Circle the wagons pioneers, elder orphans are coming!
Is this now a thing? Baby boomers who are childless and unmarried are going to become “elder orphans” who have no one to care for them in old age. The fact that we’re living longer and have fragmented families puts us at risk of being all alone in our not so golden years…orphaned.
The case of the 81-year-old cancer patient who called 911 because he needed someone to buy him food has put a lot of folks on notice that this elder orphan thing is real. As more boomers fall into this demographic, it’s not just a matter of struggling with isolation and depression. It’s going to put a strain on the health care system. Who will make decisions for these orphans when no family member or caregiver is available? When health issues turn into crises, the elder orphans end up in the emergency room, which we all know is not the ideal way to receive healthcare. Ideally, these elder orphans would have some sort of healthcare plan that would prevent the health crisis in the first place.
According to the latest census, one-third of Americans currently between the ages of 45 to 63 are single. That represents a 50 per cent increase from 1980. Lots of them may have children who will look out for their care, but a large number of them may have no clue to their vulnerability (or just don’t want to think about it).
So what should you do to prevent becoming an elder orphan? Number one, get yourself an advanced directive so it’s clear how you want to be treated. Number two, find and designate an advocate who will make decisions if you are unable to. Number three, and the not so easiest part, create a strategy. A distant relative, a younger friend, or someone you trust needs to know what your plan is.
And one more thing. Start living for today because tomorrow may not be nearly as much fun.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.
Bubble Wrap 1957-2015
It is with great sadness that I report the death of the global entertainer, Bubble Wrap. “His regularly spaced, air-filled hemispheres made of polymer plastic will no longer offer their signature Popping sound,” said family friend Popeye.
Bubble Wrap was conceived in 1957 by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, former partners at The Sealed Air Corporation. Fielding and Chavannes hoped their invention would become a three-dimensional plastic wallpaper.
The inventors soon discovered no one really wanted a three-dimensional plastic wallpaper.
After Bubble Wrap failed miserably at his first job, he would have just popped into obscurity had he not found suitable work as a superior packing material.
While keeping his day job as packing material, Bubble Wrap soon rose to national prominence as an entertainer, thrilling millions with his distinctive “Pop. Pop. Popping sound.” People all over America, indeed the world, couldn’t wait to get a package delivered to their home or office just to hear Bubble Wrap deliver his classic “Pop.”
Bubble Wrap’s death came at the hands of a new product introduced by The Sealed Air Corporation. It is called iBubble Wrap. Instead of having individual chambers of air (hence the popping), the new product uses one interconnected pocket of air. Hence, no popping!
Funeral services for Bubble Wrap were led by Pop Francis and it was attended by many friends and relatives, including Saran Wrap, Panera Wrap, Hip Hop Rap, and his Mexican cousin, Taco Bell’s Chipotle Wrap.
Mourners included Snap Crackle and Pop, Pop Sickle, Soda Pop, Pop Corn, Pop Gunn and Pop Warner. “No one will ever duplicate his unique sound,” said one famous mourner. “It seems like yesterday he was here and now, POP!, he’s gone,” said Pop Gosa Weasel.
Even competitors at the funeral like Packing Peanuts and Tissue Paper shed a tear at the loss of their longtime friend, Bubble Wrap.
In a fitting tribute to Bubble Wrap, a distraught fan hurriedly wrote FRAGILE on the side of Bubble Wrap’s cardboard coffin.
Jack Goldenberg is a prolific Copywriter, innovative Creative Director and consummate, strategic marketer. Read his blog at 10 minutes of brilliance. With all he’s done, he still believes his best efforts are ahead of him.
My Way Cool Tribe
70 is much closer than 60, I am constantly amazed by my own life. I just spent a few minutes chatting with a colleague in Ireland. She is an editor I have worked with for a few years and is amazingly gifted and talented. She is also authentic to her core. I’ve never seen one ounce of bullshit inside this woman. I had a moment where I suddenly realized how lucky I was to have her for a friend and then it struck me. My life as an expat has accidentally assisted me in making some WAY COOL friends all across the globe! I know a number of other people who are also intelligent, talented and authentic and each of them has moved away from the U.S. or Canada to live a life in another country. In fact, many of my friends, these days, have lived in several countries and have travelled across the globe.
Living the life of an expat and writing for International Living and its affiliates have allowed me to meet some of the most wonderful and adventurous people in the world; not only expats but those friends I now claim who were born and raised in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica or Ireland. After nearly 7 decades, I have FINALLY found my tribe and a wonderful tribe it is!
These guys have pushed through their fears to explore other cultures and live their lives across the globe. They (at least those I claim as friends) are intelligent, broad minded, inclusive and curious. The vast majority is, to some extent, bi-lingual and many share a common world view.
The fact is that living in one place, especially the very privileged United States, cannot provide much perspective and offers little in the way of cultural education or acceptance. One’s world view is greatly influenced when you subject yourself to a significant cultural change. To use a common analogy, you can’t see much looking through a soda straw!
I hope you are living the life you want to live. Only a few years ago, I made the decision to live the life that I want to live without compromise. Once I retired and moved to Ecuador, that was the catalyst. The doors to my past were closed and new doors were waiting to be opened. My tribe is really cool and they get around. I’m damned glad that I finally found them! Oh, we have room for more members! Believe me, it’s a way cool tribe!
Donald (Don) Murray is a retired guy living in Cancun with his Pocket Babe, Diane. You can follow him on his blog, www.donaldmurrayexpat.com. He has written a top-selling Kindle book, Our Ecuador Retirment...Part Two is available for download from Amazon. He now spends his time doing whatever the hell he wants!
I'm Still Here
Every now and again a memory will come to me of some stupid, careless, or thoughtless thing I did when I was a teenager in the Sixties, and I’ll immediately feel regret, not for the thing itself, but for what my actions did to my parents. Now that I’m older than they were then, I empathize completely with them. It has become my practice to apologize for these things at the very moment I feel any regret. I do this out loud, as if they are sitting in the room with me. And who’s to say they’re not? Maybe they’re bringing these memories to my mind, seemingly out of nowhere, as if to say, “Now that we’re pure energy, it’s our job as your parents to give you an opportunity to clear your karma.”
Well, maybe not. Maybe I’m just at the right age, and have experienced enough worry as a parent of kids who are now adults, to appreciate my past foolishness, and self-accountable enough to ‘fess up when I know I’ve fucked up. But then again, maybe, sometimes, I simply miss my parents and wish I’d talked over these things with them while they were still here.
All things considered, I was a pretty good kid, which wasn’t always easy in that era of flower power and free love. “Turn on, tune in, dropout” wasn’t a cute slogan, it was a powerful call to a higher consciousness, another way of BEING. I lived in California where everything was happening. To the south, Hollywood offered hip night clubs on the Sunset Strip and the freak show of Venice Beach, and to the north, San Francisco offered Haight-Ashbury. Living on the central coast, I oftentimes felt like a rope in a game of cultural tug-of-war.
I suppose that when I turned 18 and I went to Haight-Ashbury rather than to Hollywood, it was because most of the concerts I’d attended featured San Francisco bands. Also, for me, Hollywood still represented old school movie stars, not modern music. We had no idea that Laurel Canyon would turn out to be every bit as important musically as San Francisco. History is retrospective, after all. Had I known, in 1968 after we’d moved to Camarillo, that Laurel Canyon was where artists like Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Browne (to name only a few) were incubating, I would have turned left on the 101 instead of right.
If I have any one regret about that adventurous, exciting era, it’s going to Haight-Ashbury. My clandestine departure from my parents’ house one October afternoon set things into motion that still reverberate not only in my own life, but in the lives of my family as well. I have apologized to my parents many times for it, but at the same time, I give myself a bit of room. It was the Sixties, after all, and I’m still here.
Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge, takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.
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Steve Jordan is a school teacher from Fresno, CA and has been capturing the Calfornia wilderness
with his camera. You can see more of his photos on flickr.