Are Your Children “Helicopter Kids?”

There’s nothing happier than a grandchild’s upcoming wedding, right?

And today they don’t just have a wedding. They have a weekend or week long “event” in a carefully chosen “venue” with a “wedding consultant” who has the final word on almost everything, and manage to run up thousands of dollars in bills if the family lets her.)

We can’t worry about that. Our only concern is “What city are you doing all this in?” Too often its not yours and you have to make airline and hotel arrangements coordinated with everyone else in the family.

Not to worry! we can just revel in the fact that we lived long to see this joyous occasion.

That’s where my friend Elaine is: starting to plan for her eldest grandson’s destination wedding in September.. This is March.She’s searching the internet for the best deal on all travel arrangements.

Her problem is that the boy’s parents, Elaine’s daughter and son-in-law, are going the week before to help with arrangements. Elaine’s son and his family are going Saturday for the Sunday wedding. They insist Elaine travel with them.

“But I want to go Friday night and have the whole weekend to relax and get ready for the rehearsal dinner party Saturday . I’m really unhappy about that..” she said

“So make your own arrangements to fly Friday,” I answered.

“Oh, I can’t” she said, “My children won’t let me travel alone.”

I blinked and asked, ” Are you a grownup? Are you old enough to vote? No one can tell you what to do if you are paying for your ticket.”

“I can’t,” she insisted. “They want to make sure I’m safe.”

I thought at first she was absolutely bonkers. She is physically fit and mentally astute. She can take a cab to the airport, get on a plane and go anywhere she can afford to buy a ticket to.

But I later realized good sense was not the issue. It means the world to her to believe that her children love her so much they are adamant about protecting her and keeping her near for all occasions, especially such a happy one.

“How wonderful of them,” I told her, and I meant it.

These are really good kids.

Are you feeling the effects of “Helicopter Kids” too?###

As Cost Rises–Try and Keep Long Term Care Policy

For the past few years I’d been receiving an annual increase in the cost of my Long Term Care insurance policy.

The company didn’t fail me this year. I was just informed my LTC policy rate of $2,477.77 is increasing to $3,097.21 this year to cover $150 a day n a nursing home (or some at-home care costs) for six years.

After seeing that, I again gave thanks for having been smart enough to buy this policy 25 years ago!

I saw a story about it in Modern Healthcare Magazine while working as an editor for its publisher, Crain Communications Corp.

I told everyone I knew about it (including my insurance agent) and we all bought them before our 65th birthdays—which are when the purchase price would have gone up.

My husband and I were each insured for about $1,000 a year. Gradually, the annual cost rose, but benefits remained the same.

By last year I paid $2,477.77 . This year the raise , in accordance with state laws for LTC policies, was 25% and I will pay $3,0997.21. It also offered several options for changing the policy to decrease the cost.

Everyone at my book club who has a LTC policy was aflutter about which options to choose. Most had purchased the policies later and were already paying much more than I am.

Some changed the time of care from unlimited to five or six years. Others, whose annual fee was more than $12,000, simply stopped paying and let their accumulated pre-paid fees absorb the new annual fee until there is nothing left in the policy. (Does that mean you hope to die sooner?)

There were other options and my first thought was to run it all past my financial professionals to see what they thought.

Then I realized that since nursing home care can run bout $10,000 a month —that $3,097.21 a year policy is a great value. I am changing nothing this time.

Did you get such a letter? What are you going to do


Another Birthday? We Soldier On

Because I have another birthday coning up, I suddenly realized that, considering my family history, I’ve lived far beyond my expiration date.\

But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to quit. I soldier on, drawing solace and encouragement from such thoughtful philoshophers as Danne Abse, Welsh born doctor and author who many years ago wrote this couplet:

“ In this exile people call old age,
I live between nostalgia and rage.
This is the land of fools and fear.
Thanks be I’m still here.”

Dannie Abse.

Can Widows Curb Justified Anger?

Why are we so angry?

Lately I notice that when a group of widows gather, for an afternoon of cards, or an evening dinner, conversation turns to someone we all know who is not there, and the mean darts of gossip begin swirling

Those throwing the most darts seem to be the angriest. It’s as though rehashing someone else’s faults—or troubles—makes them feel more satisfied with themselves and their own lives even for a little while.

Why should they take pleasure in another’s problems? Perhaps it’s just an opportunity to feel superior, and as a widow there are so many reasons to be angry because usually you’re feeling inferior.

You feel inferior because: you are alone when others have a partner to go out to dinner with, or go to movies with on Saturday nights while you stay home. So you’ get justifiably angry at your situation and yourself—and you don’t want the world to feel sorry for you. And one way to prevent it, you think, is to make someone else seem more pathetic than you feel yourself to be.

But you are wrong. The one thing that will make you feel better is to uplift everyone you can, and try to make every one feel positive bout something in their situation. If you can coax a smile out of someone else, your own spirits will lift.

And that all will be easier if you remember what Dr. Phil always says, “you wouldn’t worry about what people think about you if you realized how seldom they do.”###

Helpful Drivers Driiving You Nuts?

Once you’re widowed, friends and family members offer to pick you up and drive you to event s.

Sometimes it’s necessary since we lose some reflexes or faculties as we age and are no longer really capable of getting there in our own car.

So you agree to be out in front, or in the hall, watching for their car at the specified pickup hour.

The problem is, you just may be safer driving yourself. I’ve silently clenched my teeth as a younger “savior” dive far to ofast and too close to the car in front of us—yet I don’t feel I can say “slow down” when someone was nice enough to give me a lift.

And almost every driver I ride with lately thinks nothing of driving over that white line at stop signs –or swinging into the wrong lane when they turn a corner instead of staying in their own.

More and moor I’ve started calling Uber when I don’t want to drive. Anger option is the taxi service in my village that gives seniors a credit car for $5 per ride. We can use it nine times a month and just pay the difference that makes local trips to the market or dentist almost free— and even takes $5 off the longer ride to three airports.

Last, think about using three computers to shop for groceries, as well as Amazon’s vast array of items. Most markets now let you order online and either pick up at the store or have then delivered.

Try and think of this as “another inconvenience.”


The Secret to Widows’ Popularity

My parents made me take piano lessons despite my absence of talent because, they said, it would make me popular at parties.

I was popular enough at parties but it had nothing to do with piano lessons. I made friends easily because I really wanted to, I wasn’t shy about intruding myself and I always tried to display kindness, consideration, and a healthy sense of humor.

Most importantly, I always try to not talk too much about myself, but to ask questions about others. And I really strain to avoid talking about my medical problems.

Unfortunately, too many of my widowed pals don’t follow those rules:

1. Joan always gives updates of visits to any doctor. We get details of all her bone replacements, indigestion, skin problems and anything else that pops up.
2. Gerilyn has shortness of breath and irritable bowels. Yes, we get details about that.

I have a couple of things that could be better, but doctors tell me they’re all “age appropriate” so I shut up about them. I accept another friend’s view that as we grow older it’s simply a matter of “patch, patch, and patch.”

So I follow my late brother’s example. When asked how I’m doing, I say, “No complaints. I’m still vertical.”###


Grandkids need encouragement–not more degrees

You probably heard the old story about the grandma who was sitting in the park with her grandchildren when a friend came by and said,” What lovely children! Who is who?”

And the grandma said, “That one’s the doctor, that one’s the lawyer, and that’s Joey,” suggesting the last one wasn’t smart enough in school to be successful.

And w used to think she was right because we once believed you need a college degree, and preferably a professional title, to succeed.

But times have changed so drastically that today I put my money on Joey.

Yet too many people still believe that if you keep sending kids to school, for more and more degrees, they surely get wonderful jobs and make lots of money some day.

But the sad truth is, as the famous educator Erik Erikson said, “You buy them a ticket to success, and when they get to the box office their ticket is no good.”

Instead, everyone, regardless of profession or job, must be a “rainmaker” and actively bring in clients or customers to be a winner. And most often that’s not the most educated grad—but the one who’s likeable, witty, observant, outgoing an eager hustler, and a natural networker.

Too many grandmothers and parents that I meet still are dismayed when the law firms and Fortune 500 companies don’t reach out to their newly graduated offspring, and they still suggest sending them for yet another degree. I guess they figure if they keep the kid in grad school they don’t have to be embarrassed by his or her unemployment.

Guess what, Grandma? You don’t have to be embarrassed by your Joeys.

Chances are they will end up with jobs they love in IT and video companies (with or without a degree) or are selling omen product or industry he or she loves

It’s a new world out three.

All we widowed parents and grandparents need to do is give love and encouragement—and some chicken soup when they get discouraged. ##

Don’t Hold Back, Grandma–Speak UP!

I have to laugh when I hear widowed friends talk about how they never correct their grandchildren or even children because they want to remain “friends” and not ruin their relationships.

I say, “If you can’t speak your mind, it’s no relationship.,”

I know you feel you’re on tenuous ground (especially during holidays) and dearly want the kids to want you around. But what good is being around if you can’t be yourself?

If you hear family members trashing friends, relatives or neighbors –speak up. You may ask what was done to them, and why they harbor bitter feelings. Then agree they were wronged (if they were).

But then it’s your duty to explain that those who trespass against us, will go off on their merry way afterward and never feel badly about it. bu if t those offended keep stewing about it–THEY are the ones who suffer sadness and disappointment, not to mention anger.

And you might remind them that a vessel holding anger and resentment always turns black.

You should have taught that to your kids when they were young, and they in turn should have told it to your grandchildren.

They MIGHT be upset with your brashness, but it’s worth it.They’ll remember you one day as that wise woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Widow Makes Holiday Trip Home

We met in the Phoenix airport, two widows waiting to change planes to go home to spend the holidays with their families.

She was a well-preserved 78, with well coiffed blond hair, a fit body in neat travel clothes and smashing boots. Introducing herself as Edna, she explained she was on her way to Montana to be with her four children and their families, and then was returning to her winter home until Easter.

“I was widowed twice,” she explained.” My first husband and I were married 25 years. I nursed him through Cancer and soon after he died I married again. My second husband died after 11 years just a few months ago.

She decided to return to AZ as always and was pleasantly surprised when her neighbors introduced her to a newly widowed man I the neighborhood.

“We’ve been having a wonderful time and it’s nice to have a companion again,” she explained. “I really enjoy his company and he has a Jeep- and we drive up into the mountains and across the desert for picnics. He’s swell”

But like many men in his generation, he would love to have Edna move into his home because he simply doesn’t know how to run it.

“But I won’t move in with anyone. You know the joke; I won’t be a nurse or a purse again. I love being alone, doing what I want to do when I want to do it—and not ever having to do what I don’t want to do anymore!”

It’s something to think about. In most cases, the women make more compromise when they give up independence to live with someone else.

Is there really enough strong love to overcome those sacrifices?

Let us know if you agree with Edna.

Be Thankful for Electronic Assists

This year when the family sits around the table, and each says what he or she is thankful for, I’ll have a simple answer.

I’m thankful for my new Amazon Fire 10 Kindle Tablet.

Off course I’m grateful for my beloved family, their good health and happiness, and the fact that they love this old mom/grandmother as she does them,

But there always is a fly in the ointment, and mine is the start of macular degeneration, which specialists say is age appropriate and stable, with no immediate signs of terrible danger.

I’m still getting along independently, but lately I find I can’t read small newspaper print and even large print books are a bit of a challenge..

If you can’t adapt, you may as well quit this life, so I found OTT-LITE for about $12 (also at Target, Macy’s and other places on and offline) is a help.

But the moment I turned on my new Tablet I was home free.

I set the text size for “huge”and swhen I begin to read, I can spread my fingers to make the print even larger if I feel the need.

I also bought a 7- inch Kindle reader a few years back so I could order books free from My Media Mall affiliated with my local library. That’s equally helpful and fits in pose or pocket.

I’m learning to be patient, , and try not to complain. No one wants to be around a whiner and I do want to stay around people.

My ophthalmologist said my “issue” is “just an inconvenience.”

I think that for me it’s an inconvenience. If he had to deal with this condition it would probably be a tragedy.

I’m so thankful I can still write this—and find some humor in it.

Happy Thanksgiving!