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: What is a geriatrician, and how do I know if I need one?

Q. I am concerned about my father who is 83 years old. He is sometimes forgetful and confused, unsteady on his feet, sleeps a lot and periodically is withdrawn. Add to that he doesn’t like doctors. Assuming I can convince him to see one, do you recommend a geriatrician? What exactly do they do and where can I find one? Many thanks. M.S. Dear M.S. Finding a geriatrician, particularly one that is board-certified can be difficult. Let’s first describe geriatricians: They are medical doctors trained to meet the unique healthcare needs of older adults, specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, care and prevention of disease and disability. They generally are primary care physicians and typically

Successful Aging: Are older Americans a drag on the economy — or a boost?

Dear readers, The following headline — “Are baby boomers ruining the housing market?” — appeared in a Dec. 5th Los Angeles Times article. The headline implies that older people might be limiting the supply of houses because they are remaining in their homes too long, causing increased housing prices and an overtaxed rental market, suggesting older adults as the culprits. Fortunately, the article dispelled the headline by referencing studies that found housing prices are more closely related to employment rates and construction costs rather than the demographic shift of older people. It continues to be important to note that older adults are a national asset rather than a problem. In a previ

Successful Aging: What you say matters when talking about older people

Q. I have a pet peeve with many reporters and journalists who use the term “75-year-old grandma (or grandpa) was blah, blah,blah.” I am a great-grandmother, a working accountant, a homemaker, a wife, a board member and so on. If I were to describe myself, I would say I am an 81-year old woman. Thanks for listening. A.A. Dear A.A. Words matter. How we refer to age and older people conveys an attitude, perception and sometimes even a stereotype. In a report, “Words to Age by: A Brief Glossary on Tips and Usage,” Paul Kleyman, journalist with the former New America Media, surveyed 100 journalists about language used in covering issues about aging. The goal was to help journalists represent olde

Successful Aging: Greedy? No, facts show the older generation keeps on giving

I recently saw the term “greedy geezer” used to refer to seniors. I am 69 years old and found the term quite offensive. I always thought of my generation as givers. Am I correct that this is still true? Dear S.N. You are correct; older adults indeed are contributors. The term you referred to, “greedy geezer, is highly offensive whether written or spoken. Here’s a little history. In 1988, the New Republic magazine featured an infamous cover story with that title. The line drawing on the cover was of an angry and scowling older person. The feature article was anti-entitlement in nature. It strongly suggested that older people in America were getting more than their share of the pie (Social Sec

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