A SENIOR’S GREATEST SKILL – THE ABILITY TO MANEUVER – Physically, financially, emotionally!

The ability to maneuver has always been important. Loss of job, illness, lack of education, divorce, death, etc. You always need to be able to maneuver and to change. You need to move on from  and existing condition.

It is never so important as in old age. You are faced with physical problems, financial problems and mortality problems; just to mention a few. You have less and less ability to deal with them, so preparing for them and being able to maneuver through the last years of life is a real gift. You are in a maze.

PHYSICAL: We all die. Getting to death can be a painful, or at least an uncomfortable process, requiring thought, planning and action. You must not smoke, must not get too fat, must head off those disabilities that you can. Think, flu shot, etc. Exercise is the most  important; especially walking which 99% of us can do; and, it doesn’t take much. This will enable you to maneuver in and out of bed, to get to the store, to remain independent. It will also help to prevent falls.

FINANCIAL:  Bills don’t stop in old age. You may have social security and/or a pension and/or some savings, but you still have bills. You need to maneuver around the amount available and the expenditures required. You also need to avoid scammers and family members who have their hands out. You need a clear picture of the end of the tunnel and what you need to get there comfortably, even if it means leaving a little on the table at the end.

EMOTIONAL: Your friends, spouses and family members will die. How will this affect you? They will also develop various mental problems to and including Alzheimer’s. These are tough to deal with and you must be flexible so that you can deal with them.

DEATH: You can prepare for this by letting people know what you want. You want to maneuver yourself into a comfortable position without a lot of pain and a reasonable amount of competence and mobility. There is no point in being propped up in front of a TV for the last few years; you might as well get it over with. You will have to maneuver around a number of well-meaning people; and, some not so well-meaning, but planning can do it. There are more and more end-of-life resources available to old people. Know what they are and how them might be useful to you.

COMPETENCY: This is the tricky one; as you slip into incompetency, whether you call it dementia, senior moment, or whatever, you have more and more difficulty making decisions, remembering things and taking rational actions. This requires advance flexibility. You must have senior algorithms in place to deal with your declining years. If not, you will slip into chaos.

The bottom line is to keep loose, maintain as much flexibility as possible and to the extent possible, as IBM once put it:  THINK!

THINK OLD!


SHOULD THE GEEZER BE A PRISONER?

Prison may be an alternative to life on the street for old people.

A photo of where the geezer might spend his last years. Better than the street???

The geezer asks for admission to the Federal Prison system.

The geezer seeks bank support for admission to the Federal Prison system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the US there are 26,200 prisoners over 65 in state and federal prisons and 124,400 over the age of 55.

The geezer, who is 75, and an “opportunist” is thinking outside the box; or perhaps ‘inside the box.” If I have no money, little social security, no home, no assets, no family; and  have to line up at the soup kitchen for meals and the free street clinic for medical care, maybe there is another way.

At 75, what do I need? My sex life is a thing of the past; there is no one to take care of me, I am frequently wet and cold; I am regularly exposed to every type of riffraff; and, can no longer fight off street predators.  How can I  live out my days in some comfort, be warm, eat regularly, and have  adequate medical and dental care?

The answer is to rob a bank.

The sentence seems to be 10 years plus an extra 5 years if you have a gun. I need to check to see if the gun has to be loaded; wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. The 15 years takes me to 90 which is about my  life expectancy  on a good day and I don’t have to0 many of  them. If I got in a fight or two,  I can avoid good time.

The big problem is that I might get probation since I don’t have a record; so, I might have to rob the same bank twice; or, even three times.

Given the economic and social future of the elderly, prison doesn’t sound too bad; and, it can’t be worse than a nursing home; even if I qualified. If you can’t pay, Medicaid is the only answer. Assisted living is out of the question without money or long-term care insurance.

There is probably a downside, but I am having trouble seeing it.

The food can’t be worse than most senior institutions. If I have a room(cell)mate, he would probably be about my age. I would probably be in some sort of minimum security facility, but, given the gun I might be in a maximum security facility.  The friends I would make would probably be better than the ones on the street.

Would I be safe? Probably. I am sure that most Federal Prisons take care of old people; albeit, reluctantly. There are work programs in most institutions and perhaps I could care for other old people if I couldn’t get assigned to the library. Win-win.

The New York Times has an article on California state prisons that have caregivers called ” gold coats.” These are inmates, usually murderers, who in exchange for a “gold coat,” and other privileges, look after the elderly; especially those with dementia. They protect them from the other prisoners, get them food, make sure they don’t fall; and, in general act as highly trained caregivers. They sound better than some in nursing homes I have visited.

Do I want to go this route? I suppose it depends on how cold and hungry I get; and, if I am competent to rob a bank when the time comes.

Or, maybe it would just be cheaper and better to move all of us old prisoners and “Gold Coats” to the “abandoned” military bases where they are keeping illegal immigrants.

THINK OLD!

 

 


AARP SMART DRIVER COURSE FOR SENIORS – I got my license 63 years ago and no one is going to tell me how to drive!

The AARP Smart Driver Course, is worth the time and money. You can’t not afford to take it, and you aren’t doing anything but watching TV any way.

 

 

The course is available on-line and at various centers around the country. GOOGLE: “AARP SMART DRIVER COURSE.”

I just took it on-line. It took me four hours and I had two months to complete it; however, I did it in one afternoon. The reasons I took it are:

  1. Cheap – I got a deal and only paid $19.95 for the course.
  2. Update – It is 63 years since I got my license and a few things have changed; especially the way they mark the streets.
  3. Reminders – After 63 years (and 3 years since I took the classroom course) I need to have my mind refreshed; especially where my life and the lives of others are at stake.
  4. Insurance discount –  this varies by state and insurance company, but I expect at least 5%.
  5. Not taking the course may work against you. The insurance company knows how old I am, and as much data as they collect, I am sure that they note whether or not I have taken the course. I have nothing to base this on, but then I may be paranoid about companies collecting information on me.
  6. Makes you aware that you are not alone in the way you drive at 77; and gives you some techniques to use. I especially liked turning left by going around the block in right-hand turns. The parcel delivery companies have discovered that they save a lot on gas and accidents by programming right turns for their drivers whenever they can.
  7. What insurance companies consider. It is always good to know. In New Mexico   one insurance company considers a number of things, that as an old person you should at least be aware of.
  8. Medicine and booze. The course talks about the effect of liquor, as little as one drink, and its effect when taken with medicines, both prescription and over-the-counter. Remember, you are old, you probably take a number of pills and your body may not react to them in the same way as it did 50 years ago.
  9. Physical and mental problems. The course reminds you of them, as if you weren’t aware already. You don’t want to be picked up for drunk driving when you can’t  walk a straight line when sober at age 77. You don’t want your picture in the Albuquerque Journal at the end of the month as a convicted drunk driver.
  10. I tell people I took the course. It may head off attempts to  take your license and your car. I received positive feedback and questions from other old people that I told about the course; so, I am telling you about it.

The course is designed so you have to watch everything and give feed-back before moving to the next segment. You can’t just click through it in a few minutes and get your certificate.

THINK OLD!


INDIVISIBLE – Grassroots political action for seniors – MAKE POLITICIANS LISTEN!

Politics

“Indivisible, A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda”

A number of former congressional staffers have written this guide listing best practices to make congress listen. It contains local advocacy tactics that work.

I am interested in old people applying the lessons. In 2014  people in the US over 65, constituted 28.4% of the voting population. Check your state. How many voted? How many over 65 voted? What does your state do for seniors? What senior benefits are being cut?

The next generation of seniors will have little money to support themselves. Families are spread out. Homeless seniors may be the future unless you do something.

What do you want from your government?

Seniors are interested in preserving:

  1. Social Security
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicaid
  4. Consumer protection
  5. Savings
  6. Fraud and scam protection
  7. Their assets
  8. Their health

and a lot of other things. Seniors have more difficulty finding jobs, have more medical problems and have less time to live than the rest of the population.

Seniors must do something! Is there a grocery cart loaded with your possessions in your future?

Seniors can make a difference:

  1. Seniors have time
  2. Seniors have a life-time network of people
  3. Seniors have organizations – church, senior centers, senior services, etc.
  4. Seniors have families and friends
  5. Seniors have more skills than they know
  6. Seniors need a purpose…
  7. And, Seniors are bored and need something to do.

The bottom line is that seniors can make a political difference.

Seniors just need guidance; and, Indivisible provides it.

When was the last time you were involved, really involved, in anything worthwhile?

Indivisible tells you what works and what doesn’t. It tells you where and how to start. It tells you that you what you can do at the grass-roots level. And, if the Tea Party could do it, you can do it.

Check your precinct voting record for the last election. A small turnout? How much did the conservative candidate win by? A few votes would have made a difference. Look what the Tea Party managed to do six years ago using a lot of the techniques set out in Indivisible. How many seniors voted? How many could have voted? Would those votes make a difference?

You can go to meetings. You can ask questions. You can call your elected representative. You can organize your neighbors. You can provide a ride to the polls.

It will only take a few “old votes” to make a change.

You can buy Indivisible on Amazon.com for $3.59.

Join an Indivisible group; or start one for old people.

Then, get off your ass, turn off the TV and see how you can make a difference for yourself, for your neighbors and for your grandchildren who will be old sooner than you think.

Look in the mirror! Who do you see there and what is that person doing for the society that has benefitted him/her?

There are now over 6000 Indivisible groups in the US.

You can check out the Albuquerque Indivisible Group.

THINK OLD!

 

 

 


“SENIOR BUTTON” FOR THE GEEZER’S COMPUTER

I need a large “senior button” on my computer keyboard to take it into senior mode.

Pressing the button would disable everything I didn’t need including, without limitation, ads, spam, e-mails and anything except what I had specifically included.

The senior button has to be large, clearly marked and perhaps even a toggle switch or a button like the illustration that signals a bus driver that an old person wants off. I need to signal the computer that it needs to stop and let me off.

 

Pressing the senior button will disengage all the software and hardware, except for the following which would be in large print:

  1. E-mail from people I select.
  2. Skype in case my grandkids call.
  3. The obituary page of the local paper.
  4. Stock market update.
  5. geezer2go.com
  6. Select telephone numbers that by clicking would dial select friends and family members.
  7. E-mail addresses with a picture of the recipient.
  8. Printer.
  9. An onscreen volume control so I can hear.
  10. Daily menu at the local senior center.

When the button was pressed a second time, it would re-enable the computer so that my grandkids could fix things.

This would be simple.

Think about it. old people suffer from too much, not too little; and not just in computers. Think about the world you occupy. There are too many choices that require too much time to learn.

 

THINK OLD!

 

 

 

 


UBER – TRANSPORTATION FOR OLD PEOPLE??

 

Uber on your smart phone.

A senior calls UBER.

At 77, I am a “good” driver; maybe a few problems with eyesight, hearing and attention span.  I usually  know where I am going. The AARP  driving course for seniors lowers my insurance rates; and, I avoid driving at night, on freeways and with my kids, who watch me. They know that I saw my father take his father’s car keys. He and I agreed that he could keep his car as long as he didn’t drive it; so, it was parked for several years.

My car has a few dings. I renew my license annually, not for 10 years anymore. MVD and I joke about the eye test.

So, I joined UBER. It was scary. I didn’t know what I was getting into; and, learning  to call UBER on a smart phone??  I had to know where I was going; I couldn’t just drive around looking for the place I thought I wanted to go. I also had to know where I was.

I tried UBER in Tucson;  clicked on the UBER App;  typed in my address and the restaurant address. It took three tries and a bit of deleting, but I did it.

In 3 minutes a picture of the UBER driver,  car make and license number appeared on the screen. Two minutes later he was there; just like his picture, and took us straight to our favorite restaurant. The trip cost of $6.32 appeared on the screen; I clicked ok, clicked that the driver was great and he clicked that I was a great passenger. We parted company. We had a nice dinner, re-apped UBER. Same deal, different driver. Cost $5.47; total cost $11.79, no tipping, no money; the amount on my credit card minutes later. The drivers were both great, interesting, and I didn’t worry about the extra glass of wine.

AAA  reports the average cost to own a car in 2015 was $8698. For two of us, that comes to $17,396. I don’t think I spend that much, but….. I don’t really want to find out.

My wife and I have two cars, even though we usually travel together.  Kelly Blue Book says a dealer would give us about $25,000 for them. Do we need two cars? No cars? One car and UBER?

How many trips do we need to take? One a day? How far do we go? Mostly close to our condo. Seven trips a week; 14 UBER trips; averaging $10 per trip, which may be high. $140 a week; or, $7280 a year.

Using UBER we have a chauffeur, do not cause accidents, are calmer, etc. We even age better. Have you ever had someone say: “Do you see that car?” 10  times a trip?

The bus costs 50 cents and goes most places, but takes longer. Kids work, grandkids are too young and neighbors would rather car-pool with UBER.

The bottom line is: UBER  could save us up to $10,116 per year. Even a $1000 savings would be worth it. The real bottom line is that our driving years will soon come to an END; our cars will be taken from us; we will move in with UBER and use the  $25,000 for four years of UBER.

Maybe UBER will have caregivers in ten years…..; hopefully, with a car.

UBER is experimenting with programs for seniors, that include, senior-trained drivers, special cars, etc.  No details yet.

The New York Times recently reported on UBER’s new ride sharing program which should interest seniors and save them money.

Since I originally wrote this, The New York Times has reported on ride-sharing which fills niches that UBER does not cover, yet. The one that interested me the most was Lift Hero, which provides rides for old people. The web page is down for maintenance, but keep checking. UBER was running a test program for old people in Tucson a few months ago, but I have not seen anything on this recently.

Transportation is a real and growing problem for old people; especially where public transportation is not available.

When you travel, think UBER. I have had success in Panama and Montreal, Canada.

A change of senior-mind-set is required.

THINK OLD!

 

 

 

 


TEN SIMPLE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO MAXIMIZE YOUR OLD AGE!


In this day and age there is too much information; and too much of it is false. I am buffeted by ads, politics, etc. At 77, I decided to take a look at what I really needed to know. There are 10 things, not perfect, but that will at least make my present life better and protect me from the stress of old age.

You are going to die anyway, so why worry about that. Figure out how to make today as comfortable and as interesting as possible.

Here is my list:

  1. Walk – Almost anyone can do this and it keeps you fit physically, mentally and socially.
  2. “Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much.”  Michael Pollan
  3. Wine with friends. Not too much.
  4. Index your investments. Unless you are too  smart to be reading this blog, you can’t beat the market, so go with Index Funds, which beat most investment advisors and most funds. Set them to pay out the IRS Required Minimum Distribution each year on your birthday.
  5. Have a mentor. Mentors, or advisors, younger than you, are more important in old age than when you are young. You need someone to keep an eye on you. Think scams, illness, long-term care, etc.
  6. Socialize – if nothing else, sit out on your front porch and wave at people going by. Become a fixture. Most of us can at least get to  the front porch; and, there are free shuttles to take you to church, clubs and the senior centers.
  7. Simplify – Life is way to complex for an old person. Reduce everything to its simplest form.
  8. Follow the money – In any situation, where is the money going. Check charities, investments, etc. Most things you don’t need and most investments are too good to be true. Old people are a target of scammers.
  9. Weights and exercise bands. – Do a bit while you are watching TV, etc. You need to be fit and you need muscles.
  10. Simple default protective devises.  You should automatically grab for the grab bar when you get out of the shower; the rail on the stairs; your glasses when you drive. Default solutions can protect you. Some need to be learned like the new devices on cars; but, maybe you should not be driving anyway.

THINK OLD!

 


TEN OFF-THE-WALL RETIREMENT OPTIONS – LIVE CHEAP and EXPERIENCE SOMETHING NEW!

You may need to earn a bit of extra money; simply support yourself, or just want a cheap new experience. Consider one, or all, of the following; some interesting, some practical, some simply offering a minimalist life style. You need to be creative if you are going to find a place with board and room, little stress, not too difficult and available.

The most important think is that you are challenging yourself.

You  can locate these alternative living situations, by googling them and including the place you want to live.

1. Nursing Home/Assisted Living. These require round-the-clock care and in the smaller ones you can even sleep. Work a deal for room and board in exchange for the night shift. You might even get a small salary. Check state statutes and contact a few places.

2. Animal shelter – These require people to feed and care for animals. Pick one with a  room for night caretakers.

3. Monastery – A lot of monasteries and nunneries have extra space and older priests and nuns. Trade caregiving, or some other skill,  for  room and board.

4.  Security guard – A lot of places need someone on duty overnight. Might be some danger, but usually you are locked in, have a telephone or alarm, and might have to do a few rounds. Ideally you can live on the premises. A lot of school systems will allow you to park your RV or trailer on school grounds to provide a round-the-clock presence.

5. Camp ground – All camp grounds need help; especially in the summer. If you have your own trailer or RV, you can find work in private camp grounds or in the National Parks. A great opportunity for the summer is to manage a Refugio or pilgrim hostel on the Camino de Santiago. The American Pilgrims on the Camino offer training as a hospitalero in how to manage a Refugio. You can find out if you like this by walking the 500 mile Camino de Santiago.

7. House sitter – People with expensive or remote homes frequently need house-sitters; especially those with pets. If you are a minimalist and don’t mind moving to different places, this is a way to travel and to live for free. Take a look at housesitter.com.

8. Off-season manager  – A seasonable tourist area requires someone to look after things off-season. Google “off-season manager.”

9. Companion – a lot of old people need a “companion.” They have large homes that they don’t want to leave. You can swap care, driving, shopping, cooking, etc. in exchange for board and room plus a small salary which will make your Social Security go a lot further. Google “senior companion care jobs near me.”

10. Cruise ship staff. If you have a skill that you can teach or if you are an older man who can dance, it is possible to get a job on a cruise ship. Think cooking class, investment advice, dancing, pottery, genealogy, computer skills, etc.

THINK OLD!

 


 

 

 

 


TEN LEARNING EXPERIENCES FOR SENIORS; and, others

Learning something new is one of the most rewarding aspects of aging. (It may be the only one.) There are opportunities everywhere; near and far. You can learn anything and it can be much cheaper than learning as a kid. It is frequently free and usually you don’t  have to sweat grades, tests or degrees. You are learning for the sake of learning; to keep your  mind active, and to meet new people.

One of the most important things you need to learn is how to work your computer. (Remember, when I graduated from college, we all walked around with slide rules hanging off our belts.) Computer classes are available  close to home; in my case the computer room at the North Valley Senior Center in Albuquerque, NM.

Using your computer, search for a class on-line, close to you, or in a place that you are about to visit. Click on any highlighted words to see some of my learning experiences, then adapt the search for what you are interested in.

1. Cooking School. Any time you are on vacation, consider a cooking school. My granddaughter and I  learned to make Macarons in Paris. (The highlight of the trip.) I recently attended three cooking lessons on a Holland American cruise, and  have taken cooking classes in Paris, New Orleans and San Francisco.

2. Meetup. This is Tampa, but you can search most any city. I attend one in Albuquerque on WordPress.

3. Habitat for Humanity. We have volunteered, after age 60, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Albuquerque and Macedonia. You learn about construction and about people. The people you are building for help on the job.

4.  College. Most colleges have discounts for seniors. Google one near you. The University of New Mexico lets you take a class for $5 per credit hour if you are over 65, taking fewer than 6 hours and register. Parking is a pain, so get a senior bus pass.

5. Genealogy. Most towns have genealogy societies with free advice, lectures and access to computers and on-line genealogy services. Try Largo, Florida and Albuquerque, New Mexico; or just google your town plus genealogy. Take a road trip to discover your ancestors.

6. Community Colleges are always a good learning source for senior citizens. The are cheap, have interesting classes and you are around young people with different ideas. Central New Mexico Community College offers $5 per credit hour tuition if you are over 62. Again, learn how to use your computer and Google. A number of years ago, my 90 year-old father and I took early morning computer classes at CNM and then had breakfast together.

7. Oasis. this is a national lifelong learning adventure for older adults.  A variety of classes that usually last for  2 or 3 hour. You can even teach one  if you have some expertise. You can also learn about things that you don’t want anyone to know you are learning about, such as: Advance Planning: Avoiding Guardianship, an Albuquerque classes.

8. Apple Store. Buy an Apple Computer and get access to classes and the Genus Bar.

9. Senior Centers are a gold mine. Art, wood-working, book clubs, photography, computer centers, cell phone training, legal help, investment advice ……… In Albuquerque you have the choice of a large number and they have trips; such as a bus trip to the Crown Point Rug Auction, where you can buy hand-woven rugs from Native Americans on the Reservation. (If you go, pass up the meal on the bus and wait until you get to Crown Point and eat the Navajo Fry Bread and the Navajo Tacos that they sell.) Senior centers also offer breakfast for about $1.25 and coffee for 25 cents. Plus, there are free books that people donate.

10. Road Scholar – You can travel and learn with your contemporaries. We did the Panama Canal this way; an eye opener.

THINK OLD! or at least think!

Habitat For Humanity in Macedonia!

 


 


ELDER HINT – LIVE WELL AND AS LONG AS IT IS CONVENIENT – #1 – Grab Bars

 

Old people are stupid! Including me. I think I am the same person I was 20 years ago, even though I look in the mirror every day. I think I can do the same things that I did 20 years ago, and that there will be no consequences. The worst thing is I think I am as competent and as smart as I was 20 years ago. I am WRONG!

Old people need hints as to things that they can do to make life easier and more convenient, not to mention safer. The idea is not to live long, but to live well for as long as you can. And to do this there are a few steps you can take and I will post them as I think of them and you can do with them as you please.

REMEMBER: Don’t focus on longevity, focus on living the best life that you can, while you can.

# 1 Grab Bar as Towel Rack

Why are grab bars important to old people?

Falls are one of the greatest causes of  a miserable life. Think about it:

  1. You are prone to falling after a certain age.
  2. Grab bars are usually only in the tub or shower. Towel racks are not changed out. Yet, if you get out of a tub, the first thing you will grab for is a towel rack. So, why not replace the towel rack with a grab bar. One time grabbing hold of your old towel rack well convince you.
  3. You usually don’t wear your alert button in the shower.
  4. You usually shower alone; unlike years ago, a dim memory, if you even remember.
  5. The bottom of the tub or shower tends to be slippery, thanks to soap.
  6. If you fall:
    1. It may take hours, or days, to find you if you live alone; or if your spouse is of questionable competency.
    2. If you break something, it is a trip to the hospital; then to rehab; then to assisted living: then ……….
  7. Breaks are painful.
  8. You may have locked the bathroom door.
  9. You don’t have your cell phone handy; and, it is usually not charged.
  10. You will feel like a fool lying naked on the bathroom floor when the para-medics break down the door to get you; or, when a friend who hasn’t heard from you for a few days comes to check on you.

THINK OLD!