The Beginning of a Beautiful (Long-Distance) Friendship

One Friday last month, I finally broke my news to Arthur. “I have something I need to tell you,” I said, taking a deep breath. “I’m going to graduate school.” “That’s great!” “For gerontology.” “To study old people?” “Yep. And it’s in Ohio.” “Ohio?!” That’s the part I had been nervous about – telling him I’m leaving New York. Apart from his time in the Navy and a year sabbatical in China, Arthur has lived in New York his whole …

Was My Mom Abused?

On July 2, USA Today reported that more than 20 former employees of a Georgia Alzheimer’s care center are facing dozens of criminal charges after a three-month state investigation uncovered allegations of cruel treatments of patients. The cruelty ranged from physical abuse – slapping patients and throwing water on them – to outright neglect and financial exploitation. Other abuse included shackling patients to their beds with sheets and ‘double diapering’ so the staff wouldn’t have to change soiled diapers so often. As it …

The Unwiring of America

Four or five years ago, some time after I decided to bite the technological bullet and get fiber-optic broadband phone and Internet service at home, I gave up my “analog” – copper wire – telephone line. I almost immediately regretted my decision. During our first extended power outage – and where I live, we typically have several of them a year – we lost phone service. In the pre-digital days we could call others – starting with our electric company …

Elder Abuse Awareness Day: 7 Ways You Can Help

It’s easy to miss elder abuse. Austin, Texas. Mid-1980s. I’m sitting at lunch with a casual friend, who is living with and taking care of her mom. Mom is slack-jawed, with a vacant stare, but she knows what she wants: her portion, and more, of the french fries she’s sharing with her daughter. As mom reaches for one more fry, my friend’s hand flashes out, spearing her mom’s hand with a fork. Mom’s reaction is much quieter than it should …

Are Your Parents at Risk for Financial Fraud?

After a lifetime of working and saving, our parents shouldn’t have to fend off fraudsters trying to siphon their funds. But financial exploitation of older adults is happening with increasing alarm, officials say. So to help them detect and avoid all sorts of financial abuse, from identity theft to reverse mortgage fraud, a new online curriculum and guide was launched by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It’s the latest effort by regulators to curb elder financial fraud, which …

Best Senior Discount Ever!

If you’re like my wife, you may resist the notion of taking advantage of a senior discount. We’re at a tender age, and she’s not keen for people to think she’s older than she really is. But if we move to the Philippines and are lucky enough to make it to 100, I’m not giving her a choice. Legislation being debated there would give centenarians up to a 75 percent discount on all sorts of goods and services. That’s on …