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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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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Considering a medical alert device? Here’s what you should know before buying.

Question: I recently hurt my back and am unsteady on my feet. My husband continues to work away from the house, as do I when I can. I am concerned about needing help if I fall and no one is here to help. How do you know if you are ready for an emergency response device? And how do you go about selecting one? P.S. I am in my early 80s. — S.M. Answer: Dear S.M. If you have concerns about falling and there is no one to answer your call for help, you might seriously consider getting an emergency response device. The second part of your question has a longer answer. Fortunately, there are a range of services and products that enable many older adults to live safely at home. One tool is a Person E

Successful Aging: The questions you should ask about hearing loss and the price of hearing aids

Q. I am finally admitting a hearing loss. Given my age of 76, I guess I should not be surprised. After meeting with an audiologist and having a hearing test, he recommended a particular hearing aid which was very pricey. How do I know the information I was given is accurate? Are there some key questions to ask? And – why are restaurants so noisy? H.S. A. Dear H.S. You are not alone. The National Institute on Aging reports that about one in three people between 65 and 74 years who have a hearing loss; among those 75 and older it’s one out of two people. And almost half of those older that 75 are reluctant to admit it. That reluctance is for good reason. Given our society’s sensitivity to agin

Successful Aging: Why are my female friends more worried about longterm financial security?

Q. I and several of my women friends are retired and have some financial security. Yet there is this fear of running out of funds. One woman who has significant financial investments said she is afraid of becoming a bag lady. Most of us are single. Even with adequate resources, there is a feeling of being financially vulnerable and insecure. Can you explain this? E.R. Dear E.R. Sometimes logic and emotions are not in sync. The case you describe makes sense. Let’s begin with some recent data as reported by Justice in Aging, a national non-profit legal advocacy organization that fights senior poverty through law. When we talk about age and poverty, we essentially are talking about women. Here

Successful Aging: Why do some medical practitioners make assumptions based on age?

Q. I recently called my internist to make an appointment for a routine EKG. The receptionist asked the important initial questions: date of birth, then name. After I gave my date of birth which is 1942, she immediately transferred me to the nurse practitioner (NP). I left a message with her and did not get a call back. I called back the receptionist and asked if I were 35, would she have referred me to the NP. She indicated the referral was for those who had chronic conditions. I said I had none. With that, she put me on hold; after a long pause, she came back on the line and indicated I was off the NP list and gave me an appointment for the next day. I felt she was making an assumption abou

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