January — Not Feeling my Age
February — Another Year
March — Courtesy
April — Turning Points
May — Diagnosis: Diabetes
June — Last Flight
July — Free Range Kids
August — A Better Gardener than Parent
September — Going Vegetarian, Part 1
October — Camping, Again
November — Going Vegetarian, Part 2
December — Aging in Place: Time for a Change

January

Not Feeling My Age

Millennials aren’t found of talking about age because they are ‘as young as they feel’. They are the age they are and, at any point, that is the right age to be. Such is the confidence of youth.

It is among older folks one hears the talk of how aging feels, or how one feels about aging. So comes the phrase, “I’m only as old as I feel”, to the Boomer generation. We have enough years on us that using years to count age is becoming increasingly unfashionable. “Only attitude matters!” is the claim, but I hope that isn’t true.

Last week I pulled a muscle in my lower back by turning wrong as I was getting out of bed. Yeah, that’s right. I got injured getting up in the morning. It wasn’t that I worked too hard or I played too much; simple movement got the best of me and laid me out. Ambushed without warning.

As I hobbled about the house, foggy with pain killers, that phrase crossed my mind, “I’m only as old as I feel.” I hope not. I felt 102. If attitude was everything, I wasn’t going to survive the week. All I felt was forlorn, sore, and groggy from the meds.

Worst of all was the sense that this was the new norm. If you can hurt yourself turning, what next? Am I feeling my age or what my age is going to feel like?

A week later, all was well. The pain was gone, my mind was clear and shoveling the front walk felt like a blessing and a privilege. It was great to be using my muscles and getting some exercise again. Then a thought crossed my mind, “Am I feeling my age, or fighting my frailty?” Like when you wake from a dream where you were dreaming you were waking up. What is real? Which am I? The agile person I feel now or the frail person I was last week? In other words, am I acting my age or acting the age I want desperately to still be.

Maybe there isn’t an answer to that question, because the important thing isn’t the question, but the fight to stay active. The battle for mobility, which is regrettably a war of attrition. While you can still fight, you are winning, and so fight on.

Aging in place, it doesn’t happen by accident. It isn’t a battle; it’s a war for independence waged on many fronts.

February

Another Year

This column is being written late. That sort of sums up my success at keeping New Year’s resolutions. Happens every year: I pile up the intentions like someone investing in a stock called “Disappointment”, then I plunge into January and before no time at all, I’m reaping the dividends of failed expectation.

Since I’m already behind on this, let’s look at expectations. We are told each year is a “clean slate”. You know where that comes from, don’t you? People used to write on slates. They’d write on them, wipe I ’em clean, and then start out fresh with a clean slate.

Let’s examine that closer. Remember those great chalk boards that wrapped the walls of our elementary school class rooms? The teacher would write on them and then wipe them clean with an eraser. Except that they didn’t come clean, there were always ghosts of words or math problems appearing from the past.

It was never a “clean slate”. History showed through and so it does with us. Each fresh start is haunted by all we have done and all we have failed to do. We bring the same stuff with us to every new opportunity, even January 1st.

This is not a complaint, nor am I being negative. After enough years, it is actually a blessing. Expectations are not so high; the fall is not so far. We know how things work and I was not surprised to have gotten to this column late. It happens most month and it has been going on for years.

Yes, I made a resolution, but only because a group of friends wanted to hear each other’s resolutions. So, I made that one up and then didn’t think about it again until I realized on a Friday night I had a Monday morning deadline.

So, am I advising people shouldn’t bother with New Year’s resolutions? No, if I gave advice upon a new year, that wouldn’t be it. What would it be? It would be advice others offered me that worked out well. What kind of advice? Well, since you asked, here is a little:

Be smarter than your phone. You should decide when to answer it and when not to. Have times you don’t answer it. That is called having time for yourself.

Never miss a chance to pat a dog or scratch a cat.

The less you hurry, the more time you have. Odd, but true.

I got more, but that was already too much. Happy New Year.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and it goes on year after year.

March

Courtesy

For some time now, I’ve been learning to drive more courteously. That means allowing people to make left-hand turns so the cars behind aren’t stuck waiting, letting people into traffic and out of their parking spots, not racing up on someone’s back bumper, and generally helping other drivers and the flow of traffic, even if it means sharing my right-of-way, giving someone else the benefit of the doubt, or ‘losing’ a minute.

Then I began to wonder, in the scheme of things was I really making a difference? Did my courtesy matter? So, I decided to test it. For a week, I drove with the assumption, “Let the other guy be nice instead.” What I found out was interesting.

First of all, letting someone else do it, didn’t mean someone else would do it. Watching in my rearview mirror after not allowing someone to make a left, I would see a long line of cars stuck while that driver waited for an opportunity to make his turn. Often, when I didn’t help, neither did the person behind me.

Letting the other guy do it didn’t assure it would be done and it didn’t leave me feeling as good. However, looking for a reason not to help, I always found one. It wasn’t hard to rationalize that there wasn’t time to wait or that it felt awkward to make those behind me wait (sometimes cars would beep) and believing it wasn’t my responsibility got easier every day.

By the end of the week, it wasn’t an experiment anymore because I had ceased to see the opportunity to be courteous. Now I was just hurrying along with only my interests in mind and nobody else mattered.

It wasn’t simple to end my test and go back to driving courteously again. Not caring about others was easy to do, almost natural. Within a week I’d simply stopped noticing other drivers in need. Switching back took a conscious effort. I had to work at it and learn again to see where I could make it easier for others.

So, why did I bother going through the trouble of be courteous again? Because it made me feel better and more relaxed. I wasn’t in such a competitive state of mind, always in a hurry. Having time to help others actually gave me more time. Besides, those happy smiles and friendly waves of thank you made my drives more pleasant and that made them seem shorter.

What did I learn from my experiment? I learned courtesy was a gift I gave to myself by sharing it with others. I also noticed what happened with the people I was courteous to. Many payed it forward as I saw them being kind to others. What a wonderful thing, courtesy is contagious.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and being able to help others makes it easier on ourselves.

April

Turning Points

There are turning points in everyone’s life, as in Frost’s poem “The road not taken”, times when what we did or didn’t do made all the difference. Sometimes, it isn’t even what we did or didn’t do, but the wisdom, kindness, or indifference of others. In any case, it shifts us toward a different destination, even though we might not perceive it at the time. A magical moment in which we begin to be a different person.

As I look back over my life, I can see some of those moments more clearly now, from a distance. At the time, the rush of events was too great. I was in too big a hurry. Pushing forward, always late for the next place, not quite comfortable where I was, anxious to be somewhere else. With me, it was always a little farther down the line.

My speaking of this is not to suggest my experience has been unique. The very opposite, in fact. My expectation is that your life has played out much the same. We have each experienced miracles of grace or tragedy. Such magic is commonplace generally, but also incredibly individual. Now, I am at an age where I can appreciate it, even if it is too late to express my gratitude appropriately.

First, was a fight between my mother and father over whether I should be allowed to wander the canyons near our home on the outskirts of San Diego. This meant danger and my father was keenly aware of it. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, gila monsters were all potentially deadly, mountain lions were still rumored to roam the area, and any misstep could have left me injured and alone, lying unconscious in the desert heat. Thankfully, my mother won the fight and I was allowed to be a free-range kid, wandering miles from home without adult supervision, beginning at about the age of 5.

Why was that so pivotal? Because I encountered the unknown and learned to rely on my instincts from a remarkably early age. It nurtured a wanderlust that has taken me to 3 continents and led me into a life filled with adventure and blessed with the unexpected. I do not doubt that if my father had won the argument, I would not be writing this article, sitting in my study in my home in Barre, Vermont.

Then, there was the boss who got my attention after repeated attempts. He’d find something I’d down wrong, would point it out, and I would make an excuse. Each time he would say, “Scotty it doesn’t matter why you did it wrong. Your excuses just tell me you aren’t learning and will do it wrong again. Stop making excuses, accept you were wrong, and start doing it right.” Wow, getting caught wasn’t the problem; being wrong was the problem. From that day forward I’ve always appreciated having my mistakes pointed out. It is an opportunity to do better in the future.

My point here isn’t the experiences I’ve had, but those we’ve each had. What blessings in our lives, even if the only blessing was that we survived! That too, is a great lesson and a pivotal one: still being here today after all that happened yesterday. This is not stuff we understood growing up. This we only appreciate in the rear-view mirror.

How wonderful we made it so far. What a wonder, the way we made it!

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and we didn’t get here on our own.

May

Diagnosis: Diabetes

At my last annual physical, my doctor informed me I had diabetes. No big deal, I thought. I feel great; I’ve got no symptoms. Maybe I have to give up candy bars and do a little less recreational eating, but how bad could it be? Then I went to the nutritionist for diabetes education.

It can be really bad. Diabetes is a degenerative disease that can prove fatal if not controlled and treated adequately. Even with best efforts, the pancreas can simply age out and the problem can get worse no matter what I do. The nutritionist did not cheer me up.

Fortunately, my diabetes was diagnosed early, so I don’t have to go right to insulin injections or medication every day, but I do have to modify my diet considerably and exercise every day. This was not going to be just a matter of eating a few less potato chips; it was going to mean a serious lifestyle change if I wanted to maintain the quality of my life and live as long as possible. So, they got my attention.

That turns out to be the tough part about diabetes: getting people’s attention. It is a silent disease. How you feel isn’t an indicator of how well you are. Regrettably, a lot of people fail to take their diagnosis seriously and travel down a road that can lead to loss of function, limbs, sight and even life.

That is the bad news, but the good news is I was diagnosed early and convinced that by changing my diet and exercising regularly, there is a good chance my diabetes can be controlled without the need to take injections or medicine for the time being. That is good and makes me very lucky.

Lucky to have diabetes, you ask? No, not lucky to have it, but lucky to know about it in time to be able to make a difference. There is no point in getting mad about the diagnosis; it isn’t personal. Being diagnosed is a good thing — better to know about a problem than to be ignorant of it.

Speaking of ignoring it, guess what I did for several years while the doctors kept warning I was pre-diabetic. Nothing. I didn’t even bother learning what pre-diabetic or diabetes mean. I did make a few minor adjustments, but my attitude was, “I’m getting away with this, why should I stop eating foods I’ve enjoyed all my life? Bring on the fries!”

Having worked in a hospital, I’ve cared for patients who did not take their diabetes seriously or were diagnosed late and faced the serious complications of the disease. Type 2 can be deceptive because you can have it and get away with a lot of cheating or ignoring before it catches up to you, but it will probably catch up with you. You’d have thought I’d have paid better attention and taken this seriously a long time ago. I knew better, but that didn’t make me smarter.

Now, I’m counting grams of carbohydrates, exercising like my life depends on it, and reading lots of stuff about diabetes. It is called “Taking ownership of your disease”. We aren’t friends, but I do hope we will be together for a very long time, with me in control instead of the Type 2.

Aging in Place. In doesn’t happen by accident and sometimes you must adjust, whether you want to or not.

June

Last Flight

I’m just back from a cross country flight via JFK. It was a learning experience, made no easier by memories of the luxury and excitement of flying some years back. Remember when people got dressed up to fly? It was fancy. Stewardesses catered to you and made you feel special. The competition was in comfort. Today we are packed into planes like cattle.

While that can be irritating, what happened on this flight was more about aging than service. My wife and I travel heavy: two check-ins and two carry-ons, plus briefcases. Even on a short trip, that’s our minimum, but getting down the plane aisle can be a challenge, the carry-ons wheeling along behind us, banging against every possible obstacle.

When I attempted to lift my bag into the overhead compartment, the lady sitting below it appeared to be fearing for her life. As I reached to lift my wife’s bag, the lady desperately tried to lean out of the “crash zone”. I noticed this and wondered, “How dangerous do I look?” I’ve been hefting luggage up into these bins longer than she’s been alive. Perhaps that was just what made her so nervous.

During the flight, an elderly couple had to make their way down the aisle to the bathroom. Each was struggling to support the other. He was old, but she seemed ancient. Watching them try to negotiate the walk, while they were pitched and tossed by the almost imperceptible movement of the plane, was scary. Fortunately, they made it, but it left me thinking, “Wow, they are too old to fly. How did they even get their bags up into the bins?”

On the return flight, when I went to lift up our carry-ons, a young man popped up. “Please, sir, let me do that for you.” Give me a break, I can do it myself, was what I wanted to say, but I didn’t think fast enough. He’d already whipped up both bags and slipped back into his seat before I could gather a response. So, I smiled and thanked him, but got even when it was time to deplane buy jumping up and pulling down my bags before he could get up to help. Trapped in his seat as I struggled to wrangle our bags, he was the picture of fear itself. The first bag came down fine in a sort of tippy, jerky way. The second one almost got away from me.

Back on the ground, driving home from the airport, I thought about how that elderly couple looked and considered how I must have looked to that young man so anxious offer me assistance. Maybe it is time for me either to accept help graciously or to pack lighter. I’m not at the point I need help walking down the aisle to the bathroom, but aging has changed something, so I had better adjust.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident, but if you want to avoid accidents sometimes you have to change.

July

Free Range Kids

It is hard for kids today to imagine what life was like when their grandparents were growing up. The breadth of freedom enjoyed by Boomers would today probably be illegal. Wow, was it ever fun to be a kid way back then!

No, we didn’t have smart phones, 100 channels on 72-inch HD TV’s, or electronic games, but that didn’t matter because we weren’t expected to be in the house anyway. If Mom could see us, she had a chore ready. If Dad found us lying around in front of the TV during daylight . . . well, just forget about that one. Suffice it to say, we never wanted Dad finding us lying around anywhere.

So, what did we do? Rode our bicycles far and wide. No helmets and no riding on the sidewalk either. It was out into the traffic and peddling as far from home as our sturdy little legs could take us. We were rarely alone. Every kid in the neighborhood could be riding with us, up to the park for a picnic, down to the beach for a swim, out for ice cream, or just to see how much distance we could make and still get home before supper. My gang’s favorite was riding across town to a huge hill. We’d walk our bikes up and then shoot down, traveling so fast the bikes would shake and our eyes would water.

Then there was playing cowboys. (Very politically incorrect now, but not back then.) We had toy guns and the more they looked like real guns the better. We shot each other, pretending to be gunslingers or on a cattle drive. We went out into the canyons and roamed like wild coyotes. We’d take a lunch and be outside from after breakfast to just before dinner.

So, how could our parents let us disappear for so many hours? Didn’t they care about our safety? Not enough to wreck our fun. Running wild was what people thought kids were supposed to do. Yes, sometimes one of us came home with a broken something or a bad bite. That was really no big deal. Just part of the risks of being a normal kid. Safety took a backseat in the priorities of our lives.

Speaking of backseats, that is not where we always rode. The front seat was prime real estate and crawling over the back of the bench seat to get up there wasn’t unheard of. What about air bags? There were no air bags, no seat belts either. The only safety device cars came with was Dad’s arm, which he would slam into you as he slammed on the brakes. If you were lying up in the back window, you went flying and bounced off the front seatbacks. If you were smart, you didn’t cry or complain, because it could cost you that treasured spot.

We were left free to encounter problems and people that we had to learn how to negotiate on our own. We lived in a world of kids, filled with adventure and personal responsibility. If something went wrong, we knew we would be blamed and that could put our liberty at risk. So, mostly we behaved ourselves and survived. We learned to solve our problems and grew stronger for the experiences.

Those children are still inside us even as we have grown older and slower. Staying connected with those adventurous souls can help us Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.

August

A Better Gardner than Parent

We should start by understanding that I’m not a bad parent or a great gardener. It is more that over time I’ve improved as a gardener, but am stuck with the kind of parent I was during the years my daughter was growing up and in my care. She is now who she is and probably influences my life more than I do hers.

The garden is another matter. It has allowed me time to develop a more holistic approach to the plants, weeds, bugs, worms, bees, and the earth. It has brought me along and taught me lessons, not only about gardening, but about an almost infinite variety of things, including parenting. If I knew then what I know now, it is certain I would have been a better parent.

For years, my horticultural style was very rooted in absolutes: these were flowers and those were weeds; flowers got to stay and weeds had to go. Same thing with insects. If I knew for certain a creature was “good” then it got to stay, otherwise it had to be killed. If in doubt it was a weed or a “bad” bug. Oddly enough, there turned out to be more weeds than flowers, more pests than permittables.

This approach came from a belief that my role in the yard was to create order out of chaos, to impose upon my small plot what I wanted to be there. It was as though I were imposing my will upon a blank slate. Except it wasn’t blank. Nature had its own ideas about what should grow and who could live in my little Eden

While never an avid gardener, I was a consistent one. Into my fifties, I battled the back yard until, fortunately, I was rescued by my lovely wife, Kelly. She is an organic holistic gardener. I thought that meant the same kind of gardening but with no pesticides and more bugs. Instead, I slowly and painfully learned it meant letting the garden teach you what it wanted to grow there. Live and let live, for both crawling and blooming beings.

Now, if I see something unfamiliar, I let it grow and find out what it may become. It is amazing how many flowers come up in a patch of grass left to grow wild. Nature didn’t need me to display her miracles, she just needed me out of the way long enough for our acre to reveal itself. Bugs deserve time to reveal themselves, too. You can’t have butterflies if you kill all the caterpillars.

Which brings me back to parenting and how time has revealed to me the benefit of patience and giving a child room to grow into itself. Time for the beauty and purpose of the individual to reveal itself, through encouragement. Too late to correct my parenting past, but just in time to nurture my adult child’s future.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident. Thankfully, we do get second chances.

September

Going Vegetarian (Part 1)

After a lot of research, going vegetarian seemed like a good healthy choice for me. Not an easy decision, but with hypertension, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases, it seems lifestyle choices are the best solution — more exercise and, of course, diet. After all, we are what we eat.

At the beginning of summer, the decision was to devour my way through all meat in the refrigerator on my way to a strictly veggie diet. Fortunately, the refrigerator was loaded: a super jumbo size package of frozen breakfast sausages, several pounds of hamburger, 3 packages of hot dogs, some pepperoni, plus several frozen chickens (whole and parts). Oh yes, and plenty of ham for lunches.

My first day as a vegetarian went fairly well. Sausage & eggs for breakfast, ham sandwich for lunch, and a cheeseburger with bacon for dinner. Oops, I forgot to mention all that bacon I’d stocked up on. Meals were pretty much along those lines for a couple of weeks. Hamburgers were switched out for hot dogs or pepperoni pizza, mac ‘n cheese with ham, etc.

Two weeks into my vegetarian diet, I hadn’t lost any weight yet, and I felt no sense of privation. Making a healthier choice was going to be easier than I had expected. Then I was invited to a business dinner at an expensive steak house. Porter House steak for me, 16 ounces. It was going to be my last steak dinner, a pound of steak seemed a fitting tribute to my passing life as a carnivore.

That gave me a great idea, I should have a farewell tour of all my fast food favorites. Double-cheeseburgers with bacon, fried chicken, and beef tacos. Like an aging rock star, one farewell tour led to another. Just as I was about to have my first meatless breakfast, another bag of sausages was discovered in the cellar freezer.

Well, I’ve been on the veggie diet for most of summer. So far, I have to confess not being very impressed. I’m heavier, my blood pressure is up, and the exercising is killing me. I just feel sluggish and tired all the time.

One thing has perked me up, though. I plan to visit my favorite Chinese restaurant for some General Tao’s chicken and there are a couple of Mexican restaurants to say good-bye to. By the time I’ve done my ethnic food tour and said farewell to the food trucks, they should start having the hunters’ breakfasts at the local churches and granges.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and some things have got to change, but some change takes longer to implement than others.

October

Camping, Again

It’s been maybe twenty years since I last camped and I’m not the camper I was. Back then, I just wandered off into the wilderness, with 65 pounds of stuff strapped to my back, and stayed out for a while. My daughter still remembers the day I renounced it forever. “No more sleeping on the ground!” she swears I screamed out. So, everyone was surprised when I suggested taking up camping, again. My wife reminded me of all the camping gear I insisted on yard-selling over the past decade. My neighbor put a kind hand on my shoulder and asked, “Really? At your age?”

I don’t know that I can tell you why; it’s more a feeling than a reason. At nearly 70, I long for something I remember mattering a lot to a much younger me. Something before I became completely civilized and reasonable, before I lost the desire to sleep outside and battle mosquitoes during evening meals by a campfire. On a beautiful day this summer, the thought of camping crossed my mind and it felt right.

It wasn’t some shining moment when I strapped back on the old back pack and headed down the Long Trail. Instead, it was a long reality check with my lovely wife, Kelly. Although I’d always hated campsites, the only option considered was camping at state parks.

We found options in between glamping and roughing it. Between thrift shops, yard sales, and Amazon, Kelly met our cooking and dining needs on the elegant cheap. We found a cabin tent on sale, promising to ‘sleep 6 in comfort’ with a screened-in porch, plenty of head room, and a door on a hinge! Six is a stretch, but it does fit a full-size air bed, a cushion for Pepper, our dog, and civilized necessities like bedside tables for books, snacks, and lamps.

Four weeks and a couple hundred dollars later, pulled into the Allis Vermont State Park, 20 minutes from our house. Setting up camp was a breeze. Wow, has tent construction improved! Blowing up the mattress was simply a matter of plugging it into the car. Water was near-by at a faucet and hot showers were available for a few quarters. Unfortunately, we forgot our towels, but we roughed it, in true pioneer spirit. Convincing Pepper we were not on a long walk and intended to stay in the semi-outdoors was difficult. She kept tugging us toward the shower house, which at least looked like a building.

The best part was how much time we had. Free of the chores and diversion (no computers or cell phones), we truly relaxed and talked. Meals were long to make and eaten in leisure. Walks were slow ambles or gentle hikes. We read or listened to the radio. Each night, we had a fire and each day we met some nice, friendly people. Although the days and evenings were incredibly long, we were never bored.

We came home refreshed and already planning our next trip. Little by little we hope to expand our horizons and length of stays. Off in the distance is a week on the coast of Maine. Think of it! Going to sleep and waking up listening to the surf. No wonder the modern camping motto is, “Go further, stay longer for less money.”

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident. Sometimes it happens by reaching back to what worked before and doing it again, but differently.

November

Going Vegetarian, Part 2

After finishing off all the meat in the house and every possible meat dish at favorite restaurants (and some I just happened to go to for the first time), I actually began to eat what others might consider a vegetarian diet. I prefer calling it vegetable-centered, but whatever. I’ve lost the weight initially gained going veg and another 10 lbs. There has been no loss of energy or other discernable negatives — no craving for meat, no blurred vision, no lack of strength or stamina. I haven’t gone bald or caught cold.

It helps that my lovely wife, Kelly, gave up meat many years ago and is well-versed in finding delicious, healthy alternatives. So, I’m eating well and enjoying what I eat. Things taste better in that I am more open to new flavors and different types of vegetables, grains, and legumes. Let’s face it, almost everything I eat is new because I used to eat only a few vegetables, white bread and no beans or legumes, except in chili.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just wake up and want to eat all this new stuff. It was more like, no meat on the plate, huh? Well then, who cares what you put in front of me. I’m hungry and have to eat something. Quick chews, big swallows, and done.

Then, as I learned to eat more slowly, flavors started to emerge. Kelly gradually introduces more spice and variety. Things like Swiss chard even became palatable. My appetite became more complex until now, several months into this, I’m a much more adventurous eater.

Does that mean I’ve stopped missing meat? No, I have my moments of crisis. We recently went to a Caribbean restaurant that features a beautiful, spicy vegetable medley and Cuban sandwiches. Cubans are (oops, were) my favorite sandwich, ham and roasted pork with cheese and spice . . . sorry, I digress. So, I dutifully ordered the veggie medley, but when the smell of a Cuban from two tables over wafted into range, I nearly lost it. Happily, the medley really was delicious.

I never wanted to stop eating meat and I still want to eat meat. For me, it was a matter of healthier choices and I am feeling healthier. No heavy tummy after dinner, no lethargy after a meal. I’m down two pants sizes and get less tired when exercising. Giving up meat will be a journey, not a destination. Maybe not eating meat will become normal, but I doubt it. There were always be an empty place that only good barbeque or a Cuban sandwich could fill. Fortunately, there are many new foods I will enjoy in the time to come that I might never have tried if my plate stayed full of meat.

If making healthy diet choices were easy, I wouldn’t have had to make the choice. I’d have been making healthy choices all along.

Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident and you don’t always get to do what you want. But you may get what you need and it may be pretty good after all.

December

Aging in Place: Time for a Change

We’ve been writing this column for 11 years. I say ‘we’ because I write it and my lovely wife, Kelly, translates it into English. It began as a way to advocate for Aging in Place (AIP). The purpose was to talk about challenges in growing older at the place of one’s choice and to share information about available support services. Over time, as the AIP concept went mainstream and I grew a lot older, the column has morphed more into stories about my aging experience and less about aging recourses.

Feedback from readers has indicated your enjoyment of my stories. Many of you have expressed appreciation and have shared tales of your own. A few people have reached out for assistance with aging issues. Others complained the column wasn’t about Aging in Place.

We have been struck by the growing gap between the title and the columns. Because AIP remains an important subject to us, we have determined it best to change the name of the column with the New Year, so this will be our last Aging in Place column. We will still be writing each month, but the column will be called Boomer Funk: An Aging Blog.

It will continue to be a sharing of this aging Boomer’s surprises in growing older. We hope you will enjoy these wrinkled tales of time and its consequences. In a way, it will still be about AIP, as we hope to remain in our home in Vermont for as long as we possibly can. One of the clearest messages we have gotten from those who have reached out to us is that our experiences are not unique, they are as common as we had hoped.

Why Boomer Funk? Because I am a Boomer and I am a Funk. On top of that, back in the 60’s, funk was a word with so many meanings it became a synonym for miscellaneous. It meant stuff in general, a kind of soul (think Funky Chicken), an attitude, or something quirky: funky. It evolved so many meanings, it sort of meant nothing at all. That seemed right for this column. After all, we don’t know where we are heading, what will happen when we arrive, or whether we will like it or not. Sounds miscellaneous to me!

And so we change the name, but not the spirit of the column. We look forward to writing for you and hearing your thoughts. After all, we are in this aging thing together.

Aging in Place it doesn’t happen by accident and the more we change, the more we stay the same.