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: Should you try to be productive during the pandemic?

Q: I am 70 years old and have been retired for several years. Prior to the pandemic, my life was very active, volunteering, going to movies, entertaining friends, hosting my book group and more. Yes, Isaac Newton invented calculus and Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while both were on lockdown. That’s a lot of pressure. I vacillate between feeling the need to be productive and get things done — learn or create something — or take the advice from articles indicating it’s OK to do nothing and perhaps it’s even healthy. Which approach is better? Thanks.  M.D. Dear M.D.: Each of us responds differently to this pandemic and lockdown. Let’s start with the need to feel productive which can apply to w

Successful Aging: Focusing on the wide-ranging contributions of older Americans

Dear readers, It’s time for a celebration. May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate older Americans for their past and current contributions to society. The formal recognition of older Americans began with President Kennedy in 1963 when he designated May as “Senior Citizens Month” during a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens. That was when only 17 million Americans reached their 65th birthday in comparison to almost 50 million today. About one-third of those 17 million lived in poverty with few programs to meet their needs. Two years later, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Older Americans Act and formally declared May as Older Americans Month. Each ye

Successful Aging: How to stay positive during these difficult times

Q. I am 80 years old and have become very much aware of my age during this pandemic. Although I am healthy, I know I am in the high-risk category simply because of age. With all of the bad news and underlying fear, how does one stay positive yet realistic? D.H. A. Dear D.H. In these unprecedented times, staying positive is indeed a challenge. Let’s start with the reality piece. Age indeed is a risk factor for older adults for two reasons: Immune systems are not as strong as we get older and chronic illness increases the probability of having a more severe case. We know that about 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease; 68 percent have at least two. It’s not that older a

Successful Aging: How men are adjusting to life in the time of COVID-19

Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about retired women and their adjustment to the early phase of COVID-19. It seems timely to get a sense how men in later life are dealing with this unprecedented time. To get a snapshot of what is happening on the ground, I spoke to 10 men about their experiences, feelings, intentions as well as flickers of a silver lining. Staying connected: A common theme in many of the conversations was the importance of staying connected to others — to an aunt, niece, business associate, college friend or a previous work buddy. A retired business executive stays in touch with others in an organized way. He creates a list of people he wants to reach; then each day he

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