Year: 2012

Happy Holidays from Aging Abundantly

Happy Holidays from Aging Abundantly

Christmas Secret by Donald Zolan
Christmas Secret by Donald Zolan

Dear Friends,

The real meaning of this holiday season, at least for me, can be found in the joy and laughter of young children.  In their faces we can see the purity of hope, untarnished by life’s eventualities. Their excitement is contagious and their belief that anything is possible is palpable.

We have all received a painful reminder of what the world can do to innocence. Last week’s tragic events has evoked a guttural cry from deep within the hearts and souls of men and women everywhere.  The untarnished images of those angels lost tugs not only on our emotions but on our conscience.

Children speak every day, everywhere. They have a message for us. Are we listening? Do we hear their voices? Understand what they have to teach us? Or have we fallen deaf, not only to their voices, but to the voice of the child that lives within each of us.

This holiday season, let’s take a moment to listen to the children, to still the voice of the culture, the “adult”  dictates and beliefs that would deem themselves of greater importance. Let’s turn down the volume on external directives and listen to the sound of innocence. It is the real gift of the season.

Wishing you and yours a warm and joy filled holiday season.

Dorothy Sander
Aging Abundantly


“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~ Frederich Nietzsche

Fifty, not Frumpy

Fifty, not Frumpy

(A Note from Dorothy: Every once in a while during my online travels and ongoing conversations with women over fifty, I run across an exciting new voice. This was my experience when I stumbled upon Susan Street’s page on Facebook, FiftyNotFrumpy. She provides a breath of fresh air for women who are tired of trying to find their way around the fashion world and what it seems to offer the older woman.  If you want to be able to reach into our closet and pull out something you like and feel comfortable wearing, visit her website and fan her Facebook page. Let her help you begin the process of midlife fashion self-discovery. She is a valuable guide and provides a relaxed, comfortable and open minded venue for dialogue, examining options, and considering guidelines that may work for you. I did!)



by Susan Street

As I emerged from a more than ten year total immersion into starting and building my company, I realized that my sense of style had all but vanished… not to mention I Fashion for the woman over fiftyhad gained more than forty pounds. After I lost the weight I was forced to start shopping for a new wardrobe but I quickly realized I had no idea what was appropriate for me at fifty-five. The amazing thing was that I had worked in the fashion industry for most of my adult life but I was no longer comfortable with anything I saw in stores or in fashion magazines. When I tried clothes on, I often laughed out loud but many times I became so frustrated, I left very depressed and of course without buying anything.

You may think that shopping for a whole new wardrobe would be fun, but I can tell you it is expensive, frustrating and traumatic. As the President of a successful company which contributes to the community, I interact with other professionals and city leaders often. I have a large circle of friends and I attend many fund raisers, Symphonies, and dinner parties. I get dressed to go to my office at my warehouse every day. I don’t have an unlimited budget so I wanted to invest in pieces that would work well in many of these situations. Projecting confidence, easy elegance and sophistication is a tall order for a woman who spent the last ten years in jeans alone in her home office.

I began studying the women whose style I respect. I developed a formula for shopping and dressing which allowed me to get the most for my wardrobe investment. This formula included an honest evaluation of my new postmenopausal body and the styles that are flattering and comfortable for me to wear now. My look often includes a jacket or cardigan left mostly open with an interesting scarf or necklace to draw the eye upward and away from my thick waistline. I wear slim pants or a straight fitted skirt with heels in a nude color to make my short thick calves look longer.  If I wear a dress it has wrap effect at the waist and a flattering neckline. After doing quite a bit of research, shopping and self evaluation, I can now get dressed quickly for any event. I feel confident and happy going out to dinner with friends and can fully enjoy being there.

At some point in this journey of rediscovery I thought about all the other women in my age group who have given their all to their children, aging parents or like me, to building a business. You may finally be ready to start living your life and doing the things you enjoy but then you realize you don’t know what to wear anymore. I thought perhaps sharing my journey might help others gain confidence so I started a Facebook page and named it “Fifty, not Frumpy”. I was quickly overwhelmed with the popularity of the page and with the emotional emails I received from my readers. Both men and women wrote to say how much they looked forward to my tips, the outfits I create on and pictures of my own outfits. I added a web site and linked it to a blog with the same name in 2012. (

My perspective is to share what I have learned about current fashion as it applies to women over fifty and to be receptive to the comments of my readers. It isn’t only the best outfits I share with them. I still make some goofs but I post those pictures as well so that we can discuss why it isn’t such a good look for me. I respect my readers immensely. They are honest with me and mostly positive. When my readers disagree with me it becomes a learning experience for all of us. We discuss everything from the pros and cons of trends to foundation garments to lip stick and shoe heel heights. Many of my outfits and blog posts are a result of letters from my readers. I love hearing that a reader used some of the tips we’ve discussed to choose an outfit for a special occasion which made them feel confident and happy.



Susan Street is the editor of and the President of the Vintage Jewelry Supplies Company, Inc. (

Visit her website and follow her on Facebook for great fashion tips.

Caregivers Benefit from Internet Tools

Caregivers Benefit from Internet Tools

In honor of National Family Caregiver Month: The month is coming to an end, but the job of the caregiver does not. Take a moment to thank a caregiver whenever you have the opportunity and if you are a caregiver, don’t hesitate to reach out to a support network online or off. You don’t have to go it alone.

Sona Mehring, CEO of CaringBridge saw a need and set out to fill it using her knowledge of the internet and social networking.  In 1997, Sona was called upon by a friend in need for support during a health crisis. She was asked to contact her friend’s family and friends to let them know what was going on and to keep them up to speed.

Realizing the amount of time and emotional energy that would be required to fulfill her friends request, Sona  created a website that did everything for her via email.  Her website worked so well and was so efficient that it led to another birth: CaringBridge, a non-profit website that provides the tools needed to do what she did, create a web-based support network during a health crisis.

Sona understood the value of time and efficiency when she faced her own caregiving crisis. Like most she realized her energy was better spent with her friend or keeping up with the demands of her own already busy life than by spending hours on the phone and trying to contact and coordinate support in person.

Keeping everyone in the loop during a health crisis can take endless hours of telephone tag and comparing schedules.  The CaringBridge SupportPlaner enables friends and family members to post health updates, leave supportive messages, organize tasks such as taking care of pets, bringing a meal, running errands and even hospital visits at the individuals convenience. It gives the helper the time to look at what is already being done by others, to see what needs are waiting to be filled and to determine how best he/she can fill them.

In the last decade,  social network tools and websites have had an enormous impact on the world of the caregiver. We no longer need to be alone in our own world of overwhelm and stress. Help and support is just a click away.

When used properly these tools “amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier”. This is CaringBridge’s mission statement and the testimonies supplied by many users tell me they are living up to their mission. Here are a few of the stories they have posted on their website.

One of the most difficult aspects of any caregiving situation is the emotional and physical fatigue that often accompanies any health crisis.  Easy access to a support network can make all the difference. I know I plan to use one next time I find myself in such a situation. Thanks Sona Mehring and CaringBridge for all you do!



Improving Home Safety and Ease of Mobility – Aging In Place

Improving Home Safety and Ease of Mobility – Aging In Place

Tips For The Accessible Home

By Patricia Moore 

aging in place
A ramp improves mobility and safety.

Accessibility to a home–both indoors and out — is important to help people of all ages maintain independence while ensuring safety and security.  Simple changes and upgrades to a home can help loved ones stay in their homes and familiar environments longer.

The best indoor flooring options for more secure mobility

  • Flooring can help mobility. Wood and ceramic tile floors are much easier to walk on than thickly padded carpet.
  • Safe flooring features, including low or no thresholds (use a beveled strip for heights of 1/4 inch or more), nonslip and non-glare surfaces such as cork flooring, and low-pile carpets or rugs should be considered.
  • The first floor needs an accessible bedroom, bath, kitchen, living area, and laundry room with 42-inch-wide hallways and a minimum of 32-inch-wide doorways. Swing-clear hinges can be installed to widen openings.

How to “illuminate” the interior of the home to provide maximum-layered lighting with minimal effort

  • Task lighting is important for brightening workspaces. Exterior walkways, porches, halls, and stairs also should be well lighted.
  • Lighting features should include dimmers located 18 to 48 inches from the floor.
  • Lamps, recessed ceiling lights and wall sconces can also direct more light.

Increasing the safety features in bathrooms, one of the leading areas of the home for falls or accidents.

  • Thoughtful changes go a long way toward making bathrooms safer and accessible.
  • Many bath products today are functional and stylish. For example, grab bars now have multiple uses – they may double as a towel rack and provide the security of a grab bar.
  • A zero-threshold shower with a built-in transfer seat aids those with mobility concerns.
  • Add non-slip bathmats to help avoid falls and scald-control faucets to protect against burns.
  • A handheld, adjustable showerhead with a side bar makes the configuration more flexible.
  • An ADA-compliant toilet (chair height) with side transfer space is easily used by those with mobility concerns.
  • Wall-mount sink that works with a chair or wheelchair
  • A vanity with open cabinetry underneath can be used by anyone.
  • Textured floor tile with a 5 PEI rating is more durable and slip resistant.

Innovative, do-it-yourself access ramps that make home access “more accessible”

  • The most important aspect of home accessibility is being able to safely enter and exit your home.
  • The designers at Lowe’s created a truly innovative, do-it-yourself ramp system that is simple AND attractive, which can be tailored to fit the exact needs and style of your family and home – right down to the type of lumber used, the railings and accessories. You can even create your ramp to fit a right-hand turn if you need it. Go to for more info.

Ideas for landscaping and gardening, one of the most enjoyable and therapeutic activities for all ages

  • Once your ramp is in place and accessibility needs are secured, add personality and customization to the space by tackling a few home gardening projects.
  • Landscaping around the ramp will not only make the ramp a stylish accessory to your home’s exterior, but is also an enjoyable hobby for everyone.
  • Know your body’s weak points and focus on getting the best tools to save that body part first.  Gardening tools sold as “ergonomic” are only good if they fit YOU.
  • Tools such as hoes and rakes should have long enough handles so you can stand upright to use them.
  • Tools should be well-balanced and as lightweight as possible.
  • They should be easy to use, have wide handles, and a padded or thick grip.
  • Keep tools sharp and in good shape. Sharp spades and trowels reduce the amount of effort needed to dig.  Use a metal file or whetstone to sharpen the.

More info:


Gerontologist and Designer Patricia Moore


Patricia Moore, world renowned Gerontologist and Designer, is well known and respected for her work traveling throughout the United States disguised as an elderly woman. Pattie’s mission and experiment was to determine how elders were, and are, viewed in society and provide them with solutions to help them manage common obstacles many of us don’t understand. She was named by ID Magazine as one of The 40 Most Socially Conscious Designers in the world.


Create a Support Network in Your Hour of Need

Create a Support Network in Your Hour of Need

Online SupportPlanner from Caring Bridge
Interactive online calendar allows easy scheduling

Are you , or someone you know, facing or dealing with a health crisis? Are you desperate for a little extra help and support but don’t know where to turn?  Now, you don’t have to go it alone.

Ten years ago my husband had a heart attack. We had two high school age children who were knee deep in extracurricular activities, part time jobs, and college searches. My husband and I supported our family with our home based business, that on the best days required 24/7 attention from both of us. There was not time or energy in our days for what we were already doing let alone to deal with the extra demands of a sudden health crisis.  I didn’t know where to turn.

We called on a few family members to help out, who graciously availed themselves to us, but it was not an orderly, easy coordination of efforts and at times seemed more effort than help. Who can think, plan and organize at a time like that? I couldn’t. did not exist at that time, at least in my world. It would have made all the difference. is a non-profit organization that understands the difficulties inherent in coping with a life crisis. Its mission is to “amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier”.  The evidence is clear that it is fulfilling its mission.

The SupportPlanner is CaringBridge’s primary tool to assist people facing a health crisis such as the one my husband and I faced.  It is an online tool that makes coordination of support efforts thorough, easy  and efficient. It provides a centralized, virtual location to organize helpful tasks, such as the delivering of a meal, transportation, taking care of pets, etc. Only people who are invited by the user to view the planner can access the calendar and sign up for a task, ensuring privacy for the parties involved.

Several months ago, my friend Sandy was facing major surgery. She lived alone and was uneasy about the six week recovery period she was facing, when she would be unable to drive. Her sister had heard about and before Sandy even entered the hospital she had signed coordinated a full spectrum of support volunteers using The SupportPlanner and she did it all through email.  She coordinated meals, visits, errands, and drivers and Sandy received the support of a dozen well wishers throughout recovery. The support was a tremendous gift to Sandy and, I believe, resulted in a quicker, less painful recovery.

In honor of National Cargiver’s Month, I encourage you to visit and learn a little about what they have to offer.  You never know when you, or someone you care about might need support.


November is National Caregiver’s Month

November is National Caregiver’s Month

Support for the caregiver has grown by leaps and bounds since I cared for my aging parents ten plus years ago. It was a frustrating and lonely road at that and my siblings and I spent many hours trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. Now, information and advice lies around every corner and its unfolding has been thrilling to watch.

Caregivers, both paid and unpaid, provide an incredibly valuable service to our loved ones and deserve the extra attention they are now receiving. My heart goes out especially to family members who, by choice or circumstance, have taken on the role of caregiver to a loved one and who with little, if any, experience or training are carried through by sheer act of will, love and commitment. They deserve all the support and appreciate we can offer them.

Taking advantage of the support options available online and off can make an enormous difference to the individual caregiver. Without the support now available, these individuals would likely arrive on the other side of the caregiving experience in a battered and wounded state, suffering from burnout, compassion fatigue and perhaps more seriously long term illnesses.  I know I did. We are fortunately much more aware of the pitfalls and fallout of caregiving and while this awareness may not erase the hardship, it certainly can ease it.

If you are a caregiver or know someone who is, I would encourage you to read through the following list of caregiver support services and share them with other caregivers. You don’t have to go it alone. You can benefit from other’s experiences and expertise and make your job a little bit easier.

Throughout November, I will continue to highlight various caregiving organizations that I have come in contact with and will appreciate any feedback you have to offer.