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: Does age reduce our creativity – or enhance it?

Q. Please settle an argument for me. My husband insists that we get less creative as we get older. I say no – that age has nothing to do with creativity. My husband is an engineer and I am a teacher. We both are 65 years old. Who is right? S.P. Dear S.P. Actually, you both are right! The answer to your question depends on how you define creativity. In 1953, Harvey C. Lehman found that the number of creative products a person produces increases with age until there is a peak. Then productivity declines. And that decline often occurs in the latter part of life. If we define creativity as the number of creative pieces a person produces, then yes, your husband is right. That number is generally

Successful Aging: ‘What’s next?’ can be hard for retirees to answer

Q. My newly retired husband was a successful executive in a small company. He loved his career and was responsible for business development and sales, attending conferences, meetings and retreats, appearing at the office from morning to early evening with added business dinners. Without the structure of his work and lots of downtime, he seems to forget appointments, our commitments and more. In general, he seems OK. Yet, should I worry? L.J. Dear L.J. Let’s begin by addressing what might be your “serious worry piece.” If you are afraid your husband is showing signs of mild cognitive decline or even early dementia, here are some clues suggested by the Mayo Clinic that might be helpful in asse

Successful Aging: How can I prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Q. I recently returned from visiting a friend who is in the memory care section of an assisted living facility. He has Alzheimer’s disease. I was depressed seeing my friend so immobile and unable to communicate as well as seeing others in a room with a television no one was watching. What can I do to protect myself from such an existence? Many thanks. S.B. Dear S.B. You have asked a question that is challenging the greatest minds in the country, and perhaps the world. To date, scientists don’t fully understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Here is what they do know: A genetic component plays a role for those who begin to get the disease their 30s through the mid-60s, affecting less than 1

Successful Aging: What makes for a successful retirement?

Dear readers, I received an email in response to two columns I wrote that addressed a question from a retired scientist who was trying to find his passion. It elicited the following response from a reader: “Some of us (have already) lived the life of fire you expect from retirees and have done enough in our pre-retirement lives. We don’t have to fulfill a fantasy of what’s meaningful. We’ve earned peace and calmness…I don’t have to be excited anymore. ” The reader’s response was an important reminder that each of us has the right, and hopefully, the opportunity, to live a life of one’s choosing. Millions of retirees are living out their dreams: It can be a time of no deadlines and little str

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