A box marked “personal” and accomplishing life goals

Have you accomplished your life goals?

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Recently, I rummaged through a dusty old cardboard box marked “personal” looking for a couple of family obituaries I cut out of the newspaper years ago.  I wanted to add the obituary information to my online family tree.  In that old beat up box I found a faded, thin, pink booklet titled My Wonderful Mama written by my daughter as a young girl.  Inside the laminated, construction paper cover was near perfect printing in pencil on lined notebook paper.

The story told in this booklet began with a biography of me, followed by my “most outstanding memories (from) school” which included winning a number one rating in girls glee and in full choir at a state-wide competition.  It included my worst school subject (geometry) and my favorite (social studies).

The handwritten page in that little brad-bound booklet which struck me the most was the page she wrote about my “many goals as an adult.”  My daughter wrote, “They are:

  1. To make the world a better place for kids.

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  2. To advocate for kids.
  3. To hold public office.
  4. To improve public education.
  5. To get a college degree.
  6. Have a family and be a great mama.
  7. To be a great gardener.
  8. To have a kid.
  9. To be on a board of a non-profit organization.”

There they were, my life goals from my 20’s, staring up at me from the page.    

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Funeral planning for one last party

Occasionally, some of my lady friends (most over the age of 65) and I meet at the corner of the street in our quiet little neighborhood.  One day this summer, I was telling Flora and Lee about working on my will and funeral arrangements.  I shared with them that I thought funeral planning should be done with friends, kind of like the old Tupperware parties, with door prizes and snacks to make it more enjoyable.  We discussed cremation vs. burial and how I wanted my family to have a party to celebrate my life when I died.  Then Lee told me she had an interesting article she wanted me to read which discussed that very idea.  Here it is:

Image result for funeral images
huffingtonpost.co.uk

Planning for one last party

by Valerie McCullough for the Loveland Reporter-Herald

August 4, 2016

“How does one go about planning their own funeral?

That’s my question.

I’m perfectly healthy now, but when I read the obits of people decades younger than me, I realize it’s time to sketch some plans.

The actuarial table tells me I will live nine more years. I don’t know how they come up with these figures. I can’t imagine I have so many years left.

Besides in nine more years my mind may be too addled to plan anything.

On the other hand, another two years would be nice, so I can tear up the terrible cellphone contract I just signed

But if I live too long, the warranties on my two knee replacements will expire before I do.

So there’s no perfect time to die. But, trust me, it’ll happen. To all of us.

Our four daughters find my funeral planning ghoulish, but I know it will be easier on everyone to have plans in place ahead of time.”  Read more

According to the Funeral and Memorial Information Council, “In 2015, 69 percent of adults over the age of 40 indicated they would prefer to pre-arrange their own service; however, only 17 percent had made arrangements.”

Advocate for your health care

Hands of an older woman in the hospital
khn.org

How to fight for yourself at the hospital – and avoid readmission

by Judith Graham for Kaiser Health News

September 1, 2016

“Everything initially went well with Barbara Charnes’ surgery to fix a troublesome ankle. But after leaving the hospital, the 83-year-old soon found herself in a bad way.

Dazed by a bad response to anesthesia, the Denver resident stopped eating and drinking. Within days, she was dangerously weak, almost entirely immobile and alarmingly apathetic.

‘I didn’t see a way forward; I thought I was going to die, and I was OK with that,’ Charnes remembered, thinking back to that awful time in the spring of 2015.

Her distraught husband didn’t know what to do until a longtime friend — a neurologist — insisted that Charnes return to the hospital.

That’s the kind of situation medical centers are trying hard to prevent. When hospitals readmit aging patients more often than average, they can face stiff government penalties.

But too often institutions don’t take the reality of seniors’ lives adequately into account, making it imperative that patients figure out how to advocate for themselves.”

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Online dating scam – catfishing

Ever been a victim of an online dating scam?  I have, twice.  A neighbor told me to watch the MTV show called Catfish and I would learn all about it.  I did and was shocked people could be so cruel.  The Urban Dictionary defines it as, “Having a fake Facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings.”  Read the following article from the NextAvenue.org website for more information.

Flood of Romance Scams Defrauds Older Victims

One recent case is a textbook example of a crook posing as a loving boyfriend

by Steve Bakerromance scams

September 26, 2016

“Behind the headlines about online romance scams victimizing older women and men lie true stories with real victims and perpetrators.

A recent case in point: Olayinka Sunmola, a Nigerian citizen operating out of South Africa who posted fake profiles on a variety of dating sites, including Plenty of Fish, eHarmony and Match, to lure women. When representing himself, he used the real pictures of other people, often masquerading as an officer in the U.S. armed forces. Sunmola claimed he was widowed with a child, and a practicing Christian with a strong faith.

Anatomy of a Scam

After finding victims online, Sunmola, 33, quickly moved them off the dating sites to communicate through Yahoo chat, and attempted to explain his slight accent by claiming he was originally born in Italy or Greece. He spent weeks or months developing relationships with his victims, many of whom lived in Missouri or Illinois. Sunmola often sent them gifts such as flowers or chocolates, and then asked for small sums of money for supposed minor emergencies in order to test the waters with them.

The women were convinced they had found their true love and soul mate. In most cases, Sunmola assured them that they would be married in the near future.”

Read more at http://www.nextavenue.org/romance-scams-defraud-older-victims/

C. Steven Baker recently retired as director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Region in Chicago, a position he has held since 1988.

“Get the flu shot, even if you think you don’t need it”

What’s New for the Flu in 2016Learn what to do about the flu and why people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu.

Older adults have another option for the vaccine this year

by Emily Gurnon

October 19, 2016

“You probably know that the flu vaccine is a little different each year. Manufacturers alter it to make it as close a ‘match’ to the currently circulating viruses as possible. There are some other changes you should be aware of for the 2016 flu season, too. But the most important thing to know, experts say, is: Get the flu shot, even if you think you don’t need it.

‘The more people that get the vaccine, the better it is for everybody — and in the process, you protect yourself,’ said Dr. Jesse T. Jacob, associate professor of medicine at Emory University and hospital epidemiologist at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Atlanta.

Potentially Deadly

The flu can be a very serious illness, especially for those 65 and over and for children. About 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in those 65 and older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Over three decades between 1976-1977 to 2006-2007, the flu and associated illnesses like pneumonia killed between a low of 3,000 and a high of 49,000 people per season, according to the CDC. Exact numbers are not known, because states are not required to report influenza deaths in adults.”

Read more at http://www.nextavenue.org/whats-new-flu-in-2016/

“Bottom line: Don’t risk letting yourself get sick, and don’t be the source of an illness for someone else. Get vaccinated.

To find out which shots are available in your area, go to Vaccine Finder and type in your location.”

Emily Gurnon is Senior Content Editor covering health and caregiving for Next Avenue. She previously spent 20 years as a newspaper reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area and St. Paul.

Common sleep disorders as we age

Image result for elderly sleep disorders imagesSome of my neighbors and I were discussing the difficulties of getting enough sleep as we age, so I decided to do a little research on common sleep disorders:

In an article titled Sleep Disorders in Older People (Age and Ageing 2002) author Joseph Harbison revealed these key points:

  • Sleep disorders are very common in older people, particularly those living in long-term care, and may be markers for other diseases.
  • Doctors are sometimes unaware of the propensity for commonly used drugs to cause sleep disturbance.  Insomnia is often multifactorial in elderly people.
  • Benzodiazepines should be used to treat insomnia only when it is severe, disabling, or subjecting the individual to extreme distress.  Try non-pharmacological method instead.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias, and sleep related movement disorders are all common amongst older people and are often easily treated.
  • Older people should be warned that they need longer to adjust to long haul flights.

Read the full report and see a table of Commonly Used Drugs Causing Insomnia and Sleep Disturbance

From the Center of Retirement Research…Medicare Benefits

Medicare Enrollment Help is PlentifulImage result for medicare images

October 13, 2016

“Open enrollment starts Oct. 15 for people who’ve signed up for Medicare benefits and must buy into or change their supplemental Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans.

The Medicare Rights Center in New York tells me that you can ‘make as many changes as you need during this period’ and that ‘only your last coverage choice will take effect Jan. 1.’

A long list of resources appears at the end of this blog to help Medicare beneficiaries through the enrollment process. But there’s a lot of hoopla around the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 enrollment period, so it’s important to know what Oct. 15 is not about.

One’s birthday – and not a date on the calendar – determines when people should initially enroll in the Medicare program. Most people turning 65 who are not covered by their own or their spouse’s employer health insurance at work are required to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during a seven-month period that starts three months prior to their 65th birthday. During this seven-month window, new Medicare participants must also sign up for their Part D drug plans – or risk paying a lifelong penalty. Oct. 15 is not the trigger date for selecting Medigap plans either.”

Read more at http://squaredawayblog.bc.edu/squared-away/medicare-enrollment-help-is-plentiful/?shareadraft=baba14345_57eaaf8795dfa

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