Flourishing in the Eighth Decade!

Women everywhere, welcome to our blogspot, a space for sharing experiences, thoughts, and ideas about how to overcome obstacles and thrive as we approach and endure in the eighth decade of life. We hope this exchange will be a source of inspiration for the next generation of seventy year olds. Those baby boomers are hot on our heels, and want to know more about what lies ahead. Nobody gave us a guidebook or shared what this path might be like. As we burn those seventy candles, we can help shed some light on the trail for them.

What has this transition been like for you? Serious, funny, commonplace, unusual, short, long stories, all are welcome. How does it feel to be among the oldest in the crowd? What does it take to thrive in this decade? How do you think others see you? What contributes to well-being and yes, flourishing at three score and ten?

We welcome the comments and reflections of women everywhere. All cultures, ethnicities, socioeconomic status and backgrounds; as diverse a sample as we can reach.

Please contribute brief anecdotes, observations, thoughts, ideas, and life stories by posting them in the comment section below.

Alternatively, you could email longer stories to us at 70candles@gmail.com. Please include information about your age, ethnicity/cultural background, geographic location, education, and work status. We will organize, collate, and share your emailed stories anonymously on this blogspot. Ultimately this may become a book about how our generation flourishes. Spread the word!! 

Posted in 70candles | 34 Comments

Do you feel lonely?

Postings from some of our contributors describe isolation and loneliness. Some see no way out of this predicament. AARP has been focusing on this issue and has published the informational brochure we’ve attached here.

See what you think of their recommendations. Would this be helpful to you or someone you know? Are they missing anything?

Let us know what you think.
Jane and Ellen

https://connect2affect.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Online_Brochure_d1.pdf

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Aging, Caretaking, Men aging, Older women connecting, Widows’ choices | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The transition from work life to retirement for women

Thanks to Dr. Hanna Frederick for this notice about a new book coming out about women and retirement, a topic of continued interest at 70candles.com. You can find it on Amazon.

How have you steered your retiement transition and all that has followed? Any tips to share?

Women and Retirement: Challenges of a New Life Stage (Paperback) book cover
Women and Retirement
Challenges of a New Life Stage
By Susan Moore, Doreen Rosenthal

Routledge
148 pages

In the last century, changes to the nature and patterns of women’s working lives have been vast. Notably, the huge increase in women’s participation in the paid workforce means that today women are retiring in unprecedented numbers. How do they cope with this lifestyle transition? What major difficulties do they face? How do they process the problems associated with managing this transition in fulfilling ways while juggling family, financial, friendship, ageing and health issues? To date, most retirement studies have focused on men, and therefore gender-specific issues relating to post-work life, such as the pay gap, the double shift, women’s longer lifespans and their traditional roles as carers and social nurturers, have been afforded far less attention.

Women and Retirement: Challenges of a New Life Stage is the first book of its kind to examine women’s retirement using a lifespan perspective. Based on the authors’ extensive study of over 1,000 retired Australian women as well as current research, the book presents models of various retirement trajectories and compares women’s experiences with the more widely researched retirement experiences of men. Moore and Rosenthal consider the nature of the transition from full-time work to retirement and the many different pathways and factors influencing this journey: women’s financial status in the retirement years; their health changes; and the varied activity patterns they adopt.

Women and Retirement is a comprehensive, up-to-date and evidence-based review of the female retirement experience. It will be invaluable for courses on ageing and health within psychology, women’s studies, social work and sociology, and for use by practitioners in these fields.

Posted in 70candles, What do we do with our time?, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Aging but Dangerous Women Leap from Plane, Drink Martinis

Hello,

Each year, a group of Aging But Dangerous women gather on an airfield in central Minnesota to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and celebrate life afterwards with a pitcher of martinis. The fearless leader of Aging But Dangerous is Jean Ketcham, a 78 year old former businesswoman and radio host. Details are below.

I thought the annual Martini Jump might be of interest to your readers.

Thanks for your consideration,
Patricia Maltz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Patricia Maltz Phone: (612) 876-7964
Email: info@agingbutdangerous.com

Aging But Dangerous Announces its 6th Martini Jump Skydiving Event for Women
All women from the Twin Cities and beyond are invited to jump with us!

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Sept. 4, 2018 — Aging But Dangerous, a movement that encourages women to step out of their comfort zones and embrace a life filled with fun, spirit and style, presents its 6th Martini Jump Skydive.

This popular event features a tandem freefall (all skydivers will be jumping tethered to an experienced instructor), a parachute landing at a pre-designated drop zone, and an airfield social hour, including martinis for ABD jumpers, followed by a group photo. Photos and video taken during each skydive can be pre-arranged.

Participants will meet at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 15th, 2018, at Skydive the Lakes in Winsted, Minnesota (45 miles west of Minneapolis). No experience is necessary; novices are invited to attend.

Join us and experience the thrill of a lifetime with a very special group of Aging But Dangerous women!

Aging But Dangerous believes every woman, regardless of age, can overcome any obstacle to achieve her personal, social, and career goals. Since 2008, Aging But Dangerous has been helping woman enrich their lives through community building, self expression, risk taking, and mentoring.
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If you would like more information about the Aging But Dangerous Martini Jump Skydiving Event, please contact Patricia Maltz at (612) 876-7964 or info@agingbutdangerous.com.

Posted in Stories | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Crying out for some small thread of light

Rosilyn, Age 70

I am hoping someone out there can persuade me that there is an interesting life after 70!!!!

I live alone, friends are scattered around London, but not near me, and relations have died. Recently I had tremendous bills I didn’t expect from the Tax Office and Council and whilst I attempted to start a new job, found the Accountant involved was wanting horrendous sums of money from me to sort out my wages.

I went into a downward spiral and couldn’t leave the house for a week. Worst of all friends contacted me wanting me to arrange my 70th birthday party. I couldn’t bear it and cut myself off from my friends. This is so unlike me as I’m usually so buoyant and positive. I don’t want to go onto anti-depressants and it’s no good telling me that people have cancer or are about to die. I realise I’m being selfish but can’t think of anything good about the age of 70, which will be coming up in 7 days time. I miss my work terribly, as I used to be a Medical Secretary and the routine of work plus the friendship of work is no longer there. I did try and get something different in the workline but can’t find anything. I’ve done the travelling I need to do and can no longer afford a lot of expense.
Sorry if this is a miserable line and you probably won’t print it anyway, but I think I’m crying out for some small thread of light at the end of the tunnel to hang onto. Days are long and I often don’t feel like getting out of bed, but I do. I tried volunteering, but I was left with a prolapsed disc in my neck and kept dropping things and I think this went against me. I often go swimming every day, but I need company, has anyone out there any ideas at all. It seems in London there are no societies or clubs for people my age.

Any ideas would be welcome.

Can anyone out there give me any suggestions on how I’m supposed to carry on living in my joyless world I seem to have created for myself. Unfortunately with not being married I have no grandchildren.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Aging, Finances, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The dawning of acceptance

Jocelin, Age 70

What a relief!

Thinking back I began to worry in January about my 70th birthday, August 2017. I did not want to leave my 60’s. I loved the 60’s. I had started to live my dreams of traveling with my camera and becoming a proficient photographer. But I was turning 70.

As the year progressed the undercurrent continued pulling me under. To celebrate or to weep or neither. Eventually I decided to celebrate which, in retrospect was fun and the right thing to do – but behind the smiles my life was fragmenting.

I began behaving as I have read other 70 years olds have written. My moods changed to dark, I blamed loss as theft, and there was theft, mistakes were made, I took matters personally, I had several non-serious car incidents, life was becoming intolerable. Worse, I found myself behaving a-typically, doing what I would previously never have contemplated – all because I felt trapped, snared between chronology and not feeling or looking ‘my age’.

Then came the pit, the bottom, the wall, the smash, the fragmentation and the tears … if anything ever ran more true it was the axiom: what you resist persists.

Somewhere something penetrated the funk – ‘the internet – read – there must be others like you’ – and there was 70candles. I read with relief, I read for interest, I sought to identify, I looked for a model – there wasn’t. I am my own model – I have to be. If 70candles doesn’t have one for me, it’s up to me to become my own. And in that dawning came something else.

Acceptance. It was the only way out and it came from a place deep within.
I felt, as I imagine a butterfly must feel as it wriggles out of the chrysalis to spread its glorious wings for the first time. The fears for my future diminished and disappeared. The financial problems swung around to become solutions. Concerns for my animals, (three dogs) vanished. My physical disposition changed as well. Where I had been concerned about falling – I became sure on my feet returning to the gym to once again feel the exhilaration of walking the treadmill. Like the Rubicon cube, my life suddenly clicked – from here on I feel I have the energy to manage.

I found Christiane Northrup’s work Goddesses never Age – that together with 70candles provided the insights for me to do my work. For me to take over and create my role model, my beliefs for going forward, the framework for my attitudes and goals for the next thirty years.

I do not fit in to the general society. I am single, without a partner with no immediate family in my city. The latter is not particularly people-centered. One has to drive everywhere. The thought of living in a community, home or care centre is not one I will contemplate.

My vision for my future is in the making and one I feel sure I’ll continue to design, shape and grow as I move forward inspired by the stories posted on this blog.

Thank you to the 70candles community.

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Looking ahead, What do we do with our time?, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Positive Aging: Adding Life to Your Years

See the Vimeo recording of this 2018 presentation by Ellen Cole at the William K. Sanford Town Library in Albany N.Y.
April 3, 2018

Ellen Cole, PhD, will share the results of her 8-year research project on aging. She will present what women say about their lives, the challenges and the joys, and conclude with what we can learn about thriving in one’s 8th decade and beyond. She will discuss her most recent books, Retiring but Not Shy: Feminist Psychologists Create their Post-Careers (with Mary Gergen) and 70 Candles: Women Thriving in their Eighth Decade (with Jane Giddan).

Ellen is currently a professor of psychology at the Sage Colleges, where she teaches master’s level graduate students who are becoming licensed mental health counselors. She has co-edited the journal Women & Therapy, and authored and edited many books.

[If the following link doesn’t work for you, type the URL into your own web address bar, or look at the first Comment below.
It does work there.]

Https://Vimeo.com/266517349

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Ageism anecdotes, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Caretaking, Goals ahead, HUMOR, Looking ahead, Older women connecting, Resilience, Work life and retirement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is your city age friendly?

There’s an initiative afoot to make conscious changes in towns and cities so they better fit the needs of their older populations. Amazingly, by 2050 more than 60% of the world’s major cities will be over the age of 65.

In light of our extended longevity, activist gerontologist Dr. Bill Thomas calls the stage of life after adulthood, Elderhood, and applauds its rich potential. Average life span in the U.S continues to increase. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050 the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double its population of 40.2 million in 2010. More than half of those born since 2000 are expected to live to 100 or more.

Time is of the essence, for the issues that confront cities today effect the well-being of older citizens everywhere. Frequently identified problems area limited adequate affordable housing, constricting transportation options, sparse social opportunities, and minimal access to community culture and amenities.

Age UK, a British organization, in conjunction with the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), has launched an international Age Friendly Cities initiative. Dr. James Goodwin, head of research for Age UK announced that Santa Clara County in Northern California is the first to have all fifteen of its cities sign aboard this initiative; each city assessing needs and making its own plans for appropriate improvements.

A great concern is isolation and loneliness. According to Dr. Goodwin, feeling lonely more than 2/3 of the time is as detrimental to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Encouraging social connections is critical for health and well-being.

Age friendly cities work to enhance infrastructure and services so older citizens can continue to participate in their communities. Dr. Goodwin envisions walkable environments, with curb cuts to eliminate steps, seating along streets and roads for those who need rest breaks, and availability of handy public restrooms.These would encourage people to get out and walk more, providing exercise and more social encounters for improved physical and mental health.

Some cities have created pop-up social groups, and encourage volunteer drivers to help people get to community events and activities…like volunteering.

Affordable housing options would expand. An new innovation by Dr. Bill Thomas, is a design called Minka homes – small, units, easily assembled with prefabricated parts that fit together LEGO-style. These could be arranged in planned communities as in the experimental prototype soon be constructed on the campus of Southern Illinois University.

Look around your community. Let your city council know about what’s missing, and encourage them to join this movement. Involvement in the Age Friendly Cities initiative takes the will of a city council and the signature of the mayor.
Age UK can help with some guidance.

To learn more about this, listen to the podcast of
Dr. Goodwin’s presentation to the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, July 14, 2017. Just type Age-Friendly Cities and the Future of Aging into the search box at commonwealthclub.org, and think about your town.

We elders are a powerful force and can have an impact, even lead the changes we want to see happen. Let us know here at 70Candles.com what your community looks like for older adults.

What do you think needs changing in your area to improve life there for you and other older citizens?

Jane and Ellen

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Where to live | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Apologies for technical problems

There’s been a glitch in our subscribers email distribution.
Notices about new postings are not being received by our more than 600 subscribers.

This is very frustrating, and we are working with GoDaddy to uncover the cause and to find a solution.

We hope, in the meantime, you will all check into 70Candles.com from time to time, to read and respond to entries.

Hoping for resolution of this technical dilemma soon,
Jane and Ellen

Posted in 70candles, Networking, Technology and contemporary culture | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Turning 78: Adaptations and accommodations

Jane, July 3, 2018

Another birthday….rather surprising to hear the number 78. I realize I have just outlived my mother who died at age 77. As always, I’m looking forward to the fireworks ahead, my special birthday treat.

I’ve enjoyed today’s phone, FaceTime and online conversations with friends spread around the country….feeling fortunate to share celebration with nearby family….glad to be here and feeling well enough.

I wrote in this blog eight years ago, about then turning 70.

Now some observations on turning 78:

Since downsizing and moving to the Dallas-Ft Worth Area fourteen years ago, to be near our family, I have learned my way around town and have developed new friendships. A city-girl at heart, I continue to enjoy exploring the endless possibilities in the DFW metroplex…now sharing discoveries with our teen-age grandchildren. I have a variety of activities that keep me as busy as I care to be, many of which keep me involved with other people…of all ages.

I greatly enjoy curating 70candles.com, and am inspired by the richness of the topics and conversations both currently and in our archives. I’m amazed at the geographical reach around the world of our blog. Be assured we will keep it going, even into our 80s. The masthead has been updated to say it’s for “women in their 70s…and beyond.”

I work on writing projects with my husband, Norman, and publish our work on Amazon’s CreateSpace…always a technical challenge for me…but oh, the satisfaction when I overcome each computer obstacle.

We both exercise several times a week, stay abreast of news and the distressing political scene, and stay in touch with our nearby children and three grandchildren.

I’ve declared this my summer of art, and will take a watercolor class, along with a friend. I’ve dipped in and out of art classes through the years, and find them engaging and fun.

I’ve enjoyed reading with my two book groups, but also choosing books of my own. Am laughing out loud at David Sedaris’ poignant but funny new book of short stories, right now.

I’ve found two friends who are happy to join me for evening concerts, and dance performances downtown. My husband is less inclined to attend those events, but is delighted that I have others to go with.

My recent endeavors over the last few years have included knitting scarves and hats upon request, learning to play ukulele and getting my granddaughter interested in playing, and, a new addition, visiting friends in rehab and nursing homes, with hope of bringing distraction, comfort and cheer.
I try to participate as a citizen in the political realm and have marched and signed petitions for causes that matter to me.

Adaptations and accommodations that come with aging have recently come into focus:

First, as my hearing declines, I find myself alerting and informing those I encounter of my need for volume, clarity and visibility. I use those wonderful closed caption devices at the movies and auditory amplifiers at the theatre. I spread the word to others I know who need that enhancement, that these devices are readily available. I need to have my hearing aids checked annually, and I return for tweaking if the settings are off target in volume or in specific frequencies. It really makes a difference when the tuning is right. I’m not shy about asking a restaurant to turn down their music while I’m there.

I’ve discovered the pleasure of a short afternoon nap, especially if I’ve awakened very early and have been to a rigorous exercise class.

My Saturday morning hour-long walk with a good friend has become shorter, she tells me as she consults her Fitbit. I seem to have slowed my pace somewhat, probably because of minor hip and Achilles’ tendon issues, although our conversation has maintained its breadth and depth. As we walk, I notice that interesting details on the sidewalk, are now closer than they used to be…as my height has gradually been reduced by 2 3/4 inches!

I sit more than I used to…reading more books, sometimes knitting…watching the news and Netflix with my husband…pleasant sitting.

I noticed when I took our three grandchildren downtown to see the Lion King, and for lunch at the theater, I welcomed their help. “That’s why you have three grandchildren,” one said when I thanked her for picking up something I dropped. I enjoyed having my grandson drive us down there, rather than having to drive myself.

Although I still do a shoulder stand and a plow, I don’t turn upside down anymore…not since my recovery from a most unpleasant bout of Ménière’s disease that left me dizzy for too many months. Thankfully that problem eventually resolved.

Things I no longer do, but remember fondly are skiing, ice skating, rollerblading, tennis and even bike riding. I’m concerned I wouldn’t hear traffic behind me were I on a bike. I noticed at a modern dance performance the other night I was an enthralled observer, but remembered when I used to empathically actually feel each dance movement as I watched such events.

We’ve stopped traveling great distances. Now I watch and listen as others fly in and out of the country and the state, and I enjoy descriptions of their adventures. We’ve had our share of foreign exploration. Enjoyable now to watch the food travelers on TV as they venture far and wide….and Norman has learned some fantastic cooking ideas as a bonus.

We’ve made improvements in our home in the name of safety and fall prevention. A bar to hold onto in the shower, another by the steps from our garage to our back entrance, and at the front steps, two sturdy high gloss black enamel steel handrails. They look great and create a cozy stoop where I sometimes sit and read.

We still drive, and can’t quite imagine that privilege will ever cease, but know that eventually we might need to be transported by others. My husband who is several years older than I, and I, monitor each other whenever we’re on the road to be sure we’re still up to the task.

We live in a multi-generational neighborhood where we are clearly the oldest residents. People know us and we have neighbors we can shout out to in a pinch. When I left both the garage door and car door open the other morning, as I ran back inside to get my water bottle for exercise class, the young woman next door who caught sight of that, called my cell phone to be sure everything was okay. That was comforting. I like my role on the Architectural Control Committee of the HOA, as it keeps me involved in the workings of the community.

Oh…And I’ve decided to let my hair become white after years of coloring it. I kinda like it, though many have warned that I will become invisible and be dismissed by younger people…Not yet so far…

Time has flown since our move from Ohio to Dallas to be near our family. Our oldest grandson who was then five, is about to be a Sophomore in college. Since I can never remember (among other things) exactly what year we moved, I use his age to calculate our length of time here. We’ve always measured his height against my body. He is now nearly six feet tall and we laugh as he has to bend down to hug me.

All in all, I feel grateful and loved, and as I see more illness and death around me, thankful for still being here, to enjoy the good life I have.

Posted in 70candles, Adaptations and accommodations as we age, Aging, Attitudes about aging, Family matters, Men aging, Resilience, What we're reading, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Transition

Patricia, Age 81 1/2

Hi everyone,
I am probably the oldest of this group, and when I turned 70 years decided to leave my hair WHITE!! This was unconceivable to my friends (female) since I am chilean, my country is definitely managed by males, women ask their husbands, “should I?“ or “may I…?” Well I didn’t even consider that posibility.

So let me warn you of the effects of white hair (at least here):

YOU INSTANTLY BECOME INVISIBLE
YOU ALSO TURN TO BE INAUDIBLE
WHEN YOU SIT TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE, WAITERS (female and male) do not see you, they serve somebody in the table next to you….same thing at the supermarket. You stand in the cue for ELDERS, PREGNANT WOMEN,INVALIDS AND in front of you is a girl of 25 years. So I touched her shoulder, pointed at the sign and asked: to which of theses conditions you belong, I can see you are not an invalid, neither are you old, that leaves us with pregnancy, unless it happened in the last hour, you certainly do not belong in this cue, so we had a good laugh …

One good thing to happen is that somebody may give you their seat in the subway, open a door when they see me pushing hard and getting no where.

And when I want to get a cup of coffee or the bill, I wave a paper napkin, that certainly gets every bodys attention,

Regards to all
from Maitencillo, Chile

Patricia

Posted in 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Attitudes about aging, HUMOR | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments