Monthly Archives: January 2018

Facing Down the Biggest Fear of All

Senior woman gazes pensively into the distance while the sun sets behind her

5 ways to conquer your fear of death and age courageously (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Ken Druck for Next Avenue

(Editor’s note: This essay is part of a series from author and speaker Ken Druck, based on work in his book Courageous Aging, which is about how all people can make peace with, and find joy in, every stage of life.)

Our fear of death begins when we’re kids. Perhaps we had to face the mystifying idea of impermanence when a beloved pet, parent or grandparent died. The stark reality that this loved one was really gone — and gone forever, was both devastating and terrifying. From early childhood, when we’re introduced to the concept of “futureless-ness” — that is, old age and eventually death, there are few things as difficult for us to deal with. Facing down the fear of dying requires great strength, humility and spiritual fortitude. But, as you will see, it’s worth the effort. read more

Take the Time to Better Care for Yourself

Senior woman smiles while holding pencil and adjusting her reading glasses

7 steps to the self-care you need (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Ken Druck for Next Avenue

Becoming a smarter, stronger, more self-caring version of yourself is both freeing and empowering.

I recently discussed the concept of self-care and the ways to set yourself up for — and avoid sabotaging — the way you take emotional and physical care of yourself. After you agree that you are worthy of self-care and will overcome the factors you let stand in your way before, you’re ready to move forward with these seven steps to self-care:

Step  No. 1. Make the Decision to Change the Way You Take Care of Yourself read more

Keeping the Faith — Or Not

What to do if your adult child has a different spiritual path than you (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

By Elizabeth Fishel and Jeffrey Arnett for Next Avenue

Are we in the midst of a great religious recession?

A number of studies show that younger people are less religious than older people, and religiosity has declined with each successive generation. In the 2015 Pew Research Center report on religion and public life, 36 percent of 21- to 27-year-olds are classified as unaffiliated, a far higher proportion than among their parents’ (17 percent) or grandparents’ (11 percent) generations.

In extensive interviews with parents and their 18- to 29-year-olds for our book, Getting To 30: A Parent’s Guide to the 20-Something Years, we found that religious questioning is part of the identity explorations woven into this life stage. read more

Are You a Caregiver or Just a Good Child?

Son walks beside his aging father who uses a walker

The way you view your role makes a big difference (Photo credit: iStockphoto | Thinkstock)

By Nancy Mattia for Next Avenue

For some of us, middle age brings new opportunities — career reinvention, an empty nest, and time to pursue new interests. For millions of others, it brings the daunting and awkward responsibility of caring for an ailing parent. Nearly 10 million adults over age 50 give full- or part-time care to their parents in the United States, and their numbers are growing.

As a recent paper in the academic journal The Gerontologist put it, “the longevity of the relationships that baby boomers have with their parents and siblings is unprecedented,” and the generation “will witness unprecedented numbers of people who both provide care to the generation that preceded them and require care from the generation that will follow.” read more

How To Beat the Winter Blues

Vitamin D and bright lights really do work for seasonal affective disorder (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

By Emily Gurnon for Next Avenue

The official beginning of winter that arrived on Sunday, Dec. 21, marked the darkest day of the year. Around this time, some of us feel a familiar pall as the gloom outside seems to creep into our psyches.

Symptoms of depression that occur during the late fall and winter are known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. People who live in places with long winter nights are at particularly high risk for this malady. But there are ways to combat the suffering.

Bright Light Therapy

Therapy with a special high-intensity lamp has been proven to make a difference in brain chemistry, though scientists don’t know exactly why that happens, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). read more

What to Do About Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults

It often points to underlying health problems that deserve attention (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Leslie Kernisan, MD for Next Avenue

One of my readers recently sent in this question:

Q: My 88-year-old father lives in his own home about 100 miles from us. He’s been living alone since my mother died five years ago. I thought he looked rather thin last time we saw him. I’m starting to feel worried about his nutrition. Should I be concerned? Would you recommend he start drinking a supplement such as Boost or Ensure?

A: This question comes up a lot for families. It is indeed very common for older adults to experience unintentional weight loss at some point in late life. read more

A Dangerous Health Problem No One Talks About

Sliced steak on a cutting board

The risk increases with age, but there are ways to prevent it (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

You’re sitting down to enjoy a nice steak at your favorite restaurant, maybe sipping a little wine. Suddenly a piece of meat gets stuck in your throat. It’s not enough to block your breathing, so you’re not quite choking —but you also can’t get it down. You excuse yourself and go to the restroom, hoping you can dislodge the food by either coughing it up, inducing vomiting or drinking water.

Called “steakhouse syndrome,” this common scenario can lead to death if you take matters into your own hands this way, says Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, N.Y., and assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine. read more

What to Say to Someone Who’s Dying

Make sure your last conversation is one you won’t regret (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By Jill Smolowe for Next Avenue

My friend’s distress was acute. For weeks she’d been running herself ragged, attending to her ailing octogenarian father.

Daily visits to the hospital had given way to frantic efforts to turn his apartment into a home hospice after he made clear that he wanted to return to his apartment. Now, with a hospital bed and 24/7 nursing care in place, the countdown had begun. There was no “if” about his imminent demise. The only question was: How much longer does he have? read more