Whoever said Parenthood is Easy

parenthood

Parenthood is Catch 22

A thread appeared on my FB page asking personal inputs regarding parenthood – more specifically adult children/parent relationship.

I commented that it is never easy; that it is a womb to tomb job.

The author, brought up in a  Western culture, thought my idea was incredulous. Perhaps, but anyone familiar with Asian culture, will know it has a grain of truth in it.

Asian familial ties are lifetime affairs.

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To Use or Not to Use Online Dating Sites

Health Secrets

online

Online Romance

Do you use online dating sites? I do, so does a lot of men and women worldwide.

In fact, about 40 million Americans use dating sites. Among them, the adult sector, 55 to 64 years old, is registering the fastest growth: from 6% in 2013 to 12% in 2015.

Dating sites have come a long way since it first appeared in 1995. By 2002, it had 26.6 million subscribers and by 2007, dating sites became the highest online industry with paid content (next to Porn).

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Do You Want to Set Your Day Right? Do These

Health Secrets

early bird

Early bird!

Do you often wake up in the morning with no motivation to get up? So you stay in bed a little longer until boredom grudgingly forces you to. That’s what happens when you have not set anything exciting and worthwhile to occupy your day.

I used to feel the same way right after my wife died. I was so down and did not want to get up until almost lunch time. Finally, I realized that I was slowly wasting my life away. Oh, I did not mind dying then. But not the way I was leading myself into.

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Don’t Move to a Retirement Community before Reading This

Health Secrets

Home alone

Home Alone, and Happy

Three years ago I thought of moving to a retirement community.

I live alone in my home which, I think, is too big for me. So I scouted around for a community near my home that can give me a simple, quite, and joyful retirement life.

I found two – near enough to my children so I won’t feel isolated from them. Unluckily (or luckily) for me, they did not satisfy my needs.

Both were fenced off from the rest of the world and, except for a small door with a peephole, they seemed so monolithic. My first impulse was, “Oh God, I want to live in a community, not a prison.”

So if you are planning to do the same, read this first before you do.

 

Why Stay Put at Home:

Since then, I decided to stay put until the rest of my days. You should, too, for the following reasons:

1.  Familiarity:
Familiarity with your surroundings has a great effect on your happiness and wellness. You know your home as the wrinkles on your hands. You know the community, the people, and the amenities, down to the name of the clerk in your favorite convenience store.

It removes the hassle of moving into new and unfamiliar surroundings, of being with people you never knew before, of adjusting to the quirks and hang-ups of the guy next door.

Adjusting to a new environment such as a retirement home is difficult and stressful for anybody. It could be near impossible for you.

 

2.  Uncertainty:
Staying home near people you know, like family and friends minimizes, it not removes the uncertainty of immediate help in case of emergencies

To have people, neighbors and family members, around that you can call easily in case you need help removes anxiety and boosts your peace of mind.

 

3.  Availability of resources:
Even if you stay home for retirement, you can still be assured of adequate health care services because these days there are so many providers you can get in touch with.

Other than these home care service providers, there is a multitude of user-friendly hi-tech devices that help you manage your health care needs.

All these means that immediate help is never far away in case you need it

 

4.  Independence:
According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 90% of seniors want to retire at home, mostly for sentimental reasons. They feel that if they have survived all these years at home, they will survive the rest of their days.

Another reason is independence.

Seniors feel that independence is all they have control over in the face of the changes in other
aspects of their lives. It also gives them a sense of achievement, which is necessary for promoting purpose, self-worth, and well-being.

When my children moved out of my home right after marriage, I felt the world tumbling around me. I thought I could never get over the thought of us living separately. But after my period of self-denial, I found out that it was not such a bad thing.

In fact, I am glad they did. It allowed me free use of my time and activities which would have been impossible had they stayed on. A daily riot would certainly be happening now had they and their spouses lived with me.

 

5.  Minimize risk of abuse:
Old people, because of their condition, are often subject to elderly abuse. In fact, the problem is escalating despite the availability of services to prevent its occurrence.

Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and above have experienced some form of elderly abuse.

What is worrisome about it is that in 60% of the cases, the culprits are close family members.

Retirement and nursing homes are not any safer for old people as well. The number of elderly abuse in retirement and nursing homes is unavailable because most of these are swept under the rug and never reported.

This is minimized, if not avoided if you stay alone at home provided ample services are available in case you need them.

 

6.  It is Cheaper:
If your home is mortgage-free, stay put because it is cheaper in the long run. Retirement homes can be expensive depending on the state, services, and amenities provided.

In 2012, a private room average cost was $248.00/day; a semi-private was a little less at $222.00/day.

This could be exorbitantly high even if your retirement income is substantial. It will definitely leave a huge hole in your budget.

 

The Bottom Line?

It is your call. But before you make a decision, weigh things carefully because staying put or moving to a retirement home are not exactly two peas in the same pod. In fact, they are poles apart.

Do your research. Surf the Internet, talk to friends or have a sales person give you a call. Get as much information as you can. The more the better. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down due to your own lapses or negligence.

Focus your attention on total costs, health care services, nutrition plan, activities to promote togetherness and camaraderie, safety, proximity to shopping centers and malls, family visitation privileges, etc.

Make sure you get all the pertinent information and understand them all to avoid future regrets.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

Image: http://www.seniormoneysaver.com/dining_in_cooking.htm

~oOo~

Elderly Poverty: Shocking but True and What You can Do About It

Health Secrets

Elderly poverty

Elderly poverty – shocking but true!

Elderly poverty is true and shocking but you hardly notice it, or ignore it. You’re so busy with your own life to give it any attention.

But it is all around you. You see it each time you take a walk or go to your neighborhood convenience store. They are those dirty and bedraggled senior citizens sleeping on street corners, alleys and even subways.

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How to Treat a Gay in the Family

Health Secrets

I am surrounded by gays, but this one tops them all…

“Uncle, I want you to meet my husband, David.”

Immediately, my jaws dropped and I was transfixed not knowing whether to jump with joy or drop dead with embarrassment. I was totally taken off guard that I froze – unable to give the couple a hug or a congratulatory handshake.

Why? You see, husband David, apparently married my nephew, not niece.

Same-sex marriage is not only taboo in my country’s strictly religious culture, it is also not allowed by law (they married in Australia). To have a close relative, a nephew, marrying another man is nothing short of a near-death experience; my ancestors must have turned in their graves.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against gays. In fact, I am surrounded by them. There is a gay in every generation of both sides of my family, i.e., a brother, an uncle, close and distant relatives, not to mention close friends. Even I was effeminate as a child my Mom wanted me to become a priest, and had I more than one son, the other would probably be gay, too.

I am ambivalent towards them. I know that their sexual orientation is not their fault. In fact, I sympathize with them for having to face the stigma of being gay everyday of their lives.

If you have a gay in the family, as I do, treat him with respect and understanding – especially when they are old and grey. Their sexual orientation is a work of Nature which they couldn’t do anything about as you can’t do anything about yours.

Don’t be swayed by ill-informed statements like that of Ben Carson’s that being a gay is a choice. Nobody would choose to live a life of constant harassment, ridicule, abuse, or be ostracized by the mainstream.

Would you?

I once had a lively chat with two gays in a coffee shop. I wanted to pick their brains on how it is to be gay. Well, both are earning a living and, at the same time, supported by closet lovers.

Even as a child, they knew that they were “different,” and had to fight a long battle of attrition against family members who couldn’t accept them as they are. They won, ultimately.

That’s how it is with gays. Before making a public “debut,” they have to face the same gauntlet of disapproving family members. For them, that is the toughest hurdle. Once they gain acceptance at home, let the general public be damned.

Younger gays are a raucous bunch, even vulgar. There is nothing sacred for them and are always ready to take a swipe at anybody or anything that frowns on their sexual orientation. And they are fearless fighters for their rights. Never lock horns with a gay. You will surely lose.

Age mellows them somehow, and elderly gays are more subdued, introspective, genteel, and act accordingly. But that doesn’t improve their lot in the eyes of society in general.

They still are subjected to unfounded restrictions you and I are spared from. For example, gays are…

 

1.  Childless and alone in their old age:
Studies show that gays are four times less likely to have kids compared to non-gays of the same age group.

This leaves them with without any help when they need it most.

Relying on government programs is not encouraging either. Medicare  doesn’t cover everything for a long-tern nursing home care and, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, only 3% of  senior gays are covered with a private long-term insurance.

Elderly seniors’ old age future is anything but rosy.

 

2.  Poorer than non-gays:
Gays, even today, suffer from employment discrimination. This leaves them with hardly any savings when they reach retirement age.

A study done by the University of California, LA, shows that 4.9% of elderly gays (collectively called LGBT) are poorer compared to non-gays. Overall, 42% of elderly gays suffer from financial difficulties at retirement.

 

3.  Still discriminated upon:
Despite gaining much acceptance, gays still feel biases against them.

For example, gays are often not welcomed in some senior centers where they could socialize with other seniors and to fill out important paperwork dealing with government assistance programs for seniors.

Even the professional staff at these centers is, in most cases, not trained to handle the peculiar needs of gays.

 

4.  Having peculiar health problems:
Many gays suffer from mental issues that affect their lives like loneliness, depression, isolation and thoughts of suicide, according to SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts).

This because a lot of them dd not seek treatment early on for fear of being considered mental cases. Now it is considered to be due to a genetic framework that didn’t perfectly fit – not a mental illness.

Another health issue is HIV. In 2011, more than a quarter of the 1.2 million with HIV in the U.S. were gays, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

There are currently more than 39 million people in the U.S, aged 65 years and older, who identify themselves as gays (LGBTs, for lesbians, gays, bi-sexual, transgender). That’s a lot to reckon with; a lot of votes no politicians can ignore.

You can mock them, ostracize them, call them names or label them but that can’t change what they are. They cannot do anything about their sexual orientation as much as you cannot do anything about yours.

At the end of the day, you are left with no choice but accept them as they are. Besides, other than their sexual orientation, they also need the same things you and I need; the same hopes and aspirations. They also expect the treatment from society you expect.

And they are a gregarious lot to be with.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

Image: http://www.advocate.com/marriage-equality/2016/1/25/watch-sweethearts-candy-celebrates-same-sex-marriage

~oOo~

How to Deal with Adult Children Problems

Health Secrets

 

Are you having problems with your adult children?

Elizabeth Vagnoni has, which led to her estrangement from her two adult sons.

She still loves and misses them so much and wants to tell them so – every day. But the deep silence between her and adult children get in the way.

What makes her so sad is that she deemed the problems they had were so small to have caused their estrangement, and her torment.

Elizabeth is not suffering alone. Problems with adult children have become so common it has become a “silent epidemic,” says Joshua Coleman, co-chair of the Council on Contemporary Families.

It is “silent” because elderly parents are hesitant to openly talk about them In fact, there is no data showing its magnitude. But some do share their sad stories online. For example this Dear Annie letter which was featured in the Psychology Today…

 

…My husband and I have three adult children who were the delight of our lives. We had a typical loving family, with vacations, birthday parties and special celebrations that included friends and extended family. We had anxious times during illnesses, surgeries, and accidents, but we made it through. All three of our children have grown to be successful, well-liked respected adults. Sadly, over the past 22 years, they have all chosen to shut us out of their lives. We’ve had minor disagreements at times but never any major battles that might justify their choices. None of them will tell us why they are angry….I know you’re probably thinking “there must be something.” If so, we don’t know what it is…We have forgiven our children…We will always thank Go for choosing us to be their parents.

 

While it is normal for families to have occasional disagreements, but most these problems are forgotten and forgiven after a short ceasefire, or a good sleep. A few linger on ultimately creating a chasm that divides elderly parents and adult children. If not properly dealt with, it can result to estrangement.

Parents are often clueless of the cause or causes of these problems. This is because, according to Elizabeth, of the conflict of expectations between the old and the new – the generation gap thing.

Elderly parents find it difficult to accept the current realities, while their adult children thrive on it. Elderly parents still want to hold sway over the lives of their adult children, while the children want to be rid of it.

For example, older generation value hard work, education, character and integrity as pre-requisites for success. On the other hand the FB generation, or whatever label they want to be identified with, eschew those values and will readily cite a string of examples to support their case.

 

I and my children:

My problems with my two adult children are quite different from that of Elizabeth’s. But it could end the same way if not dealt with effectively.

My children are not talking to each other and I am caught in between. Here is how it happened.

My first is a girl, and the second, a boy. Though only one year and nine months separated their birthdates they are like two peas from two pods.

Even at a tender age, the girt fought back if irked. On the other, the boy just cried and cried and cried.

In their formative years they lived harmoniously together like any other sister and brother. My daughter looked after her brother, and my son looking up to his sister.

Their divergent personalities started manifesting after college.

Right after getting her license as a doctor, my daughter immediately set up a clinic and obtained admission privileges from local hospitals.

My son, on the other hand, could hardly pass a job interview. And he resigned from one of his earlier jobs to join a band because, according to him, he wanted to be “famous.”

Then both got married. My daughter married a surgeon, while my son, a lady lawyer who is earning more than him.

If this has affected him psychologically, he has done a wonderful job hiding it.

My daughter measures her success by the growth of her bank account, while my son from the number of likes he gets from his FB posts.

My daughter nags him for lack of initiative and maturity. Defensively, he shoots back by calling his sister arrogant and insensitive.

These differences simmered for a long time, with me not minding it so much, until about a month ago for the silliest of reasons.

I have tried several ways to bring them back together; to make them talk to each other again. So far I have been unsuccessful. Each is as hard-headed as the other.

I love them both and I could never allow them to drift away from each other forever. I couldn’t live through the trauma and suffering of seeing them like strangers to one another.

My children are the only treasures I have since my wife died more than eight years ago, and it would be a disaster to lose them right before my eyes.

Right now I am giving my children some space, a slack – just like a fisherman wanting to land a price catch would, to avoid breaking his line..

I have also done a few DIY things to keep the storm turning into a tempest. These are:

 

Keep my cool:
Times have changed. There was a time when raising my voice would be enough to make them toe the line, keep them in step.

It would not work these days even if I roar and growl until I get hoarse. They have become their own persons, having their own set of values and beliefs which cannot change even if I use a megaphone

I can only steer them to a more appropriate and collaborative direction.

 

Think squarely and fairly:
I have always noticed their personality differences early on but assumed they will outgrow them.

I was wrong.

Now I have to accept my own shortcomings and their individual differences to be able to make do with what I have.

More often than not, life only gives us bits and pieces of a whole. It is up to us to put them together.

No matter how different their personalities may be, they are my children and it is up to me to put my family back to one beautiful piece.

To do that, I must exercise and use everything I’ve learned through the years.

 

Avoid the blame game:
Individually, I have good relationship with both. Getting them together is impossible for now.

This individual connectivity, if I may call it, is an opportunity to heal our differences, mend our shortcoming provided I won’t play one against the other.

We all failed each other and blaming any one for the problems we are in is counterproductive.

If there is one to blame, it is I for not doing something sooner.

 

Exercise humility:
It is a difficult pill to swallow for most, but sometime in any parent/child relationship, its formality must evolve into the informality of a friendship. That is the only way to achieve a more cordial, honest, respectful, and loving communication.

This, however, requires humility.

Times have changed so much. Technology has tainted our core values, our beliefs long demolished by changing paradigms. Clinging on those values and beliefs we inherited from our parents is not going to resonate well with our children.

And we must be humble enough to acknowledge all these in order to move forward.

 

Persevere:
Patience and perseverance are not among my core values. But concerning my children, I will walk the extra mile, carry an extra load, and sweat a little more.

I will do anything to heal the rift between my adult children – even if I have to persevere like I have never done before.

What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

I have always been a take-charge guy. In he workplace my mantra was “if you are not with me, get out of the way.”

Dealing with children, especially your own adult children, is not that easy and simple. It requires the deft and adroitness of a diplomat. We just couldn’t get rid of them. They are your flesh and blood, they carry your genes and you are partly to blame however they turn out later in life.

For them to drift away from your life, or being shut-off from theirs is a conviction of your having failed yourself and your children.

Please help other seniors by sharing this. Better still, subscribe to my newsletter to get a weekly update of the exciting and bittersweet life of a senior.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2926046/The-one-million-elderly-people-days-without-seeing-talking-phone.html

~oOo~

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