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

Press Enterprise

Successful Aging: The importance of friendships in a long healthy life

Dear readers, I rarely discuss my own personal experiences for this column. This week is different. Here’s the story and it’s about friends. Last year around this time, I met for a couple of days with two women with whom I went to college. We have known each other since we were freshmen – 62 years. (You do the math.). The three of us started out as young single women. As widows, we once again are three single women and just a bit older. We care about the world around us, wanting to make a difference. One friend who was the founder and principal of a school for the deaf started a foundation to test and care for babies with a hearing loss. The other who was head of communications for a real es

Successful Aging: I’m worried my spouse is depressed. What should I do?

I am concerned about my 83-year old husband. He has arthritis and a well-managed heart condition. Neither of these are of great concern to me. What worries me is his mood. He is sleeping a lot, not shaving, his appetite has changed and just seems down and out. I am sure he is depressed. Unfortunately, he is not one to go to a doctor just to chat. Is this part of normal aging? Any suggestions? R.N. Dear R.N. You have reason to be concerned. Contrary to some public opinion, depression is not part of growing older; it is a true and treatable medical condition. A clinical depression is more than just feeling blue or sad when losing a loved one. It’s a common and serious mood disorder that affect

Successful Aging: How to prevent falls at home and outside

Dear readers. Last week’s column addressed S.M.’s concerns about mitigating the risks of falling given that several of her friends have fallen with serious medical consequences. We addressed how to keep our bodies fit to counteract normal age-related changes that can affect balance. Now it’s time to turn to our environments. Are they waiting for a fall to happen or are our environments designed and arranged to keep us safe? And what happens if we fall in our homes? Several systems are involved in keeping our balance: visual, proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Visual is how well we see. Proprioceptive refers to our orientation to space with receptors in our muscles, joints and tendons hel

Successful Aging: Dangerous falls and how to avoid them

Q. I have several friends who have taken bad falls that resulted in a broken wrist, concussion and even a brain bleed. I am 81 and want to avoid ending up in the same situation. I know that aging in itself places me at risk. Can you share some key tips that will lessen the probability of a fall? Many thanks. S.M. Dear S.M. Falls are a big deal! They are the enemy of later life. Here are some facts that support your concern as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Aging: One out of three people age 65 and over fall each year. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again. One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones

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