Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Getting Ahead

We’ve all read the medical advice that we need to stimulate and exercise our brains in order to keep them working right. Not doing so could lead to memory loss and a few other things I forget.
     So I’ve been consciously working on crossword puzzles and other word games to keep the old bean in tune. But now, it seems that’s not enough.
     Those medical experts are saying that we constantly need to give our brains new things to work on. Crossword puzzles are fine, but they’re not enough. Some of the tips I’ve read recently include:
     Take up violin if you already play piano.
     Learn to speak another language.
     If you’re a crossword puzzle pro, switch to Sudoku.
     Use your non-dominant hand to write or brush your teeth.
     Play board or computer games that activate strategic, spatial and memory skills.
     Dance. Intricate choreography is good for both body and brain.
    It seems I’m not through, that I need to upgrade my brain workouts. So here’s my plan:
     I don’t like Sudoku, so I’ve been brushing my teeth with my left hand. I’m going to be traveling for a couple of weeks, so I’ll brush up my rudimentary skills in French, Italian and German. And when I get back, I’ve got to start doing what I’ve long said I was going to do: learn to play the piano (or, for starters, at least learn to read music).
     My head’s tired already. How about you? 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Insure Your Future

     No matter your political leanings, Boomers, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding medical insurance reform has been a winner. It has you thinking about medical insurance. You need it. You need it more than any other segment of our population.
     As we get older – and yes, you Baby Boomers are getting older in larger numbers than any other single segment of our population – we need more medical care.  Bodies begin breaking down, despite your best efforts to keep it otherwise. You will find yourself needing to take more pills than at any other time in your life, just to break even. You’ll need more preventive care. You’ll need more medical procedures to repair what doesn’t get prevented.
     All of this costs money. Lots of money. Without medical insurance, the expense would eat up any savings you have in a heartbeat. A heartbeat you need to keep monitored, by the way – and that’s another expense.
     So get that medical insurance (I have Kaiser, and find it works well for me). But get it. It’s a must for your peace of mind and body. The United States does have the best health care in the world, but only for those who can afford it. For most of us, that means medical insurance
     And please, none of that silly bleating that the government mandating that you get health insurance somehow robs you of your patriot freedom. Our citizens have always joined together to jointly face common problems, be it the draft in all-out wartime to Social Security in time of economic turmoil, not to mention the taxes that enable us to jointly support our schools and highways and police and fire departments and all the rest. The fabric of our nation has somehow managed to survive.
     Being told you must get health insurance robs you only of the freedom to be stupid and the freedom to be selfish – stupid to procrastinate about getting something vitally necessary and selfish to expect the rest of us to foot your medical bills if you are uninsured.  
     If you want to worry about freedom, worry that the United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the entire developed world. But worry while you’re medically insured.