My husband’s unexpected death in 2016 triggered much thinking and a resolve to move slowly –focusing thought and effort on avoiding making mistakes. With one brother living on the other side of the country and no children, I realized I was accountable to no one but myself and better carefully put my life back together, but in a different-in-someways way.

Indeed, then, life ahead was like a blank canvas that of course would–in time–fill. That said, I wanted to fill it as carefully as possible. Taking a long pause from HELP PARENTS AGE WELL felt like a lessening of responsibility. It felt right. More time to think carefully and make necessary adjustments… however long that would take.

Unexpectedly Dad’s words, at the time of Mom’s death, came back–something like “one of you (my husband or me) will survive the other. I’m fortunate to have you, your husband, and your brother; but you have no children.

Fortunately that wasn’t a problem. In fact I was happy that I wouldn’t be cast as a seemingly bad person rejecting well meaning, but unwanted, advice from family. And it was easy to let good friends know their friendship was invaluable and I’d ask when I needed something… assuming that was OK.

While I’m no longer the child of aging parents I am inching towards 80. I realize wisdom from my senior advisors, shared through this blog, is coming in handy… surprisingly often.

So I’m beginning a next-step blog for us: INCHING TOWARDS 80. I’m behind on new technology necessities, so please bear with me. The prototype is published and I believe you can see it by switching to it from this site–HELP PARENTS AGE WELL —I think/hope. Please let me know. IT SEEMS IT ISN’T switching. Hope to succeed this weekend when I have my computer. Currently my smaller “devices” are what I’m using.

Aging Parents-Adult Caring Children: Emotional Aspects of Relocating Aging Parents

The Best Article on Relocating Aging Parents I’ve seen

While it has been a year and 5 months since my husband died and I’m doing well, I’m still getting my current life in order. Specifically I haven’t yet had time to begin my “Inching Towards 80” blog and much of my spare time is devoted to reorganizing–everything. In doing so, I came across a saved AARP article on relocating aging parents that is, I think, so excellent that I’m coming back to my blog so I can share the link. Nuff said. If I have time I’ll add the link under “Related” to my previous posts on aging parents and moving. But for now click: .

Aging Parents: Hanging on Too Long, Not Knowing When to Quit

“I’m A Star, I Can’t Quit”

…a memorable saying that Senior Advisor R used often enough that it regularly pops into my head–even though R has been gone almost two years. It captures the nuances of someone in–possibly/probably–denial about lessening abilities and talents, often age-related,  We’ve no doubt all known someone who fits this description–possibly an older parent or someone we work with.

With this thought and a desire to carry on my life in spite of the changes since my husband’s death last June, I realize it’s time for me to quit–at least for now– this labor of love. Help! Aging Parents’s first post appeared in September 2009. 735 published posts and many thousands of views later, we’ve been happy to be able to provide the best information and creative ideas for helping parents age well that we could put together for our followers and unknown viewers.

It’s possible that I will return with a new blog at some point. Before my husband’s death was ever contemplated, I registered a domain name, Inching Towards 80, thinking it could supply helpful information that many of my viewers could use for themselves.

We all, of course, have been inching towards 80 since we were born. And as life expectancy expands, many more of us continue to have relatively healthy and fulfilling lives–albeit different from our younger years–into our 80’s and beyond. And with cars that will drive themselves in the not-to-distant future, so many possibilities lie ahead for enriching lives of older and old people and for making it easier to avail themselves of medical care without the dependency that now exists. I leave you with these thoughts and say–

Goodbye–at least for now.

Aging Parents: The Pet-Human Bond Through Illness and the End of Life

“What will become of my pets if I get sick too sick to care for them?
What will happen to my pets when I pass?”…

…Sent from Dianne McGill, who founded Pet Peace of Mind in 2009.

It appeals to the animal-lover in me and the fact that I can make a little difference. I asked Dianne if she would share from her experiences and her program. The result: Dianne’s contribution written for my readers.

“What will become of my pets if I get sick too sick to care for them? What will happen to my pets when I pass?”

These questions are on the lips -and in the hearts- of many people facing debilitating illness or end of life issues. For those who share profound bonds with their pets, the connection is akin to that of a family member. It is no wonder that during the end-of-life journey, pets can play a critical role.

For these pet families, the human-pet bond takes on deeper meaning and value. Pets may serve as their sole source of companionship and provide a sense of responsibility and purpose outside of self. For many patients, they view maintaining a strong relationship with their pets as a reason to get up every day. When friends stop visiting because they don’t know what to say or how to act with someone who is terminally ill, pets often provide a significant source of unconditional love and acceptance about what’s happening in the patient’s life. Very few people can imagine what the end of life journey feels like yet time after time, we observe pets providing a sense of normalcy and stability in patients’ lives.

I know of countless patients who have said that their pet is their lifeline. The bond they share helps cope with the anxiety which comes from dealing with a serious medical condition. For many patients, keeping their pets near them during the end of life journey and ensuring the pet will have a loving home after they pass is one of the most important pieces of unfinished business.

In reality, most patients will need help with pet care issues at some point during their illness. Some patients are fortunate to have a broad support network and receive all the assistance they need from family or close friends. Unfortunately, as loved ones deal with the grief and loss surrounding the patient’s illness, treasured pets may be overlooked or treated as an afterthought by those who are unfamiliar with the patient’s bond with a pet. Pet Peace of Mind provides the solution to this challenging situation by helping local nonprofit hospice and palliative care organizations meet the needs of their patients with pets.

Pet Peace of Mind educates hospice and palliative care organizations about the importance of pets in the lives of their patients and helps them support those pets in practical ways. Our program provides a turnkey approach to help them establish a local program to train volunteers to help patients with their pet care needs and to find new forever homes after the patient passes on. We help them deliver help to patients when and where it is needed, provide funding to launch the program, and provide ongoing support so they are never going it alone.

This video link’s title, Maxwell Finds a Home, shows the program in action. Watch this video to learn more about our work. To learn more about how you can receive help or help a patient in need visit

Aging Parents. Holiday Depression. When Chanukah and Christmas Share the Same Day



At a joyous time for so many who are young(er) and an emotional time for so many who are old(er) and have suffered loss, one wonders whether having the first day of Chanukah begin on the exact same day as Christmas compounds the number of lonely, sad, depressed people in the world.

Countless articles and studies about holidays bringing on depression are available. Advice for sufferers and information about available support exist in abundance. Googling “holiday depression” produces 1,220,000 results. Even here, on this blog since its inception, holiday ideas for helping elders feel supported, cared about and loved exist.

What do we know and what can we do to reduce holiday loneliness in those we care about? Speaking personally–which I try to avoid–is my onIy option. I know from my counseling training that I can’t be objective when my husband died just over 6 months ago. That’s the reason for the larger gap of time between my last post and this. I simply couldn’t figure out how to write on the subject again. With a different perspective I’ve reread my prior posts and can comment. (Click links below and check out ideas.)

Understanding Aging Parents: Elders’s Tips to Reduce Loneliness at Christmas 2015
It’s the Haa, Haa-py-est Time of the year 2009
Help Parents Age Well With a Drive in the Dark  2010
Aging Parents After Christmas Let-Down  2012

Basically I accept the ideas in them  just as much now, as I did when first posting them….with this addition:

Note the idea implicit in “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” is reflected in the interviewees’s comments (see above posts). They pertain to:

Energy level,
ability to take initiative
comfort level being alone or with a pet(I’ve heard women say being alone at night is difficult)
availability of family living near, and no doubt the
ability to see “The Glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty”

All are important aspects to consider when wanting to alleviate or lessen feelings of sadness and loneliness.

For me, personally, the fact that my somewhat rare terrestrial orchid (grows on the ground–pictured potted in soil) sends up this display every year around Christmas/Chanukah, reminds me: life goes on–even after loss. Indeed those tiny clusters of white orchids that resemble a lit candelabra do wither and die.

And while we might feel like the withering and die stage at times, especially after loss, life does go on; so we might as well do our best to make a comeback. And it might take help from caring friends and family if it’s allowed. The comeback will, perhaps, not be as spectacular as this orchid’s…but then…………..

As we try our best to help the elders we care about age well, we remember Grandma’s saying: “When we’ve done our best, we’ve done our best. Angels can do no more!”



Related: the “top stories” about Holiday Depression on Google today:

Local Organizations Supporting Those With Holiday Blues
KGNS TV 12/23/16

Holiday Depression–Identifying the Signs and Finding Support
Fox 13now  12/ 22/16

Help Aging Parents–Loneliness: The Implications are Sobering

At its most basic, it is the lack of fulfilling social connection in people who yearn to feel connected.
The web of meaningful connections that keeps us healthy has “frayed to the breaking point.”
Lonely Planet

The holiday season is here. Several of this blog’s posts in years past have focused on holiday loneliness, offering ideas to mitigate some of it. That said, holiday loneliness is one thing. Perpetual loneliness is another, leading to sobering health consequences. We often think of the emotional. Do we understand the physical? And the implications for lonely, aging parents?

UCLA Health’s recent Lonely Planet  article  (click this link or “loneliness” in Newsworthy at top right) reiterates what many of us know: “Loneliness and social isolation take a steep toll on the human body.”  But are we aware that “Studies show people who are chronically lonely have significantly more heart disease, are more vulnerable to metastatic cancer, have an increased risk of stroke and are more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s? Lonely adults are 25 percent more likely to die prematurely, while elderly people who are lonely die at twice the rate as those who are socially connected. All of which makes the spike in loneliness in American society even more alarming,” according to the article.

Steve Cole, PhD (FEL ’98), UCLA professor of medicine and psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and John Cacioppo, PhD, founder and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, and UCLA Dr. have done extensive research which Lonely Planet explains. Dr. Cacioppo says “The mortality rate for air pollution is 5 percent,“For loneliness, it’s 25 percent.”  We also learn 1/5 of the population suffers from loneliness.

While we know that older people’s social interactions decrease with age and friends die and/or move, and often family members don’t live near, options for meaningful social interactions have further decreased. Why? Think social media. The options for socialization may be broader, but they’re not deeper, thus encouraging loneliness, which Dr. Cole calls “a pending epidemic.”

Which bring us back to the holidays. Most adult children are capable of supplying the patches–temporarily filling the holiday loneliness void for aging parents. Meanwhile one researcher’s summation is “work that is physically demanding, cognitively stimulating and socially rewarding rids loneliness in older adults.”  With this in mind, impressive results for overcoming loneliness–much more lasting than a patch–are now being achieved by an intergenerational project resulting  from UCLA-Johns Hopkins research: Generation Xchange,  Lonely Planet supplies the details.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it may also take a village to provide meaningful work to dispel loneliness and keep grandparents healthy in the village.

Related:  Understanding Aging Parents: Elders’ Tips to Combat Holiday Loneliness
                Help Aging Parents: Connections, Socialization–Are You an Aging-Parent-Includer?