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Wednesday, 20 Sep 2017

What IS a Gerontologist, and Why Would You or Your Family Member Need One?

Gerontologists are social scientists who read and write research, study social and health trends, and make recommendations for positive aging outcomes. Gerontologists diligently search out good information for the benefit of their plus-60-aged clients and the general public. We work to improve adjustments, attitudes and assistance needed for successful aging-in-place or the smooth transition to a higher level of care for our clients.

 

Since Gerontologists are trained by significant study in the biology, psychology, sociology and ethics of aging, good Gerontologists can do the following for their aging clients and/or family members:

 

1. Determine specific needs of the individual based on his/her preferences and capacities in regards to social, environmental and lifestyle changes.

2. Promote successful aging* for the clients and their family members.

3. Identify potentials and probabilities for aging populations based on their specific parameters.

*Successful aging, defined in 1984 by Drs. Robert L. Kahn and John W. Rowe:

1. High physical and mental functioning;

2. Low risk of disease and disability;

3. An active engagement in life!

 

Success in aging®, as I define it, has three categories:

1. Proaction: Actively engaging with your aging process, choosing how you want to age.

2. Parameters: Realities of your health and your budget, and your choices within them.

3. Preferences: Your personal tastes and lifestyles, looking toward a joyful older age

 

I am a great believer in "getting off the couch" early when it comes to positive aging. The sooner we start to prepare and plan for our own old age, the better. Whatever your age, today is a great day to begin working toward your own success in aging. And you can!

 

Di Patterson, MSG, CPG, is a Gerontologist and the Founder of Success in Aging TV®, www.successinaging.tv, where the mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people of all ages to act now for their own success in aging! She won the 2008 Gold TV Media Award for Policy Makers Speak and 2009 and 2010 Mature Media Awards for New Website Products and Technologies. Di blogs at www.agewise.tv www.bullypulpit.com, is a featured speaker at www.speaktank.com, and a contributing expert as Gerontologist at www.seniorfamilynetwork.com and www.smartwomenscafe.com.

 

As co-founder and president of a Gerontologists' networking non-profit: The Let's Group®: Consulting and Consortium of Professional Gerontologists, www.theletsgroup.org, which is a provider of continuing education for NAPG www.napgerontologists.org. I believe that "Every company in America needs a Gerontologist on-staff or on-retainer!"

 

As an Aging Marketplace Consultant, Di Patterson offers her clients sound business strategies for the senior market; based on timing, trends, and demand for their products and services.

 

To make an appointment with Di Patterson, email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

©Di Patterson, MSG CPG "If good real estate is all about location-location-location, then success in aging is all about attitude-attitude-attitude!"

Promoting Yourself

1. Be professional and look professional.

2. Decide to make a difference.

3. Invest in yourself - take speech class or join Toastmasters.

4. Have a mentor.

5. Step out of the box – be creative.

6. Have a practiced 30 second elevator speech.

7. Pass out an impressive business card.

8. Talk to everyone you know and even those you don’t know, about what you do: be a walking brochure for yourself and the field of Aging.

9. Give advice away - have a “tip” sheet.

10. Be quotable and be quoted - be a television or radio guest, be an invited speaker.

11. Join associations and organizations.

12. Attend conferences.

13. Network!

14. Present at conferences.

15. Volunteer for a conference exhibit booth.

16. Be an organization representative or get on a Board or Task Force.

17. Teach a class – hold your own seminars at the community college, adult education, library evening talk series, senior center, etc.

18. Contribute articles to both peer reviewed journals and main stream media.

19. Write a book - write chapter for a book - be a contributing author for someone else’s book.

20. Write letters to the Editor when you come across Aging articles.

21. Be involved in your community.

22. Have website - link the website - do a YouTube or web-video - take photos of yourself in action.

23. Be responsive – always follow up - always send thank you notes.

24. Be passionate – be persistent.

25. Just do it!

 

© 2011 Diane Alexander Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then ‘success in aging’ is about attitude, attitude, attitude!” www.SeasonofLife.net

 

Boomer Gals: The Time Is Now To Combat Ageism

 

If you are a Boomer woman (born between 1946 and 1964), you are aged 46-65. And now, right now, Ladies, is the time for you to wake up to the realities of ageism if you haven't already. Ageism—that nasty prejudice aimed at the elderly—is what awaits you if you do not start working now to thwart it in your life and the attitudes of those in your sphere of influence.

That's right, ageism directed at you by younger people who want your job or dislike you for a personal reason, or peers who deem you "less-than"; less-than their idea of positive aging, less-than what their need requires of you, and more demanding of you-name-it: your weight, your bank account, your spouse (or lack thereof), your politics or faith. Then there is self-ageism we practice when we don't like what we see in the mirror and punish ourselves in some way. Love, in a word, is the answer. Here are a few love-in-practice anti-ageism techniques we can all get into.

Have mercy on elderly you see who struggle with things you don't...and even more, if you do. Watch how often others treat seniors who are overweight, under-funded, or are hoarders; those who are trapped in handicaps of chance or of their own making. Those, whose children are oblivious; or worse, are negligent. Your mercy will be returned to you, as mercy and kindness are twins. Then, be kind enough to yourself to start the changes you’ll need to avoid the merciless rebukes of old age.

Pay attention to wonderful women who were widows too young (that comes at any age!), persevering with heavy hearts, and to the old men who were unprepared emotionally and practically to lose their wives in death that was supposed to happen to husbands first. They struggle to live alone, so pay them some kind attention and you will teach your own children that you will need some attention, too.

Make a plan and stick to it. The concept of "choice" after the age of 60 is really about two things: your health and your wealth, and how much of each you have to face your "golden years". The next two decades can either be a joyful challenge or a dreary one. Chances are you will live out at least these twenty years. For your health, make a plan and stick to it about exercise, consuming fewer calories, and caring for your skin and teeth and eyes every single day! For your wealth, do a personal SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Take some classes to open you to a field that will challenge your mind, open some opportunities for funding and allow you to socialize in positive ways.

Renew old friendships and cultivate new relationships. The emergence of social media for Boomers to aid in both these goals has been quite a phenomenon in the last few years! In lifespan development terms, the decade of a woman’s 50’s is her best decade: she has finished, for the most part, in the physical raising of her children, she has learned to manage her home like a business, she has earned respect in her career and workplace, and she has maintained and developed a lifetime of networking relationships. A woman in her fifties attains a life-satisfaction ratio that is very high compared to earlier decades of her life. The phrase “all pistons are firing” is apropos! Many women in their fifties “reboot” or “re-career” to find satisfaction and success in whatever they choose to do. The book, Vibrant Nation: What Boomer Women 55+ Know, Think, Do & Buy says it well: “Women in their 50s, 60s and beyond are breaking through the stereotypes of what it means to be an older woman. Where women could expect to become increasingly marginalized from mainstream society as they aged, they are now gathering strength and influence. This female age wave is already stirring up far-reaching impact on the workplace, the marketplace, the family, and the world at large. We’re getting to see firsthand what it looked like when the first generation of women who earned and managed their own money gets to rethink what work, retirement, and success can look like after 50.” (2010,xii)

 

Teach your children by example to nurture family relationships. Nurturing respect in family relationships in every phase of life is one of the best insurance policies we can have for a better aging. You would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) at how many families become separated in their affections and philosophies once a parent or both parents pass away. My husband is a Probate, Conservatorship and Trust attorney who sees this all the time. The family structure suffers a severe blow in the loss of a parent. Even the strongest families can flounder; how can people really prepare for a loss they have never experienced? If we can find the grace to rise to our best selves, to keep reaching out to other family members, and to strengthen the good that is in our families, there is hope for better times ahead. These worthy goals are challenged by personal grief and sibling rivalries, which often creep in unaware. Don't let this happen to your family!

 

A song by Crosby Stills and Nash from the 1970’s, Teach Your Children, says “You who are on the road/ Must have a code that you can live by/ And so become yourself/ Because the past is just a good bye/Teach your children well/Their father's hell did slowly go by/ And feed them on your dreams/The one they picks, the one you'll know by.” I think the message of this beautiful song—which tried to bridge the generation gap—was to encourage us to always realize our kids are watching and learning how to do life, and we always will have influence, be it positive or negative, in family relationships…and to choose good!

Ageism, in a word, sucks. Ageism, like every other prejudice, demeans its victims, separates us from the good in each other and spawns negativity in the hearts of humans. Facing ageism, like Alzheimer's disease, is a cruel way to grow old. Ageism, because of human nature and the rapid upswing of aging Boomers, will only increase.

 

Now is the time to take action. No matter your age, starting today puts you ahead of the game. You really do want to avoid ageism’s grip: whether you are younger and tempted to practice it or when you yourself are old and suffer under its cruelty. For more information on ageism, go to http://ageismhurts.com

 

©2011 Di Patterson, MSG CPG “If good real estate is all about location, location, location, then success in aging is all about attitude, attitude, attitude!”

 

Boomer Buying: I bought a dishwasher online last night...

Yes, the age of online shopping is here to stay. When a Boomer buys a major appliance online, it’s a big deal. We were raised by the Builder Generation: the people who wanted to see it, touch it, smell the new paint, and test it…because they basically didn’t trust it.

 

Our parents were classically loyal to brand names; we Boomers revel in choice and take a chance on new products. Dad bought only Fords. At age 84, his last car was a Crown Victoria. Mom raised us on Del Monte canned vegetables because her Mother raised her on them. It wasn’t because variety wasn’t available; it was brand trust and brand loyalty.

 

This is not news to Boomer marketers. The research is stunningly accurate on what Boomers want because of who we are: spontaneous, confident risk-takers, willing to work hard for things, ideas and values we cherish and admire. Even in our youth, the amount of money Boomers controlled enabled us to open new markets (designer jeans), inflate existing markets (bottled water), and deflate others (non-disposable diapers).

 

Boomers are a huge audience in an ever-growing online marketplace.

 

On April 29th, I will again be a media participant for the Boomer Business Summit: What’s Next 2011: a one-day gathering of premiere Aging businesses which meets at the annual joint conference of the American Society on Aging and the National Council on Aging (ASA/NCOA). This year in San Francisco, What’s Next promises to be loaded with online entrepreneurs and sessions highlighting what to sell and how to market to Boomers.

 

This conference is self-described as “an annual event that brings together the country’s top businesses and organizations that are thought leaders in the baby boomer marketplace. It is where deals get done. No other conference brings together a dedicated group of professionals focused on the boomer and senior populations. Together this group of thought leaders from the non-profit sector, senior advocacy organizations, and Fortune 100 companies to entrepreneurial start-ups will share their knowledge and passion for this important customer demographic.”

 

I like the “thought leaders” concept, and have to admit that’s exactly why I return year-after-year. As promised, What’s Next Boomer Business Summit draws companies that showcase products and services that are good for seniors and their Boomer kids. My own brand, Success In Aging®, is all about thinking ahead, and I support those companies that encourage aging people to make a plan and work the plan for their own success in aging.

 

Okay, I admit it: I bought the machine from Sears, a GenBuilder hang-out. Kenmore, their own brand, has proven reliable over the years, and I have owned many a Kenmore. But this time, I knew I wanted a Whirlpool Gold: quiet, energy efficient and parts are readily available. I knew search-engine marketing would not let me down either.

 

So this Boomer-ette was confident in her quest. Within the span of the DVR-ed movie Husband had settled on for the evening, I had chosen, ordered, scheduled and paid for the machine that will soon grace our kitchen and relieve us of our sadly quiet, kaput Kenmore.

 

Fortunately, I also had the good sense to call Sears when their website kept spitting at me when I tried to modify one simple (I thought) area of the order. Moral of the story: shop to your heart’s content, but before you enter credit card info on that big ticket item, call a human on the other end of that screen, just in case.

 

I might be a spontaneous, confident risk-taker, but I really don’t want to hand-wash that many more dinner dishes. I want to see that new dishwasher…and touch it, smell the new paint, and test it…because I basically want to trust that I made the right online choice.

 

 

© 2011 Diane Alexander Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then ‘success in aging’ is about attitude, attitude, attitude!” www.SeasonofLife.net

Absolutely...Not!

As we head into the New Year, I am concerned with the over-use of the word absolutely these days. It just seems to be everywhere. Radio and television talk-show hosts throw it around as if it proves their point. Media guests respond with firm “Absolutely!” when their host confirms that he or she shares his or her opinion. But we are tossing around a concept that is far too important for the giddy way it has been used, since absolute has positive and negative characteristics.

 

Absolute is both a scientific and social term, both proven by research, both requiring validity, and both somewhat removed from the emotional exclamation “Absolutely!” some are fond of. Mathematically, absolute means “complete, measurable, real and quantitative” (1). Socially, absolute is “an important goal: as close to complete, perfect, consummate, and faultless as humanly possible” (2).

 

Here is a short and fast list of science’s absolutes:

Absolute value (Mathematics) describes the distance of a number on the number line from 0 without considering which direction from zero the number lies. The absolute value of a number is never negative (3).

Absolute zero (Chemistry) is the point where no more heat can be removed from a system, according to the absolute or thermodynamic temperature scale (4).

Absolute location (Geography) is the definitive location of a place using a recognized coordinate system (5).

Absolute equation (Astronomy) is the sum of the optic and eccentric equations (6).

Absolute temperature (Physics), the temperature as measured on a scale determined by certain general thermo-dynamic principles, and reckoned from the absolute zero (7).

Absolute space (Physics) is space considered without relation to material limits or objects (8).

Absolute terms (Algebra) are known terms which do not contain an unknown quantity (9).

Absolute alcohol (Chemistry) means pure and unmixed (10) (not to be confused with Absolut, which does a pretty good vodka business).

 

Here are definitions of the social quantifying of absolute:

Absolute perfection is opposed to relativity (11).

Absolute beauty is without comparison (12).

Absolute truth is unconditioned and non-relative. It is the opposite of relative truth, which is perceived through comparison (13).

Absolute promise or command has no modifying influences and is without comparison (14).

Absolute authority, monarchy, sovereignty or power (or absolute monarch) is described as authority free from any limitation or condition, and it is uncontrolled, unrestricted, and unconditional (15) (sounds rather Dark Ages, doesn’t it?).

Absolute’s social synonyms sound wholesome enough: “positive, certain, unconditional and authoritative” (16). But absolute also means “unlimited, unrestricted, unqualified, arbitrary, despotic, peremptory, and autocratic” (17). Socially, then, absolutes are more about importance, the term for measurements relative to human trends.

 

Having two degrees in Science, I think in terms of input and outcomes that are measurable, and therefore, provable. In social science, we prove absolutes, or importance, by significance. Significance is another mathematical term, using statistics for its validity (18). Because human nature is not scientific and our collective opinion can fluctuate due to changes of circumstance or by whim, social statistics build-in a percentage of error for a safety net. Enter the bell curve.

 

I love the bell curve. When a population is located within the bell curve, that number is statistically significant: a large, positive number with a negative out-lier population in quantity so small it is considered to be utterly unimportant (19). It is wise to consider that outliers can cause great social disturbance if given too much credibility.

 

The bell curve reminds us to pay attention to significance. There is no absolute, or perfection, in the bell curve. It is a collection of a majority; of significance. Significance is not absolute; significance is more a human concept. In this age of technology, we can lose the beauty of the human element by expecting absolutes. Losing our humanity would be the great tragedy of this era of time, and doom us to a life found in a bad sci-fi film. So behind my objection to responding “Absolutely!” to a question regarding an opinion is the dilution of meaning of something as strong as absolute. Are we “absolutely sure” or “absolutely certain”, or is it just a “best-guess”? “Absolutely!” is a crystallized answer implying that something is clear, certain—and without doubt—true.

 

What’s true in older age is really true in younger age; people just don’t tend to see aging truths until they approach somewhat older age themselves. “Older age” is also relative to the person doing the aging. More and more, younger people are paying attention to the principles of success in aging. When we realize the significance (mathematically speaking) of taking positive steps now to have a good older age later, we can put our New Year’s resolutions into real action. What we do in 2011 and beyond will build better tomorrows for our children and certainly for ourselves. We will teach by example (and, hopefully, have some good face-to-face conversations, too) when we make wise physical, financial, and personal decisions for our own older age.

 

My hope is that the professionals we turn to for truth and fair assessment will use the term absolutely less frequently and with more objective scrutiny. We sell ourselves too many products and services to assume perfection. This is a call to prove what is worthy of our time, talent and resources so that they don’t slip away unnoticed… Absolutely not!

I do, however, want to wish YOU an absolutely wonderful New Year!

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

2. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

3. www.eduplace.com/math

4. www.chemistry.about.com

5. www.worldatlas.com

6. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Absolute+equation

7. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

8. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

9. http://chemistry.about.com/od/dictionariesglossaries/g/bldefabzezo.htm

10. http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/Absolute_value

11. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

12. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

13. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

14. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolute

15. http://ask.reference.com/related/Absolute+Monarchy?qsrc=2892&l=dir&o=10601

16. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

17. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

18. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/significance

19. http://www.willamette.edu/~mjaneba/help/normalcurve.html

 

© 2010 Diane Alexander Patterson, MSG, CPG “If good real estate is about location, location, location, then ‘success in aging’ is about attitude, attitude, attitude!” www.SeasonofLife.net

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