Successful Aging

A weekly syndicated newspaper column by Helen Dennis

After 18 years and more than 875 columns, Helen continues to delight readers with her Successful Aging column for the Southern California News Group.  The syndicated column reaches more than 1.6 million readers weekly.



Successful Aging appears

in the following newspapers:

The Los Angeles Daily News

The Daily Breeze

Pasadena Star News

Long Beach Press Telegram

Whittier Daily News

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Santa Barbara Sun

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Orange County Register

Redlands Daily Facts

Press Enterprise

Successful Aging: I don’t have children, so who will help me as I get older?

Q. I am in my mid 60s, live alone and never had children. Many of my friends talk about how their children and grandchildren are such a large part of their lives. I don’t have this. How do I look ahead and plan for a time when I will likely need help and there won’t be family around to help me? S.K. Dear S.K. You have raised an important concern shared by Sara Zeff Geber in her recently published book, “Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers” (Mango Publishing, 2018). She writes that for those without children, “Whether married/partnered or single in the second half of life, you will not have the safety net of that immediate younger generation to count on later in life in an emergency

Successful Aging: Remember that there are also positives to getting older

Q. I recently spent the afternoon with my eight-year-old granddaughter who asked, “Grandma, do you know you have a lot of lines on your face? Does that mean you are old?” I proceeded to describe my wrinkles as smile lines, signs I’ve lived a happy life, and continued to explain and perhaps over-explain my wrinkles. It struck me – why was I so defensive? In today’s world, I don’t think looking your age is a good thing. Is there a way that I and our society can get over this? Your thoughts? N.S. Dear N.S., Children are honest in sharing their thoughts. Your granddaughter may have just been curious. However, I think there is more to your answer and a larger story. Our society sends us messages

Successful Aging: Tips on how to purge the papers and documents you no longer need

Dear readers. I recently had three questions that dealt with the same topic: Too much paper. Reader No. 1 kept records and notes from students she counseled on careers 40 years ago. Reader No. 2 retained his doctoral dissertation notes from 30 years ago. Reader No. 3 developed two innovative university courses she taught 25 years ago and kept all of the materials. They share the same question – how to get motivated to toss their papers that relate to their former work. In our alleged paperless society, it seems we continue to collect and save an increasing amount of paper and just can’t fill the dumpster. We believe that things or items trigger memories. Consider the dinosaur sculpture your

Successful Aging: Fighting back against age discrimination and its false assumptions

Q. I am an older woman who was terminated from my job after 25 years. The company was sold and I was replaced by a millennial tech wizard. The new owner did not like me and treated me as though I knew nothing – even told me to shut up. On to another job, which had a computer system that was new to me. After the owner found out I was 72 years old, he suggested my hearing was going and asked why it took so long to identify who was on the phone. I left that job. Let me know I can work again. S.A. Dear S.A., Yes, of course, you can work again. Let’s first look at the two positions you left. In both cases, it sounds like computer systems were involved. The first thing you might check is to what

Successful Aging: Ask these questions to help you exercise, get in shape and stay fit

Q. I am a 78-year old man who is somewhat out of shape and a bit overweight. The woman I am seeing is quite fit and has strongly encouraged me to try to achieve the same. I have surrendered and now want to find a personal trainer. Where do I start? E.S Dear E.S. Kudos to you for taking the first step and that step is a commitment. There are many ways to stay fit – walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, tai chi and Pilates, to name a few. Your choice of a personal fitness coach has its advantages. Typically, you will have a program specifically designed for your goals, life stage and current physical status. Additionally, you will receive personal attention with some monitoring of your progress. S

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