LOVE & COMPANIONSHIP FOR BABY BOOMERS
By Michael Thomas Masters
Baby Boomers can experience romantic love and companionship. Persons over age forty-five express as much romantic passion as those in their twenties. We can surely fall in love at any age, in our 50s, 60s and even 80s and 90s. This is true for all mature adults, gay, straight, bi-sexual or transgender. In fact, we boomers (and older folks) are becoming the oomph generation!
More and more Baby Boomers are entering the dating world to find companionship and to have someone to communicate with, whether or not romance (and more) follows.
People are living longer and healthier lives as a direct result of looking for love and/or companionship later in life, as well as keeping positive and healthy attitudes. Countless Boomers (and older) are far more active than previous elder generations.
Even in our media and marketing worlds, mature romance comes in a rainbow of diversity, as is evident in countless films, plays, TV programs, TV commercials and printed materials.
For instance, consider the touching, amusing, insightful and offbeat comedy-romance film, HAROLD & MAUDE. At a funeral, a depressed, twenty-year old, Harold (Burt Cort) befriends Maude (the effervescent Ruth Gordon), a seventies plus woman who has a zest for life. Maude and Harold spend much time together, even falling in love, during which time she exposes Harold to the wonders and possibilities of life.
On the small screen, the classic television series THE GOLDEN GIRLS remains a tribute to mature, knowledgeable and lively people, with the series main characters mostly over fifty and full of oomph!
In the past, mature or prime time adults (or seniors, if you prefer) chose more traditional venues, such as cruise ships, bowling clubs, placing personal ads and church gatherings in seeking companionship and/or romantic partners.
With the tagline, “this is what love feels like,” in the film BEGINNERS, a seventy-five years young gay man (Christopher Plummer) meets his younger lover Andy (Goran Visnjc) through social circles, which worked for this happy and loving couple.
Even though these tried and true in-person dating settings are still suitable and work for many single Boomers, on-line Internet dating and surfing has become tremendously popular, saving time, cash and even recurrent travel miles. After all, prime-time age people are far more computer literate than we often give ourselves credit.
Considering the fact that in 2012 half of all people in America over fifty are single, it makes sense that dating sites for those in their golden years are popping up worldwide. Furthermore, in our neighboring country of Canada, where 42% of the entire population is dating online, over the age of forty-five dating has become very acceptable.
Additionally, like plenty of folks under age fifty, many prime-time adults do not feel comfortable hitting the singles bars and other social gathering scenes.
At the time of meeting someone through online dating, you can get to know them better by sharing more information during initial e-mails; than you would with someone, you just start dating in-person. This is because you often spend time sending e-mail (or snail mail) messages back and forth, talking on the telephone and possibly even sharing personal photos or videos.
When you do meet for the first time, taking security precautions are essential, such as meeting in a public place, letting people know where you are going and when you will be back, and taking your cell phone with you. Such precautions are wise to follow even for non-Internet generated first dates.
Remember that human companionship and love can occur when and where we least expect it. In addition to increasing changes of meeting someone, being involved in social activities, gatherings and clubs often places us in environments with other single and interesting Baby Boomers also in search of relationships and/or love.
While further examining media Baby Boomer theme examples, consider the film LAST CHANCE HARRY in which a lonely and single man (Dustin Hoffman) in his 60s, while attending his daughter’s wedding, finds his romantic spirits lifted (and his life changed) by a new female friend (Emma Thompson) in her 50s.
Sound a little too romantic? Hey, sometimes life can be that way. Moreover, love happens to folks of all ages!
If you consider on-line dating as an option, checkout these Baby Boomer (and plus) companionship and dating websites, or surf the Internet on your own for other dating sites and social meeting alternatives.
chemistry.com (gay and lesbian)
Michael Thomas Masters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow marks another birthday. As I age, I recognize that good health is more and more important than anything. It’s everything.
We’ve all heard the “be proactive” call to action. In a sense, this is assessment from a bird’s eye view. We can assess our lifestyle by repeating the mantras we’ve all heard before: Follow a healthful diet. Get plenty of exercise. Channel our stress. Don’t smoke. Moderation is key. Be engaged, be mindful. Okay, okay….let’s say that we do all that. Are we where we should be in the preventative health maze?
When I conduct an on-line search for “How to Assess Your Health”, my computer screen urges me to take a health report card quiz so that I can determine what my risk factors might be and use my overall score to evaluate my health. Been there, done that. I’m healthy, according to my on-line test results. Is there anything else included in proposed self-diagnostic test kit? Yes. One more thing: I need to trace my family history, which will give me clues about what diseases I might be susceptible to. According to my on-line guides, I am now complete. I can feel assured that I can head off problems before they ever come to the surface.
I’m not a medical professional and sincerely don’t profess to be, but through a devastating illness which my husband is currently combating, I’ve learned that assessment is key to everything. The assessment that my husband’s doctors and nurses speak of is that of learning about your own norms by following a road map and listening to your body. So this year, I’m challenging myself to actually learn something about my own norms, to “look under the hood of my engine” so to speak. I’m making my first attempt to understand how I run.
Last week, I had my annual physical. Although I get blood work done every year or so, this was the first time I requested a hard copy of my lab results. I also requested that my physician walk me through the results. He consented, and was happy to empower me to learn about the person whom I think I’ve known all too well for many-a year now. This was a valuable lesson. Having seen the same physician for years, he told me how my norms have been running for everything from blood sugar to iron, from blood pressure to cholesterol, both good and bad. I asked about hemoglobin, thyroid, and Vitamin D. And the list didn’t stop there.
I feel as though for the very first time, I’ve practiced the best prevention method: understanding. Not only did my physician take the time to teach, I became an inquisitive student. I followed up his assessment by utilizing a primer I found on the New York Times which allows the user to look at blood counts and understand what they mean. This served as a great follow up to help me interpret my test results.
As we continue to drown in this information age, it’s easy to get lost between multiple health blogs, hundreds of internet sites, and countless medical apps. The daily bombardment of drug advertisements and the conflicting (but well intentioned) studies about medical tests can be confusing at best. Ironically, the very best person to advise us, our doctor, is now more likely to spend less time with each and every patient. This is especially why we all need to get acquainted with ourselves, know our baselines and understand what they mean. How else will we recognize a change of status if and when a change happens?
Of course, when you’re sick, knowledge is power. But I’ve just learned that knowledge is power when you’re healthy as well.
If you’re over forty, you’ve no doubt experienced a medical appointment which was rushed by your physician. Or perhaps you’ve had the misfortune of misdiagnosis or a medical error. Nothing new these days, right?
What may be a new chapter in healthcare is an era of patient advocacy, a term more and more of us will come to know in the coming years. With doctors pressured to see a higher volume of patients, the time you spend with your physician will no doubt be more limited. And with the 32 million people getting health insurance by 2014, there will be more patients for doctors to see. With an aging population and medical schools producing the same amount (or fewer!) physicians, a warning shot has been fired: all of us must be poised to be effective advocates for our own health.
What does that mean, exactly? We, as both patients and caregivers, need to understand our treatment options. We also need to learn how to proactively work with insurance companies, how to talk about and prepare for end of life decisions, how to advocate for our safety, and learn how to question and ultimately advocate for our own health.
Author Trisha Torrey of Every Patient’s Advocate is a woman who has spearheaded the patient advocacy movement. Sadly, she knows the American healthcare’s dysfunctional system all too well. When she was diagnosed with aggressive, terminal cancer and told she had only a few months to live, it didn’t sit right. She searched further and further. Ultimately, Trisha had indeed been misdiagnosed with cancer. Once a mild-mannered marketing consultant who knew almost nothing about healthcare, she delved into the American healthcare system that was tasked with treating her.
Initially Trisha made every mistake a patient could make. But she got smart, fast. She learned that the possibility of excellent care was too easily and frequently eclipsed by miscommunication and mistakes. She also learned that if she didn’t stick up for herself, and insist on the help she needed, she would not get it.
As a staunch advocate of the Patient Advocacy movement, here are some of her suggestions:
• Get invested in the process. Think about how you would advocate for your child. Now do it for yourself.
• Know your family history. This can help with both diagnosis and treatment phase.
• If you ever get a devastating diagnosis, don’t make quick decisions. Explore resources to get the comfort and information you may need.
• Realize the pull and power of the pharmaceutical industry. It is a business. Don’t be naïve.
• Research all prescribed drugs, and recognize that drugs affect each individual differently. One must take into account their age, ethnicity, and sex. Recognize that no drug hold all the answers, so research complimentary alternatives.
All in all, have a voice. Support those who cannot support themselves, and recognize that we have to make ourselves accountable for our own health as we make healthcare providers more accountable.
If you are trying to navigate the healthcare maze, you may want to check out the following Patient Advocacy Resources:
• About.com Patient Empowerment: http://patients.about.com
• AdvoConnection: www.AdvoConnection.com Helps ﬁnd an advocate when you or a loved one needs assistance for medical/ navigation issues, billing or insurance claims, getting permission for insurance payment rejections, birthing, geriatric home health and more. Itʼs a free service that lets you search by zip code and service needed.
• Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR): http://www.acor.org/ offers access to 159 mailing lists that provide support,
information, and community to everyone affected by cancer and related disorders.
• Center for Advancing Health (CFAH): http://www.cfah.org. CFAH conducts research, communicates ﬁndings and advocates for policies that support everyoneʼs ability to beneﬁt from advances in health science.
• Center for Medical Consumers: http://medicalconsumers.org/. Is committed to broadening public awareness about the safety and quality problems that pervade Americaʼs medical care. The Center is active in both nationwide and statewide efforts to reduce medical errors, report disclosure of physician conﬂicts of interest, improve the quality of medical care, and encourage public access to information about the comparative performance of doctors and hospitals.
• CNNʼs Empowered Patient: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/empowered.patient/. Elizabeth Cohen presents her weekly stories about patients who stepped up in unusual ways to get the medical help they needed.
• Coalition for Patients Rights: http://www.patientsrightscoalition.org/. The Coalition for Patientsʼ Rights consists of more than 35 organizations representing a variety of licensed health care professionals who provide a diverse array of safe, effective, and
affordable health care services to millions of patients each year.
• Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS): http://www.patientsafety.org/. Is a consumer-led nonproﬁt organization formed to be a collective voice for individuals, families and healers who wish to prevent harm in healthcare encounters through partnership and collaboration.
• The Empowered Patient Coalition: http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org/. The Empowered Patient Coalition is dedicated to providing an unprecedented level of information, resources and educational support to the public. The Coalition is committed to promoting a culture of transparency, meaningful interaction and active participation that will allow patients and their advocates to assume a greater role in improving the safety and the quality of their health care.
Let us introduce ourselves. We are Alice and Richard Matzkin, and are both artists in our late sixties. Richard sculpts, Alice paints. Like so many others, we grew afraid as we entered middle age and began experiencing wrinkles, grey hair, and expanding waistlines. Instead of a psychiatrist couch, we used paint and clay to work through our fear and negative attitudes about aging. For fifteen years, I painted and interviewed older women, some famous, some without clothes. During the same period of time, Richard sculpted older men and elderly couples, also without clothes.
Through our art work and the writing of our art and inspirational book “The Art of Aging: Celebrating the Authentic Aging Self“, we have come to see our aging in a positive light. Our years have given us a wider perspective, deeper understanding of the meaning of our lives, and a true appreciation of the preciousness of now. We can honestly say that our present age is among the very best in our lives. We invite you to watch our oomphtv profile to learn more about who we are and the work that we share.