How to enjoy being a Senior and still think YOUNG!


Enjoy being a senior and still feeling and thinking YOUNG! by francy Dickinson

George and I taking a coffee break at our local Black Bear Yogurt n Coffee shop..reading newspapers to keep current

Dear Francy; My husband is requiring more and more of my time to care for him…I feel like I am aging by the minute…can you help with some tips…to keep me at least “feeling” a bit younger at heart?


OH boy, do I relate to you and your feelings that you would like to keep in shape and keep feeling young–even when your lifestyle is pulling down and getting closer to home…here are some ideas to give you a kick-start on youth ;O

Body Shape: For all too many reasons all of us tend to spread as we age. When I started to care for my mother in my early fifties, I started making really bad eating choices. I had little time and I would eat standing up, on the run. I gained a lot of weight and now I am trying hard to slim down to a healthy weight again. Either the Weight Watcher’s plan or the low carb (Atkins style) will be your best bet. The key is that you have a plan that can work with what your husband is eating. I do Atkins and I simply add potato or rice to his meals and then we eat the meat and veggie. He gets the desserts and I get the de-caf tea. It is not that hard. I am now addicted to the Atkins’s Shakes each morning when I take my supplements- it gets me up and going with a kick. Then I move…I started just walking around the house making sure I take 1,000 steps ( I used a pedometer) and keep on going. If you find that difficult, you can do exercise sitting in a chair with the PBS ‘Sit and Be Fit’ program. Remember any taped exercise program can be found at your local library and enjoyed in the privacy of your own home.

All seniors should enjoy a pedicure instead of a trip to a foot doctor for nail cutting

Feet! When you hit mid-fifties many of us start having feet problems. The padding on your feet starts to change and the actual muscle and bone starts to ache. We have a wonderful solution…you do not have to go and get expensive shoes from a doctor…you can buy gel insoles and enjoy your favorite shoes with cushion from the pain. I love my insoles and wear them, even inside my house slippers. You will find many different ones at the drug store, give a couple of types a try. I use the ones that support the arch and heal, they have made such a difference. No more ache or pain. Here is the perfect cream to keep your feet feeling soft Jergens Crème in Deep-Conditioning Oatmeal, $6 (in Drugstores)

Nails  Always hard to believe when you are young that you will get so sore that your toe nails will be hard to cut and keep short. Instead of going to a podiatrist every few months. Go and get a good pedicure from a Nail Shop. This process is so relaxing, they soak your feet…cut your nails with precision, then they massage your feet, ankles and calves…OH, it is heaven. You can add a color polish or just have them natural. They will remove the callous and they will check for any problems with your skin. This is just what you need every 5-8 weeks you go to a local Nail Shop and get pampered, male or female…you will enjoy it. Price is from $15-$20 with a $5 tip. Well worth the investment in your feet. Do not worry if you have fungus, they will have clean ways to deal with it and will offer ideas for you to find help with the condition…don’t be embarrassed about your feet. Just let them take over, its their job and they raise their families on their income…so spread your money around to a local nail shop and give them a nice tip. I always take in a big coffee or tea drink for myself and I have my earphones on and listen to my favorite music as I soak, massage and relax!!

FACE: Even if you rarely go out the door…or if you are out and about every day…your face needs help to stay looking and feeling good. Try a daily cleanser that will defoliate your skin and leave you looking younger with just a good daily wash cloth. Aveeno Cleanser daily with beads – Called: Positively Ageless Beauty Cleanser $8.99 (in Drugstores)  Then you want to moisturize your skin…now you can go for expensive products but an easy one to begin to wear every day…with or without makeup that has SPF15 for sun protection & a little wrinkle fighting too: L’Oreal Paris Youth Code BB Cream, $17 (in Drugstores) lasts a very long time and this is perfect with or without makeup.

A different style is easy to do and will make a huge change in how young you can look, no matter what your age

HAIR: Lots of people tend to lose hair as they age. It can be upsetting. So what to do? First you can use products that help you voluminize what you have like Aussie Aussome Volume shampoos and conditioners. These products plump up your hair and they smell great. $3.25 ea (in Drugstores)
Then you can change your hair style. Men may want to cut their hair shorter and woman may want to do a different hair cut that will fluff the hair. Remember getting your hair reversed color…so the gray is toned down a bit will help you look and feel younger. Beauty schools have great prices and your hair color is done every two months. You can go one month for a cut and the next month for a cut and color…it makes you feel so good to look fresh and up to date with your hair.

Quacker Factory featured on

Fashion: Something new with fashion is in your future 😉  If you are not going out much and you have changed your pattern in life. Its time to update what you wear. You want to make sure you get new clothes each year. A few pieces in the Spring and few pieces in the fall will let you feel “in fashion’. Comfort can be the new ‘Yoga Pants’ that are so comfy and yet, updated. Nice casual tee tops with fun designs like you find in Jean Brice’s – ‘Quacker Factory’ found on Comfort and fun…now that is fashion that we all love. And the prices are great too. The men need to think about how often they go to the bathroom. After years of shirts, ties, jackets and slacks; my Georgie is now happily wearing easy pull up sweat pants and nice warm tops from Walmart. I keep them fresh and get new ones each year. When we go out of the house he wears chinos pants and warm jackets…but in the house, its comfort, but with a nice palette of colors and warmth. Every season there is something that you can buy to express the current fashions…I love the very long scarves…I have a couple of new ones to wear over my coat or sweaters and it makes me feel ‘Updated’ without a big investment or change in the rest of my clothing.

Music n TV  You know it helps to really take notice of daily talk shows or night-time talk shows. Even if you only watch them once a week, they usually have the latest stars, bands, and fashion as well as current talking points. You may not agree with the guests, but you will keep updated with current thoughts and styles and we all need to keep in the here and now…no matter what our age.

Stay updated and tuned into new ideas and people!

Computers and Cell phones: I have talked to all too many seniors that simply refuse to be a part of the computer changes in the world. They all have fancy words to tell me how silly technical life is and they are perfectly fine without it. Well that is ‘old biddy’ talk of old people. We all need to keep current. I remember when the microwaves came out how many people said they would never get one. My mother was the first out the door, she thought anything that made cooking faster…was GREAT!  Please; the world changes and anyone alive needs to figure out how to be a part of that change. NO you do not have to buy every gadget, but YES you do need to be online and learn how to shop and pay bills.

I remember when my mother would go to the bank get cash and then walk to the drug store and pay her utility bills in the 1950′ and 60’s and then she would walk all the way home. Hello! Now, we all go online and pay our bills, buy products and get lower prices — do not tell me it is not worth your time to save money! The Internet also has a wonderful service to all product sites, REVIEWS. You can go and look up an item and there will be 10 to 100’s of reviews about that product. Before your money is spent; you can read what other people have experienced after they purchased the product. Wow, this alone has changed the way I shop…I no longer get a product and get disappointed…I know ahead what it will do. If I don’t like something that I buy online or if it does not fit–I can easily return it.  Like the slippers I ordered for George from Land’s End. I just call them and they are sent back (free shipping) and the new size is sent out to me…1-2-3! If you are afraid to learn new things…then buckle yourself up and do it anyway. All senior centers have computer classes and classes in how to use the new tablets and smart cell phones. You can learn and you can join the world of fun.

Age does not stop us from learning or growing…stay in the now. Even if you are in your home more than out and about, these days. Learn new things, talk about the daily news…do not worry about reading newspapers, you can get your world-wide news from the Internet and cable networks…you can SKYPE your grand kids and be a part of their weekly activities. You can exchange pictures of your friends and family via the Internet and you can chat up long-lost friends through Facebook or Twitter. Things that may be overwhelming today, will be fun and bring you joy…tomorrow.

Kindle Fire for reading books n Internet Connection

CHANGE  Keep up your love and caring for your hubbie…but don’t you dare stop searching for new ideas, new products and new ways of enjoying your own life and feel young and in the know. My new thing is a KINDLE/Fire. It is a small touch pad that has books loaded on it for me to read. As I sit with Georgie, spend hours waiting in doctor offices and hospital rooms or long nights without sleep…I can click on my Kindle and check my messages from friends and family…and then just sit and enjoy my book (hundreds of them) right in my hand.Not to mention I can adjust the font size, if I am tired…I up the font so I can see it easier – LOVE THAT.  Kindle has free books to download every day and I have enjoyed that feature so much. I’m a mystery cozy nut…so the more the better. I did not think I needed anything like this Kindle. I am a long time book lover and reader and I always used the library. But then a friend gave me the Kindle/Fire as a gift and now….I am hooked! Its fun, easy and I just had to take a little time to get to know how to use it. Now, I don’t leave the house without it.

Finding fun…is a senior’s job in life. We all have daily challenges  but we have so many more things at our fingertips to keep us involved and interested for a very small amount of money. Life is good…and for all of us that give care to our seniors…life can and will have joy if you just keep moving forward with your own life.

Thank you for all you do for your senior…Blessings, francy

Dealing with a Life Crisis n Alzheimer’s Too! HELP!


How to get through a life crisis and still give care to an Alzheimer’s senior…by francy Dickinson

My Georgie with his great grand daughter, Claire and little Missy

Dear Francy; My mother died 3 months ago and I have a very big problem. My dad has early stages of Alzheimer’s and his emotions and memory loss have blown-up since mother has passed. I am a single mom of three and have no place or money to keep dad and my brother’s wife does not want him in her home. He has his home, paid for and he makes a small income each month, but his life is going down fast and I don’t know how to help him?

Friends are doing a big Auction with lots of items to help us in our move…TY francy
Auction 2 help 

Yes, we have some work to do. First, let’s just have a quick review of the brain for Alzheimer’s from a lay-person. Any person, with any kind of a jolt to their lives is going to have a loss of brain power. If you have a bad fever, a fall, a big argument or a death within your close circle of loved ones – the brain takes a hit. A person that is younger and has full function of their brain, will grow back the brain functions over a short period of time…and although they may feel a little loopy or tired, or experience some feelings of being ‘out of focus’, the repair takes place and the brain will once again function. For a person that is older the brain repair is on ‘slow’, and it will take a few months time to recover all of the brain functions up to par and then move forward. For a person with dementia/Alzheimer’s it really sets them into a ‘swim of things’ and takes a great deal of time for the brain to even  ‘try’ to recover.

Auction 2 help I experienced this early in the Alzheimer’s process with my husband, George. He had pneumonia and it was not diagnosed. So he went in and out of hospital within a one month time frame losing his body’s ability to fight the infection and finally just having a mental check-out. When they found out his problem and gave him medications he was able to  return home from hospital…it took another six months for his mind/brain to recover. Even after that time, he never came back like he was before the onset of pneumonia…it put a quicker movement into his Alzheimer’s decline and it was such a sad thing to have happen.

It took a long talk with George’s neurologist to get an understanding of what was happening to him. So, you need to know that even on a good day of your dad’s Alzheimer’s he is not functioning like he would…he is grieving both the loss of his wife, life partner and friend. He is in the midst of that and that pressure is going to cause him to express his own thoughts in a confused way.

As always; a trip to his neurologist that specializes in Alzheimer’s care should be done right away. The doctors that give this care specialty are very savvy and will be able to help you understand where your dad stands in his Alzheimer’s progression. He can adjust his medications and help him with diets, exercise and social interaction suggestions for you to follow.

I would suggest that you try to keep him in his own home. He can not be alone and be safe…so my suggestion is that you either hire someone to come in during the day to keep him eating and moving and establishing his own routine again. Or you get someone to come in and live, in the house. This is a very common thing to do in the senior care field. You could find an adult student that needs a place to live and is willing to provide simple services for your dad; in return for free rent and food.

Or you could go into the community and look for another senior that would like to be in the home. I would go to the nearest senior community center or faith facility and ask if they know of a senior that needs a place to live and would be open to giving your dad his meals and making sure he takes his medications and gets to his doctor appointments. To be there for him so he can have six months to a year to move through his grieving and re-establish his life. It is worth your time to find just the right person. That will give you and your dad time to adjust and then face a move into an Adult Family Home.

I like the Adult Family Home…they are usually a house that has a few bedrooms that have other folks with Alzheimer’s in each room. The owner is a trained health care professional and provides a more family type of atmosphere for the patients. This place may be their forever home, or a place to stay for a few years and then transition into a care center that will provide more advanced care.

What I like about the live-in help is way to give you and your brother  time to heal and adjust to the huge change in your family dynamics. You can both stay close to keep an eye on things and still afford his care by exchanging a place for the person to live and eat…in turn for their time giving attention and ‘light’ care to your dad. Usually the house work is left to you or an outside person to do once a month. Then, when your dad has the time to repair from his grief and adjust to his mental loss…it will be time to give him more care and protection with an Adult Family Care Facility.

You can hire daily in-home care that is done by professional services…or you can go the private live-in help, which will give you less trained people. If you do this, you will have to set the rules and outline the chores to be done each day to help your dad.

The professional in-home services have their routines all down on paper. The company comes in and does an assessment and then puts a plan of care together with you. It is a very well run organization, but it is pricey. You can often set your budget and then pick and choose the care services he needs the most. The care that is given from the service is bonded and done according to a pre-agreed on program of care.

The private hiring of an in-home resident can also be very pleasing for all around, if they are interviewed and required to provide a reference and any one younger would have a drug test. That way you can know your dad is safe. The point here is – your dad can no longer live safely on his own. He needs to be cared for and if you can not do it…you will have to get someone to step-in. Keeping your dad in a stable situation is what will allow him to extend his mental abilities as long as possible without a big drop in his functions. If you allow him to just be on his own, and he is unable to remember his medications, eat well or interact or exercise…he will be in a downward spiral that will not be able to be repaired. His mind is not going to heal it will only go downhill…so this is a have to keep him as calm and comforted as you can — as soon as you can…or he will take a dip.

The sale of your father’s home will pay for care in an Adult Family home…so I would keep that in your mind. As you go forward this next year…be sure to make improvements to his home to get it ready to sell in the near future. You can lay out the landscaping so it can be taken care of with bark and a lawn mowing. If your brother goes over a couple times a month to mow the lawn it will look tidy. The inside of the house will need new paint and cleaning and maybe updates to small things to give the house a good sale position on the market. It is best to do a little of this prep work each month…so the expenses can be budgeted during the year. Then when the time comes that your dad is in need of more care, the sale of the house will go easier.

You do need to take over his doctor visits. You need to be in the office with your dad to hear the doctors and understand the medications, food and exercise needed to keep your dad’s brain functioning at its peak performance. That performance will be a slow dip but good care can keep your dad in a bubble of calm and love for a long time.

Once again, if you can not do any care for him…then an Adult Family Home from day one is your goal. But I think with the help of you and your brother, hiring a service or a live-in help would be the best answer. This could keep your dad in his home and allow him to adjust to a new type of life for a year or so…then as he changes his routine’s a move into an Adult Family Home would be easier for him to make and not cause him a total melt down.

I understand the upset that a big change can make to an Alzheimer’s senior. We have to move out of our family home. We have lost it and will need to find a new place to live. I am really trying hard to absorb all the sadness and fuss myself…to keep my husband in a protected bubble. My husband’s Alzheimer’s is moving ahead and I do not want him to go into a severe decline over the move. So, this is a very hard time on me. I am asking friends to help and making plans to keep him calm and protected with a family member during the move. It takes a lot of planning to keep the pressures away from my husband, but in the end…we will be in a new place and he will have his things around him and he will feel safe.

I appreciate all you are doing for your dad…I know how hard it is to make these decisions for your parent. It’s an odd thing to be a child/daughter one day and a comforting care giving daughter the next. You have my appreciation for your love and time that you are giving to your dad. I understand that being a single parent on top of it all…is quite the undertaking…but you can do it! Blessings, francy