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Life as We Know It How Age Turns Uncertainty Into Opportunity
B ack when the phone company was still called Mountain Bell, my grandmother worked as an operator on the night shift. She had that job for 40 years, and if it had been up to her, Grandma would have done it for her entire life. However, when she turned 65, my grandmother faced a major health issue. A pinched nerve in her back caused her serious pain. It hurt to walk, stand, and even hold the big phone book she used for her job. Suddenly, her future was uncertain. My grandmother told me how scared she was that life as she knew it was going to end. Life as she knew it did end, but it wasn’t the end of my grandmother’s life. In fact, her life changed for the better! Yes, she had to quit her job of 40 years, but soon, she healed enough to do all the things she hadn’t been able to do when she was working full time. My grandmother started gardening again, traveled more, and remodeled her house, which was something she’d wanted to do for years. She even got remarried! What my grandmother thought was loss was actually new opportunities. Over the years, I have spoken with many seniors who share my grandmother’s fears. The future is always uncertain, but when you get older and suddenly have to face losing your longtime job, battling chronic illness, or being unable to walk as easily as you once could, then that uncertainty starts to look like unhappiness. But from what I’ve seen, getting older has so many more things to look forward to than to be worried about. When my grandmother quit her job, she was able to turn around and live the life she really wanted to live. That’s because she knew exactly what she wanted out of life. This is
a benefit that comes with age. I recently
read a wonderful article from “Good Housekeeping” that listed quotes
from remarkable seniors about the joys of growing older. From actress Sally Field to
former-First Lady Michelle Obama, these quotes covered the value of compassion, confidence, and freedom. One of my favorite quotes came from Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP: “I don’t want to be 30 again — do you? Sure, I may sometimes think I’d like to look like I’m 30 and feel like I’m 30, but I’ve benefited immensely from the experience and wisdom these years have brought me, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.” With age comes wisdom. Some people claim we get too old to put that wisdom to good use, but I disagree. When we have the wisdom to know what we want and the self-assurance to go after it, there’s no such thing as “too old.” My grandmother taught me this, and it’s something I’ve seen many of our seniors realize themselves. If you ever find yourself thinking that life as you know it will change forever, know that it almost certainly will. But with these changes comes the opportunity for a more fulfilling life. Embrace it!
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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Don’t Let Scammers Get You Down
Did You Pay? Another prevalent rip-off is the invoice scam. Again, AIG reports that about 57% of people aged 65-plus aren’t familiar with this sham. In most cases, the victim receives a phone call or email from a representative of a local company, who says they still owe money for a bill or service. For example, the scammer may tell the victim they owe an overdue $50 for their power bill. If the victim says they’ve already paid, the scammer might respond, “Your payment didn’t process correctly.” The crook’s job is to get the victim to relent and pay up. Then, once they’ve been paid, usually via credit card number or wire transfer, the scammer once again vanishes along with a significant portion of someone’s bank account. Scammers want your money, but if you are aware of today’s hustles, you can better protect yourself and your assets. Luckily, AIG also found that nearly 92% of the 65-plus crowd now ignores phone calls, texts, and emails that request personal information, and 89% of these folks say they avoid clicking links from unknown senders. Be vigilant and remember that if someone calls you and demands personal information over the phone or asks you to wire money, there’s a very good chance it’s a scam.
According to a recent survey by the American International Group (AIG), a majority of Americans over the age of 65 don’t know much about the myriad financial scams circling the globe. Reports show that ignorance of these scams has proven costly for the 65-plus crowd, who are the most frequently targeted demographic. Is It Love? One common shakedown taking seniors and retirees for a ride is the online romance scam. As part of it, a person poses as a potential date or romantic partner and engages in a fake relationship with the victim. The scam usually starts with an online or web-based dating service and progresses to texting or talking over the phone, but it always stops short of an in-person meeting. Instead, after the scammer has gained the trust of their victim, they’ll claim there’s been some kind of emergency for which they need money fast. The clueless victim usually offers to wire them the money. In many cases, the scammer will continue asking for money for as long as they can get away with it. Then, once the victim figures they’ve been bamboozled and try to retaliate, the scammers vanish — off to find their next target. Protect Yourself and Your Money
Time to Get Back Out There!
Expert Advice to Beat the Stigma of Senior Dating
Getting back into dating can be hard when you’ve been out of the game for a few decades. In fact, some would-be romantics are so self-conscious about their age that they never even try! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up some expert advice on dating at any age. Don’t fear online dating. Online dating is a great way to meet people outside of your social circle, and there are many dating sites and apps specifically for singles over 50 who are ready to mingle.
area, one for each letter of the alphabet, then going to those places. While you’re out, Copeland says, “You want to smile. Make eye contact. Ask a question. Give a compliment and put a question behind it.” Be present when meeting new people. Dating as a senior means coming to the table with a lot of baggage. Dating is when people get acquainted, so be careful about sharing that baggage right out of the gate. This doesn’t mean you should never talk about
Julie Spira, a relationship expert with senior dating app OurTime, says that “Authentic dating profiles get the best results.” Basically, don’t lie on your profile. Use a picture of you from this year and be proud of your age. That’s the best way to find people who will love the real you. Go to 26 different places. Prefer to meet people in person? Lisa Copeland, a dating coach who works exclusively with women over 50, recommends creating a list of 26 different places in your
heavy topics, but remember this advice from the popular dating site, eHarmony: “Early on, focus on enjoying each other’s company here and now.” It doesn’t matter if you’re 26 or 62, dating is always hard. You have to step outside your comfort zone and trudge through a series of terrible first dates. But in the end, it’s all worth it when you find that special someone with whom you can spend your golden years. Just remember, you’ll never meet that person if you don’t make the leap.
As Maggie Kuhn Once Said …
6 Inspiring Quotes About Getting Old
Age and Experience “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” –Betty Friedan, Writer and Activist “For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.” –The Talmud Age and Being Yourself “If you are pining for youth, I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory. You live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” –David Bowie, Singer “Old age is an excellent time for outrage. My goal is to say or do at least one outrageous thing every week.” –Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers Movement
When the number of candles on your birthday cakes starts to get you down, there’s an excellent quote reminding us that age is all in our head: “Aging is a matter of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to Muhammad Ali, this quote actually first appeared in newspapers in 1968 and was attributed to “one government researcher.” While we can’t thank whoever gave us this great quote, plenty of other excellent quotes remind us that age is just a number. Age and Joy “As I started getting older, I realized, ‘I’m so happy!’ I didn’t expect this! I wasn’t happy when I was young.” –Jane Fonda, Actress “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” –Samuel Ullman, Businessman
Apple Cider Chicken Brussels Sprouts
Directions 1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. On a baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts, apples, onion, and rosemary sprigs in olive oil, salt, and pepper. 3. Roast vegetable and fruit mixture until tender, about 25–30 minutes, flipping halfway. 4. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. 5. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Add chicken and cook 6 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 2 more minutes. Ingredients • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved • 2 gala apples, cut into wedges • 1 red onion, cut into wedges • 2 sprigs rosemary • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste
6. Pour cider onto chicken. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and let it rest on cutting board. 7. Return skillet to stove on medium-high and simmer sauce until reduced by half. 8. Swirl remaining 1 tbsp of butter with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slice chicken and divide among plates with roasted vegetables and serve. • 4 boneless chicken breasts • 1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped • 2 tbsp butter, divided • 2/3 cup apple cider • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Inspired by Food Network
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No Such Thing as Too Old
Don’t Let These Scammers Steal Your Money
Too Old for Love? No Such Thing!
Inspiring Quotes About Aging
Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
A Taste of Fun
LIFE IS SWEET WITH THESE LOCAL EVENTS
Be My Valentine Chocolate Making Workshop Where: New Leaf Community Markets, Santa Cruz When: Thursday, Feb. 13; 6–8 p.m. Admission: $35–$40 Website: NewLeaf.com/events/
New Englanders might claim to have the best clam chowder, but we all know the real best clam chowder is found right here in Santa Cruz! Block out your calendar and don’t miss the country’s largest and longest- running clam chowder competition! Come taste clam chowders from amateur and professional chefs alike and help choose this year’s clam chowder champions!
Nothing says “Be my Valentine” like homemade chocolate! This year, learn how to make sweets that are sure to impress with chocolatiers Karolina Wirga and Daniel Lyra. The founders of CocoMo Chocolates will teach you how to make organic chocolates with fair-trade cacao beans from Ecuador. Make it a couple’s class by signing up with your significant other, or come solo and learn how to make a sweet Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone. Santa Cruz Clam Chowder Cook-Off Where: Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz When: Saturday, Feb. 22 – Sunday, Feb. 23 Tasting Kits: $10 Website: BeachBoardwalk.com/Clam-Chowder-Cook-Off
Wilder Ranch: Life on the Ranch Where: Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz When: Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Admission: Free Website: Bit.ly/LifeOnTheRanchDay Rediscover a simpler time at Wilder Ranch State Park. Bring the whole family out to experience the early days of life on a dairy ranch. Check out living history demonstrations, play popular games from the 1800s, and enjoy a draft horse wagon ride. Pack your picnic lunch and prepare for a fun afternoon with your family.
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