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Successful Aging: In part 2 of the 18th anniversary column, more of what you asked about

Dear readers,

This week is a continuation of my yearly anniversary column, a time to share what I have learned from our readers. Last week we just covered technology and chiropractors because of the large number of responses and diverse opinions.

Here are some additional highlights from the letters and emails I have received.

Retirement: A reader offered some alternatives to the word: “recess, (similar to) a fun break in elementary school” and “graduation, the celebration of many years of work to achieve a higher goal.” As an alternative, another reader suggested using the Spanish word for retirement, “jubilacion,” which sounds joyous. One reader interpreted my column on retirement as “demanding passion from retirees” and added that “we have earned peace…and calmness.” I apologized to the reader if my words were interpreted to mean that passion is requisite for a good retirement. Enjoying calm simple pleasures, the gift of time and whatever makes one happy and fulfilled is perfect.

New products and services: Several readers shared some of their start-up businesses. Their mention is not an endorsement; rather it’s to convey a little about what’s happening in the marketplace. As a way to combat loneliness, a woman from the state of Washington is starting a companion/concierge business to provide more personal contact for Alzheimer’s and dementia victims who reside in a facility. The owner states that companions “really listen to their needs whether or not they make sense.” A company launched in New York is offering “leading manufacturer hearing aids for online sale with significant discounts.” Some wanted to know where to purchase specific products such as the companion animal Tombat and the hands-free shoes I described after attending an Aging and Tech conference.

Driving: A woman was concerned about her mother’s poor driving habits. Rather than confronting her mother, she contacted the DMV in a confidential letter explaining that her mother had dementia. Subsequently, the DMV contacted her mother to take a driving test. The reader added that if more people would hand the driving problem over to the DMV, lives could be saved.

Resources: A suggested resource aligned with optimal aging is the California State University Fullerton’s OLLIE program which stands for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. It offers self-directed study groups, educational lectures, computer education, physical and social activities and travel opportunities. The Osher Foundation supports 124 lifelong learning programs on university and college campuses across the country. Another reader who has been a caregiver to his wife for the past six years recommended the book “My Two Elaines,” co-authored by the Former Wisconsin Governor Martin J. Schreiber.

Geriatrics: As our society lacks sufficient health-care professionals for older adults, a nurse practitioner with a specialty in gerontology described her profession as an example of one specialty that provides important care to older persons. She is a registered nurse with a Master’s in Science degree who can assess patients, order and interpret tests and start treatment plans. Depending on states’ regulations, geriatric or gerontology nurse practitioners can prescribe medications.

Employment: A former CEO can’t get a job, even with many in-depth interviews. He suspects age as the issue and isn’t sure how to combat this. At the same time, another reader who was unemployed for one year noted a slowdown in an industry, pursued that industry and found a permanent position as a contractor in a military installation.

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