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.

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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

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Successful Aging: This column got more reader responses than any other in 17 years

Dear readers. I recently responded to a daughter’s concern that her father, an 88-year old retired dentist, was using a flip-top rather than a smartphone. The daughter wanted to know how to overcome her father’s resistance, believing that with the smartphone text capacity they could communicate more readily since he lives 3,000 miles away. She also wanted her father to have access to more emergency numbers. To my surprise, the number of responses to this column was probably more than any column I have written in the past 17 years (and over 850 columns). I am trying to understand why I got the large number of responses. Perhaps it’s because we all have been exposed to some technology and have

Successful Aging: I retired and realized I have too few friends and too much stuff

Q. I recently retired for the second time as a health-care business owner. Here is what is hitting me: Many friends have become ill, some have passed away, and neighbors are moving into retirement communities or areas close to their children. In wanting to downsize, I am going through papers, photos of vacations and even old boyfriends – so many memories of my past. Add to that my daughter tells me she is not interested in my things, that they are my memories, not hers. I find this all depressing and am surprised at my reaction. It’s not about money. I am not sure how to handle this. S.T. Dear S.T. It sounds as though you are hitting a perfect storm transition. Indeed, finances are critical

Successful Aging: How can I convince my older parent to use a smartphone?

Q: My father, an 88-year-old retired dentist, lives 3000 miles from me and owns only a flip-top phone. I would like him to have a smartphone so I could text him and he could have my phone number handy should there be an emergency. I doubt he will attend a class on how to use a new device. Is my father typical? What can I do to convince my father to give up his flip-top phone and use a smartphone? S.L. Dear S.L. Trying to change a loved one’s comfort zone can be difficult yet may be possible. Let’s begin by talking about older adults and their use of technology. We know that historically older adults are considered late adapters to new technology compared to those younger. This generational d

Successful Aging: How well do you understand the new normal for living and working longer? Here’s a

Dear readers: Recently as a guest lecturer at UCLA, I spoke on the theme of “Work & Retirement: The New Normal.” The lecture was part of a course called Frontiers in Aging that exposed freshman students to the many different disciplines that are part of gerontology. I want to share 10 trends I presented that affect many of us in our everyday lives. To spare you of an almost two-hour lecture (albeit with interesting interactive activity), here are some highlights in the form of a true-false quiz to help determine myth from reality and the new normal. 1. Many individuals can expect to spend more time in retirement compared to 20 years ago. 2. A large percentage of people will spend less time

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