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Successful Aging: How to fight ageism and change outdated attitudes

Dear readers, This week we continue our conversation about ageism. Various movements, publications and initiatives are helping the American public have a realistic understanding of aging. John Feather, the CEO of Grantmakers in Aging, is quoted in a Hartford Foundation report that gets to the essence of the issue. “If you ask anyone who works in the field of aging services or policies about the biggest challenge we face, they may initially say lack of funding, understanding the issue or lack of political will. But shortly, they will come to the more pervasive issue: the pervasive ageism in American society.” So, what is ageism? It’s a type of discrimination that involves prejudice against pe

Successful Aging: Am I too sensitive to how my younger colleagues speak to me?

I am 80 years old and work one day a week for a hospital assuming responsibility for the food for two events involving thousands of hospital employees, plus doing some occasional bookkeeping. The folks I work for used to work for me when I was employed as the director of all food services for 12 hospitals. Recently, several colleagues are reminding me to do “this” or “that.” I know what I am doing like the back of my hand. I am wondering if they think that because of my age, I am forgetful or less competent? I actually felt a bit insulted. Am I being too sensitive? P.S. I recently said to them I couldn’t make an early morning meeting because “I wasn’t up to it.” In reality, I have a late-ni

Successful Aging: Help! My 88-year-old aunt won’t accept our assistance over the holidays

Q. My 88-year-old aunt has hosted holiday dinners for many years. This year, she once again decided to have the family Thanksgiving dinner at her home and as usual was reluctant to accept help. As the date drew closer, we realized she had done nothing to prepare for the dinner and made excuses. Help us understand why she just can’t say, I’m getting older and can’t do as much as I used to? Thank you. S.B. Dear S.B. Admitting to have less energy, strength and even stability may be an admission of little self-worth. As a society, we often value energy, vitality and speed over caution, a slower pace and even wisdom. Your aunt’s reluctance to offer reasons for her lack of action is understandable

Successful Aging: What you need to know about family caregivers

Q. I enjoy reading your informative column but there is one point you are missing. How about aging senior citizens in our mid- to late-60s and beyond trying to take care of parents living to their 90s and 100s? It’s taking a toll on us seniors physically, mentally and financially to deal with these parents while we have age and health issues ourselves. They are robbing us of our golden years because we still need to work to support them and we have a myriad of our own health issues. My mother at age 100 is in the hospital four hours away with a fractured hip while I am a caregiver to my 69-year old husband diagnosed with cancer. I still need to work. Your thoughts? C.K. Dear C.K. Thank you f

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