Forming New Friendships After Age 55

seniors0987654321

Many people believe that making new friends in mid-life can be difficult.

From my experience with Silver Connections members- this is just a myth. It does take some effort, but is very possible.

There are lots of people out there who need or want friends. Their lives may have been jolted by geographic moves, divorce, or loss of a spouse or partner. Some people simply wake up and realize that some of the friends they have no longer offer the support that makes their friendships worthwhile.

So, how do you begin to form those new friendships after 55?

 

1. Admit That You Might Be Lonely
Self-awareness is the first step. Pay attention to the signs of social disconnection. Are telemarketers the only people who call you in the evenings? Is watching Grey’s Anatomy or Project Runway the highlight of your week? Have you stopped cooking meals because it’s so much trouble for “only one?” Do you find excuses to strike up conversations with strangers in supermarket checkout lines? Whatever your loneliness red flags, recognize that loneliness is not a character flaw—it’s simply a way of telling you to get out, start socializing and have a life!

 

2. Decide What Kind Of Friend You Want To Be
The most important ingredient you bring to a relationship is yourself. What kind of energy and commitment are you willing to put out there in your search for connections? Make a decision that you will show up in the world as someone who is worth having as a friend. That way your energy, honesty, and caring personality will draw people to you when you meet.

 

3. Reflect On The Qualities You Are Looking For In A Friend
Even though you possibly don’t have enough friends right now, this is no time to lower your standards. In fact, the more conscious you are about what kind of friends you want to have, the more likely you’ll find people who meet your needs. Are you looking for someone who:
Enjoys some of the same activities you do?
Shares your political or religious beliefs?
Has something in common that you can both talk about?
Doesn’t complain excessively about physical symptoms or family problems?
Has a similar standard of living?
Likes to listen as much as she talks?

 

4. Become A Joiner
Many people are shy about joining groups. I have a friend who recently relocated to California and thought about joining some organizations, but resisted, saying “I don’t do groups.” Accept your discomfort about groups and join some anyway. It’s really the only efficient way to meet kindred spirits. And, choose only those groups devoted to activities or causes that you enjoy or are passionate about.  I have seen friendships blossom within Silver Connections as members join to attend events and travel with others.  They then find they have many commonalities with one another and numerous members have become close friends.  The Silver Connections group was the vessel that enabled them to meet.

 

5. Invite People To Dinner
Many of us are intimidated by the prospect of having people to our homes, especially people we don’t know all that well. So challenge yourself to dust off that old recipe book, and host a dinner party for a few people you hardly know. It will give you a night off from eating Lean Cuisine, and there is nothing like home-cooked food to help people feel welcome and connected. By inviting a small number of new acquaintances, you won’t have to worry about keeping the conversation going all by yourself—your other guests can help you. If the thought of food preparation makes you want to jump off a bridge, plan a pot luck dinner and make it a casual, but fun gathering.

 

The important thing is to break out of your social shell and take those first steps to forming new friendships.

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

 

SILVER CONNECTIONS WEBSITE:

www.silverconnections.org

 

 

Author/Blog Contribution- Dr. Kathy Jordane

Advertisements

Growing Up In The 1950s

nineteenfifties

 

Many members of the Silver Connections group were born or grew up in the 1950s and if they were born in 1946 or after, are part of  the ‘Baby Boom’ generation.

Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones later described the trend.  Many of the soldiers that came home from WWII settled down and had families. After the depression and years of war, life seemed peaceful and secure. More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million, 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called ‘baby boom.’ In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952.

The United States in the 1950s was also the world’s strongest military power. The GI Bill enabled many men to obtain a college education. The US economy was booming, and the fruits of this prosperity–new cars, suburban houses and other consumer goods–were available to more people than ever before.

 

If you were raised in the 1950’s, these may apply to you:

Home was a safe haven—no need for a security system. Many families never locked their doors.

You could walk or ride your bike alone to school, and your mom would be at home when you got there after school.

Homework aside, you could play until just before 6, when the family would sit down together for a planned supper.

You knew your parents loved you, even though at times it might have felt (literally) like a tough love—ever get spanked with a wooden spoon? Your parents were consistent, always wanting something better for you than what they had for themselves growing up.

There was no Nintendo, PlayStation, x-boxes, video games or iPods in the 1950’s. No cell phones, computers or TV’s in bedrooms. No idea what the internet, chat rooms or Facebook would be!

You had friends your own age, who most likely lived in your neighborhood.  You knew their families and they knew yours.

You had record players for your 45 RPMs.

There were trees to climb and fall out of, without suing anyone when you did.

You may have had packets of baseball cards, with a slab of gum the same size. How about hula hoops, the Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody Time on TV or your lunchbox with milk in a carton.

You may have drunk out of a garden hose and no one thought it was dirty.

You may have had a one-foot deep plastic swimming pool that took forever o fill.

Your telephone number may have had a lettered prefix you had to memorize, like Sunset 2- 4848.

You used big cardboard boxes to build forts in the back yard in a tree.

Do you remember fireflies, milk in glass bottles delivered to your house each day, board games like Candyland and Monopoly, chalk for the sidewalk and a game of hopscotch or jacks?

Bazooka bubble gum with a comic inside and your own wrist watch, with maybe Davy Crockett, Mickey or Minnie Mouse on the dial?

How about family vacations and road trips each summer, waiting an hour after eating before you could go swimming, playing outside after supper each night in summer until your Mom called you in?

Did you always run so hard you were out of breath or laugh so hard that your sides hurt?

How about S&H green stamps from the grocery store and gas stations, licking the backs and pasting them in a book?

Watching a drive-in movie on a Friday night, 15 cent burgers from McDonald’s or roller skates.

 

Beginning in 1935, Polling Company AIPO spent decades ringing strangers up and asking them how happy they were—a move that actually yielded usable data. The fifties saw a surge of people claiming they were very happy, peaking between 1955 and 1960 at around forty percent. That’s the highest it’s ever been.  This isn’t just ‘happy’ but ‘very happy’. A different study measuring average happiness across the decades also placed the fifties as peak smiling time.

For all these positive attributes about this decade, and there were many, what were the negatives?  Racial discrimination and segregation existed. Women were expected to stay at home, be a wife and raise the children. There were puritanical attitudes toward sex. Families were still hurting from the loss of brothers, fathers and sons from the war. There was the McCarthy era, where thousands of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers.

If you were born and/or raised in the 1950’s – was it a happier, simpler decade?

Was being a child in the 1950’s ideal?

If the consensus of the 1950’s being a stable, harmonious decade is true for many, it appeared to be one that did not last long.  It seemed to crumble for good during the tumultuous 1960’s and the “me” decade of the 1970’s.

 

A look at a family dinner in 1950-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8kJzBJrOkU

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

 

SILVER CONNECTIONS WEBSITE:

www.silverconnections.org

 

 

Blog Contributors:  Baby Boomers  R We, History Channel and Listverse

 

It’s Never Too Late To Reinvent Yourself

 

reinvent

Silver Connections members are reinventing themselves all the time.

Often, after many years of marriage, they are reinventing themselves to life as a single person. They are meeting new people and making all new friends. They are becoming involved in new activities and experiences. They are doing all of this over the age of 55.

It is not always easy and can be hard work.  Staying home alone and accepting what is, is the uncomplicated route.  Taking action and chances is much more difficult.

I thought the article below, by James Clear, provides a perfect example of reinvention and pursuing a dream.  Letting go of what is comfortable and reaching out for a life full of possibilities.

 

In 1965, a young man named Tom graduated from college with a degree in English.

Soon after, Tom took a job with an insurance company in Connecticut. After working there for seven years, he transitioned to a new role in the industry and started working for an insurance agency. He worked at that insurance agency for the next eight years.

In 1980, he decided to buy a small insurance agency. At this point Tom had been working in the insurance industry for 15 years, but he was beginning to feel an internal pull to do work that really excited him. He had always wanted to write a novel.

He started by writing in his spare time. Then, he started cutting his work day short so that he would have more time to write. Eventually, he was working on the novel whenever he could find time.

His wife, Wanda, recalled Tom’s early writing years by saying, “He was writing at home every weekend. I told him he should go back to selling insurance.”

In 1984, after working for almost 20 years in the insurance industry, Tom finally published his first book, The Hunt for Red October.

He was hoping to sell 5,000 copies. By the end of the decade it had sold more than 2 million.

Tom Clancy was one of the most successful authors of his generation. Focusing primarily on military story lines, Clancy wrote 17 novels that became #1 New York Times best-sellers. In total, his books sold more than 100 million copies. Many of them, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and The Sum of All Fears were turned into major motion pictures. For millions of readers, Tom Clancy is a household name. But even with all of those amazing achievements, what I found most amazing about Clancy was his willingness to reinvent himself.

We all have goals that we say are important to us — getting in shape, building a business, writing a book, and so on — but for most of us, the inertia of life holds us back. This is especially true when we’re living a relatively comfortable life. Most people in Tom Clancy’s situation would probably continue their insurance career rather than chase the dream of becoming a novelist.

It’s easy to look at someone with the success of Tom Clancy and claim that he was destined for success. 100 million copies sold? He must have been born to be a writer. But if you were to look at him at any point during the first 20 years of his career, you wouldn’t have seen a writer at all.

And that raises an interesting question…

What made the biggest difference in Clancy’s life? Was it his level of talent? Or was it his willingness to make choices and take action?

There are plenty of talented people who never make a choice to do something different, to reinvent themselves, and to pursue their dreams. It’s hard to work up the guts to try something new. Nobody wants to feel stupid and start from the beginning all over again.

But talent isn’t worth a thing without the willingness to take action. It’s great to have a dream, but it’s better to pursue it.

How many Tom Clancys are out there right now, holding their dreams inside and letting the inertia of life pull them in the same direction they’ve always gone?

There’s nothing special that happens to the people who choose to reinvent themselves and chase their dreams. It’s not any easier for them than it is for you. It’s just that at some point, they choose to do the work. They choose to take action. And they choose themselves.

Reinventing yourself and developing a new skill is hard work. Going from out of shape to the best shape of your life is hard work. Transitioning from corporate desk jockey to proud entrepreneur is hard work. Moving from life-long insurance salesman to best-selling novelist is hard work.  And so is pretty much every other goal worth fighting for.

As Clancy said, there’s nothing “mystical” about it. You won’t feel “divinely inspired.” The first steps toward any dream are slow, unsexy, and inconvenient — sort of like writing a novel on the weekends while you’re still running a small insurance agency.

And to further complicate things, reinventing yourself is particularly hard because nobody is going to praise you for it — especially in the beginning. Tom Clancy’s wife told him to “go back to selling insurance.”

The good news is that the path to have a life you love might not look the way you expected, but it can still get you to where you want to go — if you make the choice to try something new.

Some reinvent themselves to follow a dream and others reinvent themselves out of necessity to build a new life of happiness.

It’s never too late.

 

“I have years of life lessons that provide foundation for every decision.  At this age, I say to myself, if not now, when? Go for what you want, or life will pass you by.”  – Kathy Davis

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous, unique socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service,  quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

Silver Connections Website:      www.silverconnections.org

 

Grief and Loss

grief7654I have been thinking about grief a lot lately. Even though I have spent years working in bereavement, it never seems to get easier when it hits close to home. Several long time family friends passed away this year, my neighbor died last month, one of my college sorority sisters passed away recently and as Father’s Day approaches, I think a lot about my sweet Dad who died in 2007 and who I miss everyday.

As the owner of Silver Connections, I am also privileged to meet many individuals who contact me and are struggling with their grief and loss, but who are reaching out to find socializing opportunities and ways to connect to others.  My respect for them is immense; in spite of their grief, they realize they have to try and make their way and engage in life.

Grief is universal, but most people don’t learn about grief until it thrusts them onto the roller coaster of major loss.  And though each person has their own journey, still they share many common experiences.

Yet, there is so much misinformation and confusion around grief. Principally, this comes from the widely-held myths that grief should be short, that grief has closure, that people should get on with their lives unchanged and that ongoing connection with the deceased is somehow pathological.

Below are six principles, cited by Ashley Bush, to help understand the grieving process and to support those who have suffered a loss.

1. Grief is a normal reaction — Grief is the natural emotional and physical response to the death of a loved one. Although our society desperately wants to avoid the messiness of deep sorrow, there is no way out except through the pain. Typical numbing techniques such as medications, alcohol and food are only temporary distractions to dull the pain.

Letting oneself grieve by going directly into the pain — in manageable doses over a long period of time — is healing. Avoiding the pain simply forces it to go deep into the heart where it subtly affects emotional and physical health.

 

2. Grief is hard work — Grief isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty. It involves tears, sleepless nights, pain, sorrow and a heartache that knocks you to your knees. It can be hard to concentrate, hard to think clearly, hard to read and easy to forget all the details of life that everyone else seems to remember. Grievers frequently feel that they’re going crazy and they sometimes wish to die. This doesn’t mean that they’re actively suicidal, it just means that they’re grieving.

 

3. Grief doesn’t offer closure — Closure is an idea that we like because we want to tie up our emotional messes with a bow and put them in the back of a closet. But grief refuses to play this game. Grief tends towards healing not closure. The funeral can be healing, visiting a gravesite can be healing, performing rituals, writing in journals and making pilgrimages can be personally meaningful and healing. But they will not bring closure. Closure is relevant to business deals but not to the human heart.

 

4. Grief is lifelong — Although we all want quick fixes and short-term solutions, grief won’t accommodate us. Many people want grief to be over in a few weeks or a few months and certainly within a year. And yet, many grievers know that the second year is actually harder than the first.  The shock has worn off and the reality of the pain has truly sunk in.

No matter how many years go by, there will be occasional days when grief bursts through with a certain rawness. There will be days, even decades later, when sadness crosses over like a storm cloud. And likely, every day going forward will involve some memory, some connection to missing the beloved.

 

5. Grievers need to stay connected to the deceased — While some might find it odd or uncomfortable to keep talking about a loved one after they have passed, or find it disconcerting to see photographs of those who have died, it is healthy to keep the connection alive. My heart goes out to a generation or more of grievers who were told to cut their ties to their deceased loved ones, to move on, almost as if they had never existed.  It is important to honor the birthdays and departure days of deceased loved ones. Their physical presence may be gone, but they remain in relationship to the griever in a new way beyond form, a way based in spirit and love.

 

6. Grievers are changed forever — Those who expect grievers to eventually get back to their old selves, will be quite disappointed. Grief, like all major life experiences, changes a person irrevocably. People don’t remain unchanged after getting an education, getting married, having a baby, getting divorced or changing careers. Grief, too, adds to the compost mixture of life, creating rich and fertile soil. It teaches about living and dying, about pain and love and about impermanence. While some people are changed by grief in a way that makes them bitter and shut down, it is also possible to use grief as a springboard for compassion, wisdom, and open-heartedness.

 

Finding acceptance in the loss may be just having more good days than bad ones. In beginning to enjoy life, some feel that they are betraying their loved one. They can never replace what has been lost, but can make new connections and new meaningful relationships.

 

“You are near, even if I don’t see you.  You are with me, even if you are far away.  You are in my heart, in my thoughts, in my life, Always.” – M.Holland

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

 

SILVER CONNECTIONS WEBSITE:

www.silverconnections.org

 

 

Changing Friendships

Friends123

An accepted pillar of healthy aging involves fostering nurturing affiliations with others. Former Beatle John Lennon sang “Count your age by friends, not years.”

One of the ruthless risks of aging is social isolation. Career contacts disappear. Older family members pass away. Nearby friends retire elsewhere. Children relocate to pursue blossoming careers.

A “third age” without rewarding friendships can make us sicker faster and even contribute to an early demise. A recent article in Nature reported  “limited contact with family, friends and community groups predicts illness and earlier death, regardless of whether it is accompanied by feelings of loneliness.” Feeling lonely may be an existential truth of living that we can survive; being socially isolated, however, may be a death sentence. It follows that one key to a robust old age comes from real friends.

Yet, some friendships gathered over a lifetime, we learn, are not real. They become frustrating and exhausting.  Some friends want it to be all about them or others may lack the depth and loyalty that is needed for the relationship to survive.  Other times, you may feel you are doing all the work to keep the friendship a priority.

Convenience Friendships

Many friendships germinate because of circumstances. Research from the field of social psychology validates that the most significant factor contributing to relationships of substance is physical proximity. The proximity principle suggests that we form close relationships with those who are geographically near us. People who encounter each other develop stronger bonds.

Thus, we pick up convenient friendships as we travel through life: school classmates, neighbors, people we work with in our careers, and associates we meet through professional and civic organizations. Some of these friendships become enduring and lifelong. One durable relationship may earn the championship title of “Best Friend.”

And while convenience friendships can be miracles in our lives, knitting together decades of shared experiences, sometimes these relationships survive as tired habits. Friendship based on convenience can fall out of balance, even growth restricting.

One of my family members is disturbed by a convenient friendship that began when they were young, having met through a professional organization. This friend is emotionally needy, calls every day, and rambles about her problems with a difficult child, career troubles, dating issues, and so on.  This friend is simply too neurotic or narcissistic to focus beyond herself. She’s too busy receiving to give.

While my relative loves to support others — and helping friends in need can be health-promoting — she gives away doses of psychological energy, shouldering her friend’s persistent crises and ongoing burdens.

Cosmetic Friendships

These are the fun friends- the one you meet  for cocktails after work or the one who goes with you on a ski trip.  They love to be around you when all is good and fun and sometimes these friends also are there because you provide something.  It could be access to a network of contacts or good season tickets to a football game or even financial help.  These may be friends who loved you when you were part of  a couple, but may not come around after a break-up, a spouse’s death or a divorce. When what you have to offer changes, the friendship changes also.  This friend may soon become scarce and unavailable. This friendship does not exist because of positive feelings for the relationship, but because of a benefit.

Interdependent Friendships

Interdependent relationships are the healthiest. Both parties contribute and receive. Both are available to share the joys of closeness and help shoulder the burdens that come with aging. They give and take. They are committed to mutual growth and positive adaptation along the uncharted journey through life.

Sometimes the contact can be be infrequent because of geographical distance, but these friends periodically reach out to each other and be available for support as needed.  They stand the test of time.

Not all friendships are created equal. Convenience friendships may benefit from proximity, but sometimes these attachments were never truly appropriate in the first place. Cosmetic friendships are often fleeting: when our value to the other person diminishes, they depart without even saying goodbye.

Interdependent friendships can be one gift of maturity. They include the extraordinary friends we can count on when we become distraught or disillusioned. They are people who lift our spirits and in return welcome our nurturing care during their tough times.

As we age, we benefit by learning to discern real friendships from relationship baggage, to think more critically about quality of friendships, not merely quantity.

“Books, like friends, should be few and well chosen.”

 

Article Contribution- Huffington Post

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

You Are Never Too Old To Follow A Dream

you are never too old2

If you have ever said “I am just too old to do that!”…… think again!

Age insecurity can be a stubborn mental block that prevents many individuals from achieving success.  Are you letting the idea that you’re too old, hold you back?

Take the quiz below and see these late bloomers who followed their dreams and accomplished tasks at an age when many would consider retiring!

(answers at the bottom of blog)

 

1. Who won a first and only Academy Award two months shy of turning 81?

– Henry Fonda

– Jessica Tandy

– Jack Palance

– Ruth Gordon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2. Which of these authors, at age 65, had a first novel published?

– Joseph Heller

– Mark Twain

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

– Herman Melville

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

3. Who is the oldest tennis player to win the U.S Open doing so in mixed doubles at age 49?

– Jimmy Connors

– Chris Everett

– Billie Jean King

– Martina Navaratilova

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

4. How old was the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest?

– 61

– 68

– 76

– 84

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5. How old was Benjamin Franklin when he was named the Ambassador to France?

– 50

– 60

– 70

– 80

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

6. Doris Haddock, who lived to be 100, walked from California to Washington D.C., between the ages of 88 to 90 to raise awareness of what?

– The Iraq War

– Global Warming

– Women’s Rights

– Campaign Finance Reform

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

7. What age did Grandma Moses (who lived to be 101) first begin painting?

– 51

– 64

– 76

– 88

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

8. Who was the oldest active congressman in history, serving to the age of 100?

– Robert Byrd

– Carl Hayden

– Jennings Randolph

– Strom  Thurmund

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

9. Who, at the age 0f 45, became the oldest heavy-weight champion by deafeating a 26 –year-old?

– George Foreman

– Joe Frazier

– Evander Holyfield

– Lennox Lewis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10. Which fast food restaurant was originally finaced by the 65-year-old owners social security check?

– Wendys

– McDonald’s

– Burger King

– Kentucky Fried Chicken

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

11. At the age of 47, who is the oldest major leaugue baseball pitcher to throw a complete –game shutout?

– Phil Nickro

– Jamie Moyer

– Gaylord Perry

– Nolan Ryan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

12. Of the four Academy Awards won by Katherine Hepburn throughout her career, how many did she win after turning 60?

– None

– 2

– 3

– All of them

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13. In what decade of his life was Frank Lloyd Wright when the Guggenheim Museum in New York was being finished?

– 60s

– 70s

– 80s

– 90s

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

14. How old was Nelson Mandela when he became the first democratically elected president of South Africa?

– 62

– 69

– 75

– 82

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15. How old was Victor Hugo when his masterpiece Les Miserables was published?

– 50

– 60

– 70

– 80

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

16. Who is the oldest politician to win a major party nomination for a presidential election, having done so at the age of 73?

– Bob Dole

– Barry Goldwater

– Hubert Humphrey

– John McCain

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17.  This woman was  97 years old when set a record for the 100 Meter Sprint at the USA Track and Field Eastern Regional Open Championships. She finished the race at 51.85 seconds, beating the previous record of 59.9 seconds for the 90 and over age category. She took up running at age 67 after several personal tragedies in her life, including the death of her husband and two of her sons.

– Doris Jamison

– Ida Keeling

– Ellen Thazan

– Mary Whitaker

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ANSWERS:

# 1   Jessica Tandy

# 2   Laura Ingalls Wilder

# 3   Martina Navratilova

# 4   76

# 5  70

# 6   Campaign Finance Reform

# 7   76

# 8   Strom Thurmond

# 9   George Foreman

# 10  Kentucky Fried Chicken

# 11   Jamie Moyer

# 12   3

# 13     90’s

# 14     75

# 15     60

# 16    Bob Dole

# 17   Ida Keeling

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

http://www.silverconnections.org

Helpful Tips For A Happy Life!

By the time you have reached a certain age, hopefully you have some advice on happiness and how to try and achieve it.

Here are a few thoughts…..what tips have you learned?

 

1. Take a 30 minute walk every day & while you walk, SMILE.
Any exercise is the ultimate antidepressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3.  Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past,
negative thoughts or things you cannot control.

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food
that is manufactured in plants.happy

5. Drink Green Tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli and almonds. 

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Drink wine (in moderation).

8. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.”

9. Laugh!

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive.

11. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what
their journey is all about.

senior76543415. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years,
will this matter?’

17. Help those who are truly in need.  You will get so much back in return.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. Pain or loss never go away completely, but time does heal or at least makes it manageable.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Envy is a waste of time.  Don’t allow it to rear its ugly head.

22.  Stay in touch with your old friends.

23. Be thankful for what you have and not what you wish you had.

24. Never stop learning – a new skill, book, class, hobby, take on a challenging task.

25. Life isn’t always fair, but it’s still awfully good.

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

http://www.silverconnections.org

Should Grandparents Have Boundaries?

grandmother with grandchild_3In July 2010, CBS news ran a segment entitled, “When Granny Becomes Nanny.” In this report, a survey of 10,000 grandparents revealed that 61% of them take care of their grandchildren on a regular basis. This goes above and beyond hosting sleepovers, visiting the kids on the weekends, helping out when a new baby is born, sharing special venues and spending time together into a lifestyle where the grandparents become responsible for the day-to-day care of the grandchildren.

The report also investigated how the down turning economic environment has caused a resurgence of grandparents as generalized caretakers for their grandchildren. The adult kids are not just phoning them to ask if they can baby-sit once or twice a month – but are expecting them to watch the grandchildren several days per week and on weekends. Togetherness in the family is extremely nice, and close family units are proven to raise healthier, better-adjusted children. But is it really fair to expect a grandparent to be a parent?  When does asking the grandparents to baby sit, to fill in, to pick the kids up from school and chauffeur them to ball practice become a ‘practice in disrespect?’

Are parents taking advantage of the grandparents?

Grandparents have already filled their parental shoes by raising their own children. It seems that the circle of life should allow them to sit back and enjoy their grandchildren, spoiling them and spending time with them out of sheer pleasure rather than necessity. And while most grandparents don’t mind watching the grandkids for a weekend,  helping in an emergency or so mom and dad can have some time away – is it fair to expect them to do so on a continual basis?

Often, it seems that the minute an adult child calls the grandparent; the grandparent drops whatever they are doing or cancels whatever plans they have, to babysit.  They are often “on call” which makes it difficult to have a life of their own.

In other situations, they are full-time babysitters while the parents work.  M-F from 8-5. Often two or more grandchildren, five days a week and sometimes even more babysitting on the weekends.

After years of parenting themselves and often working – these grandparents are now required to have a new full time job as a babysitter. The grandparent is now older, with often less energy and stamina than 30 years ago. Chasing a toddler around a room or trying to get three children ready for school – can be exhausting.

Of course, the benefits of grandparents as caretakers are immense to the family. The childcare is better – the kids are in a place where they are loved and nurtured. And the parents are able to work outside of the home. Additionally, when your kids are with the grandparents you can escape away for a weekend without worrying about how they are being taken of, and if they are okay. The problem of course becomes a problem, when the grandparents are taken advantage of.

The golden years of grandparenting are something that most people look forward to.  They have children that they can dote on without constantly feeling that they have to parent and discipline. If children are with the grandparents so often that discipline is always necessary on their part – this can create unhealthy role issues. The grandparents want to be grandparents, not parents to their grandchildren.

It is also important to consider the grandparents schedule. Sure, they would like nothing more in the world than spending time with their grandchildren.  But, it isn’t fair, or nice to simply always assume that they would rather watch the kids.

Without setting boundaries with adult children early in the game, parents run the risk of well-meaning intentions turning into a dreadful hem-and-haw every time they are asked — again — if they would mind watching the kids.

Sometimes, it all works out. Case in point: Joan Seegrave, grandmother of four, says she rarely says no to sitting requests. “I’ve been available and willing. And, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” she says.

For Joan, watching the kids has never felt obligatory. Instead, she sees it as a chance for the grandkids to get to know their grandparents as people. “The little ones are my only hope for sitting these days. I jump at keeping them every chance I get,” she says wistfully. “It’s hard to say you don’t want to be part of something that won’t last very long.” Joan hastens to add, though, that her grandkids’ parents have never overstepped their bounds or “put her on the spot.”

This is not always the case. A lack of granny-nanny guidelines can also lead to sticky situations.

One grandmother (let’s call her Kate) reached that point, of feeling under-appreciated and just plain used. It got to where, as she puts it, “You dread the phone call. You answer it and say, ‘Oh, sure, I’ll sit’ only to hang up and think, ‘What did I just do?'”

It started out innocently enough.

“I was asked to keep my only grandchild for an hour while his mother shopped for groceries,” she says. “Naturally, I was eager to help.”

Two days later, the phone started ringing again. Then, more phone calls. Babysitting requests started piling up.

The calls were spontaneous, says Kate, who admits to being caught off-guard by the onslaught. “While still in the conversation, I’d be juggling two little voices,” she says. “One voice would say: ‘I want to serve, and not be selfish with my time.’ But, an equally urgent voice silently piped up: ‘Yes, but I thought I had this whole day to paint.'”

One way to avoid getting stuck in this predicament is for the grandparent to outline for the adult children how much free time they have for babysitting.  Even lightly strike up the conversation before the grandchild is born. Also key? Consider how far in advance of sitting time the grandparent would like to be approached. If they prefer day-of requests be off-limits — except in case of emergency — tell the children that.

“Setting limits early-on will help you steer clear of misconceptions and unrealistic expectations,” says award-winning children’s author Karyn Henley. The grandmother of two cautions: “If you say ‘yes’ every time, even when it means changing your schedule, the parents will probably ask you first, every time.”

In Kate’s case, there were two warning signs she missed. First, she was being asked to sit more and more frequently. Second, the extent of care she was being asked to provide for her grandson was expanding.

A simple ‘can he spend the night?’ would balloon into, ‘since he’ll be there tomorrow morning, would you mind taking him to his doctor’s appointment?’

Then, Kate began questioning the reasons she was being asked to sit, which usually sounded something like:  ” John has to go out-of-town for work and I really need to do some clothes shopping.”

Sure, sounds like a nice outing; but, is it something Kate should feel compelled to devote a big chunk of her time to making sure it happens?

Things are different now. The new Grandma Kate weighs her decisions to babysit against the reason the baby’s parents require a sitter (what are their plans?). An important job interview gets a ‘yes’ much faster than a massage at the Y.

It’s okay to say, “No, I’m sorry but my schedule is full” without giving specifics. “Setting and communicating reasonable boundaries is hard,” she says. “But I’ve realized that the world doesn’t fall apart when I say ‘no’.”

The best solution is to handle the structure of childcare needs and family as professionally as possible and allow the grandparents to remain just that, rather than long term, short order babysitters that bend to the parent’s every beck and call. Just because it might be easier, doesn’t always mean its right.

And a simple and heartfelt “thank you” –  can let the grandparents know how much they are truly appreciated.

 

Article Contributor:  GrandparentingToday.com

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

http://www.silverconnections.org

Making Friends After Age 55

seniors87650876A new study suggests loneliness is a significant factor in our overall health and well-being. According to a recently published report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, loneliness after age 60 is linked to physical decline, Alzheimer’s Disease, depression and even death, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco.

How do you make friends when you are post 55 and all the channels toward friendship seem to have evaporated? Making friends is easy when you are in school. Everyone is the same age, lives in the same place, and the fishing pond is filled with people with whom you share interests and values.

What comes next is a hodge-podge: You collect friends from the different parts of your life. You become friends with the people at work — again, a pool of people with common interests if not common ages. And you become friends with neighbors — people who generally match your age and socio-economic community: If you rent in a building with single professionals, that’s who you meet; if you buy in the suburbs where all the young families live, you will find other young families. When you become a parent, friendships are formed with the other parents. You meet them on your kids’ sports teams, at school, and enrichment classes you sign your kid up for like karate and ballet.

But, then the kids grow up and much of what you had in common with many of your friends — your children — disappears from your social life. Or, maybe you have moved to a new area to live closer to your adult children or to retire. What do you do to make friends when you are post 55?  Mind you, we’re not talking about dating here — online or otherwise. Where do you find men and women to hang out with when your own old friends are scattered to the wind?  E-mail, Skype and Facebook can keep you in contact with long-distance old friends, but they aren’t around to grab a cup of coffee with or go hiking with on Sunday morning.

Making friends at this transitional point in our lives is critical to our overall happiness. Barbra Streisand sang it correctly: People who need people are the luckiest people, and I don’t think she was talking about virtual friends. We need people around us –friends to go out to dinner with, catch a movie with, laugh with.

Here are a few suggestions of how to make friends after 55:

  • Follow Your Interests:  Like to play tennis?  Find a tennis group in your area. Interested in bike riding?  Join a bicycle group and enter a race. Enjoy attending the theater?  Join a group that offers theater outings.  No one ever met anyone from watching TV on the couch!
  • Stay Local– Join a group or activity that is in your area.  You will be more inclined to go, if you don’t have to drive an hour to get there.
  • Become A Joiner– Even if you have not always been one to join groups or be a part of a club- now is the time to change that.  Get yourself out there.
  • Make The Effort– If you meet someone at an event or activity, don’t be shy about asking for an email or phone number.  You can then get together again.  It may feel a bit awkward, but you never know unless you try.  “Hey, I really enjoyed talking to you. Would you maybe want to get together for coffee or a drink?” The worst they can say is no.
  • Be Open To Differences– Not everyone is going to be exactly like you or have the same background or life choices.  Be open to those who are diverse and bring something special to the table.
  • Invest In Your Happiness- You may have to spend a little money to join a group or sign up for a class.  Look at it as an investment in your health and happiness. The benefits can be worth so much more and outweigh any cost.
  • Sign-up, Show Up!  There may be times that you don’t feel like making the effort to go out and meet new people.  Friends will not find you – you have to be out there to make it happen!   If you join a membership or activity group, you will not have something in common with everyone, but chances are you will find people who you will click with.  Once you go ahead and make yourself go, you will be so glad you did!  Who knows what great friends are out there…..just waiting to meet you!

Article Contributor  A. Brenoff

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

http://www.silverconnections.org

For Those Age 55+- How Important Is Socializing and Friends?

senior765434

       

No man is an island

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.  

 

It is true that no man (or woman!) is an island; we thrive on relationships, with our friends, coworkers, acquaintances and family members. We all need a sense of belonging, of oneness other human beings, and this is why we socialize. And although we tend to interact with others during our teenage and early adult years, we need an active social life more than ever as we grow older. If you’re 55+, it’s important that you maintain a strong network of connections because:

  • It gives you a sense of belonging: The feeling of loneliness and being left out gets stronger as you retire from work life and as your kids grow up and start to live their own lives. Your life changes, and if you’re not able to accept these changes and reorient your life accordingly, you will have difficulties.  When you continue to socialize and go out and meet people often, you feel good about yourself and are more confident in your abilities. Besides this, you also don’t think of your age or view it as a limiting factor.
  • It keeps illness away: Individuals who are age 55+ and live alone are more prone to illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The more you socialize and meet and interact with people, the more you use your mind and keep that brain working via conversation and interaction.  Loneliness can cause depression and have a detrimental effect on your physical health, causing blood pressure issues, a compromised immune system and more.
  • It helps you stay relevant: When you keep in touch with other people and meet up with them on a regular basis, you keep up with what’s changing and what’s new. This helps you stay relevant and keep up with the times. It prevents you from feeling left out because you’re able to hold a conversation relating to any current news and information. It boosts your confidence and does a world of good for your self-esteem.
  • It puts you in a good frame of mind: Meeting people and socializing on a regular basis makes you feel happier and more content with your life. You have a sense of purpose and a reason to live. When you’re alone, you tend to feel depressed and sad if you’re not busy. Meeting friends and acquaintances helps boost your mood and puts you in a better frame of mind. 

An organization such as Silver Connections  has the primary goal of providing quality socializing opportunities through events and travel to those who are single and age 55+, along with the ability to introduce members to each other promoting friendship.  As human beings, we are not meant to be alone all the time.  We need one another and activities to look forward to – for happiness, health and quality of life.

 

 

 

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, quality members and connections for age 55+ (mostly Boomers!) active and single adults. 

http://www.silverconnections.org

« Older entries Newer entries »