filled with hustle and bustle, it's approaching an art form. Most of us don't tune out the world and just relax. It's not because we don't want to, but that we have lost the ability to zone out and totally rest.
At least once a week a well meaning friend sends me an e-mail on aging. It's bad enough I have to look at the ravages of aging every morning when I brush my teeth, let alone when I open my e-mail. I'm comforted by the thought that I'm not alone and that many of these vignettes are quite humorous, so I thought I would compile some of my favorites to share. Sit back, relax and let's take a trip down memory lane as we update some of our favorite 45s.
I recently attended my 40th high school reunion. Yes, that's 4-0, as in four decades since . About 45 of the 102 in our graduating class showed up and what an incredible time we had! I grew up in a small college town in northern New York - that's way northern, 30 miles from the St. Lawrence Seaway. We had winter eight months out of the year and spring, summer and fall the other four. The town looks like a Norman Rockwell painting and our youth had the makings for an Oscar Wilde play.
A very wise person once wrote that, "Change is inevitable except in vending machines." I now find myself in the throes of divorce (thus the name change) and have begun venturing out into the world of single boomers. Not surprisingly, I am in the company of multitudes. There are millions of people over 50 who are either widowed or divorced. Fifty years ago, being a single woman was commonly considered to be a death sentence; the poor soul was doomed to a life of spinsterhood after their husband died or (gasp) divorce occurred. Women generally didn't remarry.
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