70Candles on Huff/Post50!

We’re pleased to have been invited to join the Huffington Post blog site.

The link in the comment section below should get you there.

Alternatively, go to Huffingtonpost.com
Find Huff/Post50
Then type in 70candles.com

Enjoy! And join the conversation!

Jane and Ellen

22 Responses to 70Candles on Huff/Post50!

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Here’s the HuffPost/50 link to Jane’s tale about her tinnitus and sudden hearing loss, “Hear! HEAR!”

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/hear-hear_b_5686477.html

    • Jane says:

      Here’s the link to our Huff Post…
      The Club Sandwich Generation: Caregivng at 70

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/the-club-sandwich-generation-caregiving-at-70_b_6837688.html

      We all have stories to tell. Share your experiences with caregiving…

      Jane and Ellen

      • Blog Mavens says:

        I identify with the label, the Club Sandwich Generation! In fact, I refer to it in my recently published book as a “triple decker sandwich” and plead with a director to provide me with a toothpick big enough to hold together a triple decker sandwich so that I, the overcooked crumbling bacon in the middle, do not fall out.

        The reality is that no one asks to be a caregiver. It just happens.  So six years ago when my mom turned 90 and I was officially a Medicare cardholder and the only family member left to tend to my mother, we began the journey from independence to dependence.  I’ve laughed, cried, dreamed and screamed, but the best thing I’ve done is write. The result is my book Without a Script: A Caregiver’s Journey, a collection of stories, poems, letters and vignettes that capture the roller coaster of emotions as my mom and I are cast in new roles and set out on a journey without a script, stage directions, or understudies in the wings.
        Lois Kipnis

    • Ellen Coste says:

      I’ll be 74 next week, but I’ve just recently begun feeling a part of the “turning 70” group, since I did not retire until last June, having spent the previous few years calculating how and when I could afford it. At first, I liked the reduced stress, having been overloaded at work and consequently unable to meet my socializing and creative needs. I’ve had my ups and downs transitioning, sometimes vegging in front of the TV, but I was determined not to give up. So over the summer I made new friends at the local senior center and when attending meet-up groups. That was fun.

      On the other hand, it was hard to let go of feeling replaced and abandoned when schools started up again this year. I am a licensed clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist and certified school psychologist, having spent the past 18 years working in schools and accustomed to feeling in high demand for evaluating and programming services for the students. So you can imagine that I might have felt devalued, when the school replaced me with someone younger and much less skilled and less experienced. To make matters worse, my colleagues didn’t stay in touch.

      Of course, I soothed my feelings by reminding myself that I remained important to my six children and twelve grandchildren. Besides, I was now making new friends and have made time for my writing, painting, and a planned trip to Hawaii.

      I think what has been especially helpful in the past two weeks is contact with other 70+ people I’ve made contact with in two book groups. Already, I’ve begun to internalize the attitude about this era as being a new beginning, a new journey, and an important one in which we can now have the time and insights to assimilate our learned skills, expertise, and wisdom on our own behalf and in behalf of others. And better still, we can have fun doing so.

  1. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to Core Stability on Huff/Post50

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/core-stability_b_3237754.html

    What’s your physical journey?

  2. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to Are you Ready for a Senior Center

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/are-you-ready-for-a-senio_b_4293843.html

    Have you visited any Senior Centers near you? Tell us about what you found.

  3. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to Speed Bumps on Memory Lane

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/speed-bumps-on-memory-lane_b_3018851.html

    How’s your memory?

  4. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to Foreground Background Swap

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/retirement-planning_b_3654337.html

    This is about retirement…what’s your retirement experience?

  5. Blog Mavens says:

    Has this ever happened to you?
    Read this link to Ageism in the ER

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/ageism-in-the-er_b_3518940.html

  6. Shelly says:

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this subject.
    I really like all the points you have made.

  7. Lainie Silver says:

    My 68th birthday is approaching in 3 months. My favorite musical was Peter Pan. My favorite book, The Little Prince. What I wanted when I was 7 years old was to be four. Growing up/aging just presented unwanted challenges or perhaps a need to shake my fists at the truths.
    Seeking at this seasoned stage to be a rational thinker, reality tells me–like it or not–this is the last quarter of the game!!
    I was thinking, well…— maybe I could be a blogger—–How ironic, that as I was just surfing the web for blogs on the last quarter of the game…too much sports’ analysis… aging women…ads for aging cream… when I googled being 70 and found your site. I think it is a great idea and you both did it. I look forward to your views.

  8. Blog Mavens says:

    Lainie hello,

    We welcome you to our blog.
    As you can see, we receive posts on all topics that matter to women this age. We’re all together in our exploration of life in this decade.
    We look forward to having you join the conversations.
    It is indeed a very interesting time of life.
    Jane and Ellen

  9. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to our Huff/Post50 piece on Ageism

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/thorn-in-side-of-women-over-70_b_6643894.html

    We’d love to hear about your experiences with ageism…It sneaks in everywhere, doesn’t it?

  10. Blog Mavens says:

    Driving While Old

    Who doesn’t treasure the freedom and autonomy exemplified by the car in this culture? Our 70Candles discussion group participants spoke of their need for safe, available transportation options, as critical for their active lives. Ellen says, “Life without driving would be unthinkable.”

    While our teenage grandchildren yearn to acquire that coveted driver’s license, we oldsters cling to our auto independence as long as possible. We are careful drivers … accounting for fewer accidents than those teens, but we know our driving days are numbered. We now outlive our driving roles by about 10 years.

    While still behind the wheel with our gradually diminishing faculties, hearing, vision, attention, reflexes, we make adjustments. Our cataracts expand headlights to glowing abstractions … “So very Van Gogh,” we think. But if we drive in the middle lane, avoiding the glare of on-coming headlights, and follow the rear red lights of the car in front of us, to maintain our lane, we can do it!

    For street signs so hard to read at night … Better just stick to known destinations. Can we hear car horns or distant siren wails with some hearing loss? Makes it more important to maintain visual vigilance. Tricky to time that left turn into rapidly moving on-coming traffic? Safer to turn right, then make a U at the next opportunity.

    Wouldn’t it be helpful for everyone if streets and roads were better lit, and all signs printed larger and better illuminated? Until then, we can squint and strain to see, or preferably, find a younger or visually healthier friend willing to do the nighttime driving.

    What are other alternatives? For shorter journeys, we can access various forms of electric seats or golf carts … some useful for rides within local communities, others called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) outfitted with features that allow street travel up to 30 mph. Perhaps soon, there will be rental depots where we can choose these as needed.

    Taxis? Uber? Lyft? Any public or local elder transportation services available? We might need them all eventually.

    Although millions of drivers over 75 are still on the road, we all look forward to the day when technology sprints ahead to wide use of the self-propelled autos that have already been created. With radar, computers, artificial intelligence and GPS on board these futuristic wonders, we passengers will simply relax and enjoy the ride. Some day, sensors might be embedded in roadways, with on-board GPS guidance systems to propel vehicles along predictable and safe tracks. Away from random traffic tangles, people of all ages will be able to travel safely whenever and wherever they want.

    Even today, newer cars are incorporating helpful devices … GPS, back-up cameras, wider doors, larger dashboard buttons, active breaking, blind- spot warnings, and special sensors that can keep cars from drifting out of their lanes. If they would also include larger print in the manuals, we’d be sailing!

    While I wait for all these amazing changes, I have discovered the joys of improved vision as the result of cataract surgery. So long Van Gogh lighting! I realize how much more relaxed I feel behind the wheel now that I can see more clearly, day and night!

    What are your experiences and challenges as you drive while old?

    JG

    70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole is available at taosinstitute.net/70 as well as on Amazon.com in paperback and as a Kindle download.

  11. Blog Mavens says:

    Three Kinds of Grandmas in the World

    Grandmas have always been everywhere, but now that families are spread across the country and continents, we are even more everywhere. Whether it is walking down the block to visit a granddaughter, or Skyping for two minutes every morning, or flying around the world to be at the side of a grandson, grandmas are there. Some are filled with joy as they laugh and play, some are filled with worry, some give advice, some rarely take advice, some feel unwelcome and alienated, some feel all of the above. Some take on the responsibility of parenting. But all are grandmas, everywhere.

    Women in 70Candles conversation groups have been talking about what it means to be a grandma, and from these talks we (Jane and Ellen) can categorize our species into three kinds of grandmothers:

    • Those who live for their grandchildren, many even literally relocating to live nearby:

    “I love being with my grandchildren more than I loved being with my own children.”

    “My granddaughter is my life.”

    • Those who love their grandchildren dearly, but do not consider themselves defined by the grandma role:

    “I wish I could spend more time with my grandkids, but we live in different states, I work full-time, and it’s hard. I certainly do what I can.”

    “I could not wait to be called “Bubbe,” but I have other identities, too.”

    • Those who don’t want to be involved, or don’t know how, or just plain can’t:

    “Demographics make it difficult for us to maintain our relationships with our grandchildren. I feel like my grandchildren don’t know me anymore and also, I feel like I don’t know my grandchildren anymore. I go to buy my granddaughter a birthday present, and I don’t know what to get her because I don’t know what her interests are.”

    “I turned my daughter down when she asked me to babysit. ‘I love you, honey, but there’s a reason I put you in daycare’.”

    These are just samples of the comments we’ve seen and heard, and this is what we take away from it all: on balance, grandparenting is good for us grandmas, and it’s good for the grandchildren.

    Through our grandchildren we get to relive childhood and adolescent milestones for a third time — now through wiser eyes and more compassionate hearts. Through this opportunity to recapitulate and reinterpret, our lives take on a new whole-life meaning. We can counsel using our life experiences as a guide, although we know the kids need to figure it out for themselves as they grow up in a world much different from our own.

    At the same time we learn about today’s popular culture. Who’s in or out, and why. Which tunes are hot or not, and why. We can even share our favorite vintage music, some of which has happily been recycled into modern versions, linking our different generations in song. We can ask them for tips about using our cell phones and laptops. They grow through the interchange; we keep on growing through the interchange.

    For those who live at a distance we may be the stuff of legend, images from afar seen on tablet screens. We just appear every so often and just for fun. For those who live nearby, we are flesh and blood old people who know all about their parents’ past (but judiciously only share some), and who can offer some good ideas in a pinch. We may be interesting travel companions, and a pleasant shift from parental oversight. We may be a living, breathing, loving archive of information that can’t be googled.

    Jane says that she has learned much from her experiences with her grandchildren: They ask us hard questions …”What was it like when you were my age?” “Did you ever get bad grades?” “Were you ever stabbed in the back by a friend?” We try to give honest answers and not glorify our youth in their eyes. We can offer unconditional love, and we let them know we will always stand behind them.

    Ellen asked her own grandchildren to describe what their grandparents mean to them, and here are the responses she received (one Dad even pitched in):

    18-year-old grandson, Ben — I think grandparents serve an interesting role for grandkids. They, a generation removed, are sort of the foundation of the influence that kids have via parents. More directly, they, in my life, have shaped my views by both agreeing and disagreeing with the opinions I had developed at any time. Often, the contrast helped me develop my own more than agreeing would have. Also, they are a constant source of love, which is important for any kid. It’s always exciting to see grandparents, whether it means good food or a good time.

    13-year-old granddaughter, Leah — Grandparents have influenced my life in a way like no other. Grandparents have a way with their grandchildren; they aren’t your parents, but more like your buddy. They’re always up for some fun, and they love their grandchildren more than anyone.

    46-year-old Dad of Ben and Leah, Gabriel — My grandparents influenced me by showing me a lifestyle very different from the one I was living. They taught me about growing up Jewish in New York City (not rural Vermont). They taught me the importance of travel and being active. They showed me fine dining and enjoyment of some of the finer things in life. They taught me how to make a gimlet. They also gave me life lessons in kindness and generosity.

    9-year-old grandson, Aaron — They are fun to be with and show me great passion.

    13- and 11-year-old grandsons, brothers Curtis and Caleb
    Never rushing — always there
    Never too busy — to show they care
    Full of memories so willing to share
    A special bond beyond compare

    We hope this discussion has stimulated some thinking out there in grandma-land. We know it is only a quick touch on a monumental subject, with much omitted. What about step-families, for example? What about ethnic and cultural differences in experience? Please write in with your own thoughts on the art of being a grandma.

    Our book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade is now available from Taos Institute Publications: http://www.taosinstitute.com/70candles and from Amazon.com in paperback and as a Kindle download.

  12. Blog Mavens says:

    Crossing the Digital Divide

    There’s a digital divide
    Some are on the other side
    But it cannot be denied
    We’re all in for quite a ride.

    I thought I had captured the flavor of the digital revolution driving our society, when I wrote a futuristic piece, for our 70Candles! book, three years ago. The groundbreaking research in artificial intelligence, robotics, genetics and computer technology described by Michio Kaku (Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. February 21, 2012) was astounding at the time, but as I read the daily newspapers now, I see changes afoot that I could not have imagined then. Inventions and applications of modern technology appear from uncountable sources, filling needs we never knew we had.

    Today, notice of interactive dressing room mirrors. No more running barefoot back to store racks to find the next size. Just touch the screen, indicate your need, and a salesperson will oblige. The screen on the mirror can also display other merchandise choices, or offer fashion tips for the garment you have selected. (Dallas Morning News 3-20-16).

    Recently, I saw an ad for Wifi remote control for your player piano.

    Want some excitement? Note the World Drone Prix, the first international Drone competition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was won by a 15 year old British pilot. Next up, the World Future Sports Games in December 2017. Hold your hats…there will be robotic swimming, running, wrestling, and car racing
    (New York Times 3-13-16).

    Application of virtual reality is burgeoning. It’s becoming integral to video games. Players will not just look at the screen and play, they will actually be immersed within the game. VR has begun to be used in social skills training for those on the autism spectrum. It’s likely to become useful in medical student training and in on-line interior decorator sites.

    Some gadgets and devices are especially important for seniors, particularly when they choose to age in place, and family is not near-by.

    Sensors, increasingly less expensive, can now be placed anywhere; an aid to caregivers who live at a distance. A sensor on the fridge can note how often door is opened. Other sensors can monitor vital signs, track medicine usage and detect falls. The Lively safety watch has an alert button that can be used in case of emergency. It tells the time, counts a person’s steps, and has a medication alert. Information from all of these can be transmitted to family members who want to be assured that all is well with their loved one (Dallas Morning News 8-18-16).

    With voice control of Apple’s Home Kit hub, you can tell Siri to turn on special LED Smart Ivy bulbs in any specially named location of your home while you are away (DMN 3-8-16).

    And what about FaceTime? How did we ever live without it?
    It allows the grandpa in San Francisco to read a Roald Dahl chapter book to his 5 year-old grandson in Brooklyn. It connects the musical grandma to her granddaughter in another city who is practicing her violin. The granddaughter sends a photo of her music, her grandma prints it and proceeds to coach as the girl plays.

    My septuagenarian friends and I do our best to keep up with innovations around us, and we succeed to varying degrees. The pace of change feels incredibly rapid, but I admit each discovery feels empowering. I just learned how to use the mic to speak my text messages…ahh. And Siri’s voice recently magically guided me to a distant doctor’s appointment…how comforting that was! I’m fascinated by the endless trails of information available on the web, and can surf with the best of them. I’m looking forward to the smart cars that will stop to avoid crashes, and will eventually drive themselves. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s newspaper will bring.
    JG

  13. Blog Mavens says:

    Here’s the link to a wonderful New York Times article by Jane Brody, about aging and our book. There is also a link to it on Huff/Post50. It appeared in the Science Times section
    4-26-16

    http://nyti.ms/1T8C1qI

  14. Blog Mavens says:

    Stranded

    I grew up in a big city with a bus stop and a subway station right at the corner. No need for a car to get around town; but transportation is another matter today.

    Now living in the suburbs, my auto is indispensable. Bus routes are limited and stops are usually distant from suburban homes. Newer rapid transit still requires means of access.

    Transportation is an on-going challenge in cities and towns across the country, especially as our population ages. Women in our 70Candles! conversation groups worry aloud about what to do when they can no longer drive.

    We need to give up our keys when faced with vision, vertigo, or coordination problems; but does a woman’s independence have to be sacrificed too?

    Until the day that self-driving vehicles are available to pick us up and drop us off as needed, we must think of creative solutions…now. It’s unrealistic to rely on younger friends or family members who work all day. Community resources need to be expanded and they need to be accessible. Here are some ideas:

    City buses all need lifts, for those on foot as well as for wheelchairs, to replace those high steps. Subway stations need elevators as an alternative to steep staircases. This would help more than just the elderly. Parents with toddlers, babies and strollers, as well as those with physical handicaps would benefit as well.

    Idle busses and vans could be recruited during the day and at night to transport those who cannot drive. School buses, preschool/after school vans, that sit waiting for the school day to end, could be kept in use.

    Senior centers should have the means to pick up participants at their homes and return them later in the day. Independent living and assisted living residences have some, but could probably use more of their own transport vehicles.

    What about Uber and Lyft? These are handy for those who can afford them, and can be personalized when a driver connects for scheduled weekly appointments. However, they can be costly for seniors on fixed incomes, and many still don’t own smart phones required for accessing these services.

    Some communities have retired neighbors willing, for a reasonable charge, or in bartering arrangements, to provide rides to and from airports, malls, or other destinations. Maybe more people should consider providing such a service for their neighbors.

    What will it take realize any of these ideas? Community activism. Seniors are the fastest growing portion of our population. Our voices will be heard if we join together in efforts to improve lives. To expand on Sheryl Sandberg’s urging, “…we need to speak out, identify the barriers that are holding us [old] women back and find solutions.”
    JG

    Posted on Huff/Post50 8-16-16

  15. Blog Mavens says:

    Technology Update for Senior Women – Do You Feel You’re “Keeping up?”

    Have you been paying attention? Technological advances are zooming ahead at warp speed.

    We’ve heard from so many older women who have negative feelings about technology. They see their grandchildren constantly on their smartphones, and feel that personal communication is a lost art. Those that used computers in their previous work lives, are glad to be freed from those screens. Others, however, are embracing digital opportunities, and trying to learn all they can. We hear a range of opinions on the subject of technology in our on-going 70Candles! Discussion Groups, and much spirited debate.

    But no matter what one’s feelings are on this topic, the technological world is barreling ahead, and we are all subject to a digital onslaught, in every area of life, for better or for worse. The daily news amazes with reports of the latest inventions and transformations in Healthcare, Transportation, Shopping, Travel, Communication, Robotics, and on and on.
    A recent article in The New York Times Magazine Section (January 29, 2017) described Amazon’s newest endeavors and the rapid adoption of Amazon Echo devices and the Alexa artificial intelligence that speaks from it. We learned that Alexa is short for Alexandria, conjuring the vast library in that city, in ancient Egypt. Alexa can answer questions, read stories, order food from your neighborhood restaurant or grocery store, as well as order endless products from Amazon itself. It can call for an Uber, turn lights on and off, check one’s bank balance, and control your TV. Amazon wants to become an “everything, everywhere” company (Brad Stone, The Everything Store, 2013).

    Much we read about seems helpful for older women – some inventions, rather exciting: drone delivery, robotic personal aides, self-driving cars to keep us mobile, cars that fly!, digitized 3-D printing, and our digitized, coordinated healthcare records, Alexa can aid those visually impaired, and serve as companion for those living alone. There’s front door video for increased security, smart kitchens with height adjusting sinks, counters and cooking surfaces, and pans that monitor temperature of food cooking. Many women already enjoy Skypeing and FaceTime with family at a distance, and might find helpful the bionic leg that can aid rehab after surgery.
    But some inventions cause real concern.

    Is there a creeping invasion of our privacy? In a new book, The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy and Define Your Power, Joseph Turow reveals strategies used by marketers and merchandisers to increase their bottom line, especially as more people shop on-line, rather than in brick and mortar stores. Data mining, in-store tracking, and predictive analytics that figure out what you’re likely to need next, are designed to change the way we buy, and can seriously undermine our privacy.

    Is it possible that new technologies that disrupt old familiar industries will replace too many workers? We read that with the adoption of self-driving vehicles, “…three and a half million truck drivers will soon lack careers” (The New York Times Magazine Section, 12-18-16, p. 65.). Once artificial intelligence has advanced further, the jobs of inventory managers, economists, financial and tax advisors, real estate agents, and even radiologists and lawyers might well become obsolete. In an interesting on-line article called “Into the Future,” Udo Gollub, predicts that 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years (forums.tesla.com).
    Will there be enough new jobs for our population? Is instant gratification beneficial, or ultimately harmful to the generation growing up with every request answered at the tap of a finger?

    The genie is out of the bottle, and it looks like there’s no stopping technological progress. It’s just really hard to keep up.
    Your thoughts?

    JG

    70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade by Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole (Taos Institute Publications) is available at taosinstitute.org/70candles. For those interested in leading a 70Candles! discussion group, we recommend 70Candles! Gatherings A Leader’s Guide, from Amazon.com

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