Editor’s Note: Here, Helen Dennis wrote her 1000th column on Successful Aging, a feat of persistence, persistence and hard work that we are proud to share with our readers. We are grateful for everything we have learned from her over the past 20 years, we salute this incredible achievement and look forward to more to come.
I find it hard to believe this week’s column is numbered 1000. For the past 20 years, I’ve made a commitment to column every week, which is like giving homework in college, except this time, no one is marking my homework. As soon as I submit a weekly column it looks like another is due.
I am fortunate to have feedback on how and where columns are used. They have been passed on to friends and family, used in community discussion groups, reprinted in newsletters, and placed on LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Some were part of a college reading list, others were posted on professional association websites while others were placed in readers’ folders for later use.
I also get in-person feedback that can come up when buying coffee from Trader Joe’s or bananas from Ralph’s. I remember going for a run when someone in a passing car shouted, “I liked your column this morning.” Feedback also comes when I speak to groups in which many of our readers participate.
I remember a conversation with a woman who approached me after I spoke to a large group and asked me, “Do you remember the column you wrote when your husband passed away?” ? My husband passed away at the same time, she said, and I will never forget what you wrote; It meant a lot to me. “This column was written 14 years ago and she remembered it. In fact, we held hands and cried.
Aging affects us all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or origin. Fortunately, we know a lot about aging. Some of it can be found in journals, research reports, government documents, books and periodicals that often don’t find their way to what I call âus the people on the streetsâ. My Chronicle serves as a platform to transfer and translate some of this knowledge to our 1.2 million readers (digital and print combined), addressing their concerns as well as opportunities. The core of my column is knowledge, factual information with a few professional / personal perspectives added for good measure.
Maybe after 20 years it’s time to share a part of my journey. I entered the field of aging in 1976 after completing a master’s degree in clinical psychology. It was in the early years of the field, when people thought of gerontology as a skin disease related to dermatology. I made my career at USC Davis School of Gerontology teaching and leading projects. After about 20 years, I became self-employed, kept USC as a client, and engaged in a number of age-related activities. I have presented retirement education seminars on non-financial matters to approximately 25,000 middle-aged and older employees across the country, written expert reports on cases of age discrimination , developed employment opportunities for the elderly and took numerous lectures in public. And there were over 100 published articles, several books, book chapters and more. My current volunteer work with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Village, the Encore Network, and the American Society on Aging continues to enrich my knowledge, thinking, and collegial relationships and relationships. I share this information because my professional and volunteer experiences in the field of aging shed light on my chronicles. I consider my involvement in the field, past and present, as a prerequisite for writing RÃ©ussir son aging.
I sometimes think to myself, âSo why do I keep writing a column every week? That’s a lot of delays in the face of a blank screen. The reason is simple: to make a difference, to have the opportunity to improve the lives of our readers and their families when it comes to aging. Additionally, I hope the columns give our readers a sense of realistic hope, the resources to meet the needs, and the occasional smile and chuckle.
You can’t get to the 1000 column without a lot of help. I am grateful to Jean Adelsman, former managing editor of the Daily Breeze who invited me to write the column; to Leo Smith, former editor of the Daily Breeze who was my editor for many years; and to Erik Pedersen, who is my current editor. A final thank you goes to the management of the Southern California News Group who syndicated the column, providing the weekly opportunity to reach those 1.2 million total readers.
So dear readers, thank you for your loyal readership. Stay well, stay strong and together we will navigate 2022 with resilience and successfully age as a community. And as a reminder, do good deeds and be kind to yourself and others.
Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on issues of aging, employment and the new retirement with academic, corporate and not-for-profit background. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at [email protected] Visit Helen on HelenMdennis.com and follow her on facebook.com/SuccessfulagingCommunity