Category Archives: Senior Citizens



Insufficient  consideration is given to people with handicaps. Car manufacturers advertise cars with large baggage compartments for wheelchairs, yet, very often folded wheelchairs do not fit in.

Airplane toilets are  notoriously tiny and uncomfortable; not only for a handicapped person, as they are very cramped. Every toilet should have a bar for the occupants to hold onto and the toilet paper rolls should be hung in a user-friendly spot.

Hotel showers need to be equipped with plastic chairs or wheelchairs that have been treated to withstand water, so that a handicapped person can sit while taking a shower.

Beaches also need to invest in specially designed wheelchairs that can run on rails into the ocean, enabling handicapped persons to get into the water for the first time in their lives. I witnessed the expression on a man’s face while he used one of them in Eilat, Israel. His expression was one of pure ecstasy.

There are supermarkets  that provide devices that magnify price tags for visually impaired people. Some doctor’s waiting rooms have chairs without backs or armrests that are not possible for a handicapped person to feel safe on and offices put official forms onto tables that are too high to allow easy access to the handicapped person.

I am friendly with a couple  who used the  concept or universal design when building their home with the needs of one of the occupant’s in mind at all times. Their kitchen was cleverly designed to cater to her needs, The doors aresufficiently wide to allow wheelchair access or ambulance stretcher access. Their shower is large and the toilet higher than the standard ones. Toilet paper rolls were hung in a sensible place. Even the flower beds in the garden have been raised and the outdoor space resembles ‘The Secret Garden’ by France’s Hodgson Burnett.

All the floors are covered with non-slip tiles. Light switches are at a comfortable height too. A great deal of thought was put into the construction of this house and they did a wonderful job. She was responsible for the charming decor.

SERENADE2SENIORS – Sharpening our memories


Sharpening our memories


As you might know, I am a blogging grandma and like most of the other seniors around me, I tend to forget things as well as lose or mislay at least one item a day, which usually turns up in the most surprising of places. The following anonymous words that I found at the bottom of an article I’d read, got me thinking:

Forgetting where you parked your car, can happen to anyone. But, forgetting what your car looks like, may be cause for concern!

So, I started collecting tips for sharpening my memory and this is what I came up with:-

I try to recall the location of as many objects in my house as I possibly can as well as where they are located.

I endeavor to learn something new every day if possible but concentrate while doing so.

I make a point of trying to remember people’s names after the first introduction and avoid distractions while thinking about them.

I make an effort NOT TO MULTI-TASK which is something women do far more than men but I have to admit that here, I fail dismally as I am always in a hurry. Why? I suppose because I always plan to do so much.

I packed away my calculator and removed the calculator on my smartphone in order to use my head. I knew that I was capable of doing so but using new mod cons seemed easier.

I saw so many people doing SUDOKU but I never got very far with them. So, I chose to do CROSSWORD PUZZLES instead.

I make sure that I have sufficient sleep. For someone who is unable to do so, napping during the day might be helpful.

I eat healthy food as far as  possible but, of course I binge occasionally. On what? On white chocolate of course.

I endeavor to take a short walk at least every second day too.

Some of these points might be well-worth trying.



What my mother taught me



My mother taught me some valuable lessons that I’ll never forget. Before I got married, she said; “Don’t ever let the sun go down on your wrath.” I often think of her words and how smart they were. I remember passing these words of wisdom on at one of the support groups for parents of  mentally ill children that I attended.

She gave me the following advice too; “Don’t ache to be someone’s whole life. Rather, aim to be the favorite part of it. Live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, speak without offending.”

On this note, have as good a day as you possibly can.

words, words, words … WORDS MATTER

scrabble images 1Speak kindly to a person in trouble. Every word matters. Hurtful words damage. Beware of telling someone what they want to hear.  Make eye contact with all people you meet and watch out for body language too. Accentuating a gesture adds truth to what you are saying. Making physical contact is so very important when talking to someone who is ill and/or very upset. When talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital when trying in vain to help my son, I so wished that someone, even a social worker, would put her hand on my arm – which would have been so comforting.

It helped when someone smiled at me to let their faces show what they were thinking. I found the tones of their voices of the utmost importance too. There are people who are extremely sensitive to raised voices but that could be due to their cultural backgrounds. It is not sufficient to look at someone in trouble and give them the feeling that you are listening. REALLY  listening and absorbing is what counts. And, last but not least – what we say is important, but of even more importance, is how we say it.

scrabble tiles 2




exotic_garden_photo_3Can I live by choice and not by chance?

Can I make changes and not excuses?

Can I be motivated and not manipulated?

Can I be useful and not used?

Can I excel and not compete?

Can I choose to listen to my inner voice?

Can I ignore the random opinions of others?

Can I be motivated by those I respect only?

Christmas is here again …

christmas treeChristmas is here again. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but, I haven’t forgotten that the holidays can be lonely times. That doesn’t mean that you have to feel alone. Try and remain focused on acknowledging your needs and you’ll be surprised at how  good you can feel.

If your expectations are too high, reduce them. Call friends and ask to be included in their celebrations. Most people love having friends over so this can work. Remember that you are  not alone in feeling alone during Christmas or New Year. So, get together with others and have some fun. Create your own social group. See a movie or plan an outing with a friend. There are many people out there who are searching for a companion, you know. Or, treat yourself to a massage or do whatever you enjoy doing most. If  you can’t be with family or other lvoed ones during this time of the year, call or email them. Reach out to them and they are bound to respond. If the above don’t suit you, volunteer at a soup kitchen because there’s nothing like that place to make you realize how well off you really are. If you can afford it, take a vacation. But, if you are unable to do any of the above, buy some chocolate, get into bed with a good book or find a good movie on your computer and get through the day that way. It’s important to remember that Christmas only lasts for one day.

new year celebrations



Is laughter the best medicine? ……..

                                       laughter 3

The dopamine found in our brains is also known as the reward hormone as it regulates mood, attention, learning and motivation. Dopamine also triggers feelings of pleasure.

Low levels of serotonin in our brains are linked to aggression, anxiety and even depression. So, more serotonim makes us feel good. So does laughter as it is instinctive. Most laughter is not about humor, rather, about relationships between people. We laugh more in social situations than when alone. It’s not something we produce consciously. It’s contagious. A good, healthy laugh can help reduce pain. A good, long, loud laugh brings more oxygen into our lungs. Laughter is a sound with no language, so is effective internationally.

While my son was ill, a laughter therapist who I’d invited to give a talk to our support group told us that laughter keeps our immune systems humming by decreasing stress hormones. He stressed that it boosts infection-fighting anti-bodies by keeping our blood vessels pumping and protects our hearts too. Then my gym instructor told us that laughter triggers a rush of those all-important endorphins that we all love to feel after a good workout. When the well-known journalist, Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a painful spinal condition, he discovered that a regular diet of television comedies and candid camera episodes actually helped lessen his pain. I quote: ‘I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and gave me at least two hours of well-needed, pain-free sleep.’ The members of the support group drew up a list of what we should do to help brighten our days and here are a few suggestions.

  • Smile because it is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it is contagious.
  • List your blessings. The simple act of considering the good things in my life helped distance me from the negative thoughts that acted as barriers to humor, laughter and consequently to feeling good.
  • When I hear someone laugh, I move toward that person. Humor can be a shared joke among a small group of friends, but more often than not, everyone is happy to share something funny. Why? Because it gives them an opportunity to laugh all over again.
  • I love spending time with fun people who laugh and smile easily both at themselves, and at life’s absurdities. These are people who find humor in everyday events. Their playful points of view are often contagious.
  • I try to bring humor into ordinary conversations simply by asking; ‘What is the funniest thing that happened to you today/this week or even this month?’  Try it sometime.

laughter 2




smiley faceWhile my son was in a psychiatric hospital, I wasn’t sure whether I would ever laugh out loud again. I seemed to have lost the ability to even smile. My heart had hardened and it no longer behaved like the heart I had once known. There were times when I wondered whether I would ever return to being the loving person I had once been.

One day a nurse showed a video clip in the ward, hoping that the comedian would be able to transform the ward into a place where everyone would laugh or at least smile. Although that did not occur at once, consumers (patients) began to open up more and the all-pervading fear somewhat dissipated. Humor had disengaged the fear in the air as it changed perspectives both of the past and of the present.

To quote Charlie Chaplin; To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it. Maybe that is why people like the late Robin Williams journeyed through periods of torment. Humor has been used to console ill children for many years, and later, clowns were sent into hospital wards. This was meant for the children’s benefit but I think they must have helped the parents too.

Laughing is relaxing and actually works to alleviate chronic stress. Humor reduces pain. When somebody laughs, it increases their ability to fight viruses and foreign cells. Laughter is contagious and spreads optimism and helps communication which is the best marriage advice for anyone, especially for a person prone to anxiety or depression.


Are you complaining again?


Before you utter an unkind word, think of people who are unable to speak.

Before you complain about the tasteless food, think of the hungry people out there.

Before you complain about your wife or husband, think of a person who is desperate to find a companion.

Before you complain about your life, think of someone who died too young.

Before you complain about your children, think of all the childless couples unable to conceive.

When you next complain about your job think of all the unemployed, the disabled, and the hordes of people who wish they had your job.

When depressing thoughts get you down, stick a smile on your face and be happy that you are alive.