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Author: James Collins

Senior Health Issues During COVID 19

Senior Health Issues During COVID 19

If you are like me, a senior citizen,  you worry more about your senior health issues during COVID 19.  My health is neither better nor worse, but I worry about what to do if I need to see a doctor.

Senior Health Issues During COV19

Waiting Rooms

Crowded offices are not good for those with senior health issues.

My biggest concern is sitting in a waiting room with other sick people even with social distancing in place.  At the beginning of “sheltering”, my wife and I had all our groceries and medications dropped at our front door.  Even then we took precautions to clean every item.  We eased up on that, but still have concerns about waiting rooms at the doctor’s office.  Initially, we cancelled appointments.  Realizing that this COVID 19 is a long term thing, we rescheduled.

senior health issues


Senior health issues have changed the way people pick up their medications.

Seniors are considered vulnerable in terms of COV19.  Those of us with health conditions are considered even more at risk.  We visit pharmacies regularly to for prescriptions.  There always seems to be a line and a long waiting time.  We think about this when we need to get medication.  Young or old, everyone waiting has some kind of medical need.  Most of the time, we go with curbside pickup for medications.

Specialty Appointments

As it turns out, we have needed dental and eye appointments during COV19.  These were unscheduled and unanticipated, but related to our senior health issues.  The main difficulty is that these appointments were at offices we did not know well with staff we do not know.  This simply meant that we were unaware of office procedures.  Calling in advance to ask about COVID protocol helped put our minds at ease.

CBD helps with senior health issues
Ache & Pain Balm

Medical Appointments and Senior Health Issues

Here’s what we do to prepare for medical appointments and trips to the pharmacy.

  • We make sure we are feeling good on the day of an appointment.
  • If we don’t know an office, we call to find out about their COVID 19 protocols.
  • We always have a mask with us and hand sanitizer in the car.
  • We social distance.
  • If an office seems very crowded, we will often reschedule the appointment.
  • We order medications in bulk.
  • We use curb side pickup for medications.
  • We do teleconferenced appointments when possible.
  • We follow office protocols.
  • We wash our hands after each appointment even after using hand sanitizer.

There is no need to panic because of senior health issues and COVID 19.  Taking steps to be safe and healthy just makes sense.



COVID19 Changed Everything For Seniors – Staying Home

COVID19 Changed Everything For Seniors – Staying Home

COVID19 changed everything in March, 2020.  Spring and summer plans changed.   Seniors began to shelter at home.  Many, like my wife and myself, still are at home.

Still in winter storage because of COVID19.

COVID19 Equals No Boating

Our boat did not move from winter storage.  Days on the lake are part of spring and summer fun.  Not this year.  There was no boating, no swimming, no walking on the beach and no beach bonfires.  We decided not to risk our health even with social distancing.  So, we stayed home.

COVID19 Equals No Traveling.

Traveling to see grandchildren was out of the question this summer.  We started our little motor home to keep the engine healthy, but it didn’t move since last taken on a trip in December.  We haven’t wanted to fly because of the closeness of passengers.  We could have driven places, but were reluctant to stay in hotels.  We did take day trips to family who live close by.  Long distance traveling wasn’t an option for us

Fun Things for Seniors to Do While Stuck at Home

Play Games

This summer, we played outdoor games like lawn bowling, lawn darts and corn hole.  We haven’t had time for these Lots of fun sheltering from COVID19.silly games for decades.  With  a lot of laughter, trash talking, beer drinking and suntanning, days flew by despite never leaving home.  Even the dog got into the fun begging everyone to try to chase her and get the toy.

We played indoor games.  A variety of puzzles challenged us in the evening.  Some had 500 pieces.  Some had 300 pieces.  Some were complicated scenes with subtle color changes.  Others had more distinguishable pieces.  For 3 years old and up or seniors sheltering from COVID19.Board games, dice games, card games, question games and picture games all took their turn entertaining during the hours at home.  There were no grandchildren around, but just us old folks laughing until we cried.  There’s no shame in enjoying a game suitable for 3 year olds and up.


We have a variety of fruit trees in our yard including apple, orange, lemon, avocado and fig.  We also have We needed the trees because of COVID19.grapes and artichokes.  In summers past, the gardens were a joy but often at the bottom of our to-do list. This summer we pruned, weeded, shaped, fertilized, water and picked.  There was a real sense of contented fulfillment in maintaining these trees.  Flower gardens in both the front and back yards also needed work.  At the end of gardening days, we were exhausted by happy.

Just Sit

There’s a couch, a little cabaret set with two chairs, a bar with stools, the grass, a picnic bench, a hot tub and a fire pit in the yard.  During normal times, all of these places to sit are mostly used for decoration.  These are not normal times.  We found ourselves sitting at the picnic bench for lunch talking over a sandwich and a coke.  The couch was a place for enjoying the warm breeze in the sun.  We grabbed a COVID19 meant more time in the hotter.vacant bar stool for a cool beer in the evening.  When the moon rose and the stars came out, we found ourselves luxuriating in the hot tub.  Before COVID19, our busy schedules kept all these places to sit vacant.  We talked back then, but not as much.

As Seniors, we are concerned about COVID19.  But, staying home to stay healthy has been great.  We stopped running from here to there. We didn’t meet people for this and that.  We stopped finding entertainment over there doing that. We stay home because we are vulnerable.  It turns out that this time was a gift.  We’ll start doing things away from home again, eventually.  We’ll visit family and friends again.  We’ll even travel again.  But we will always know that our home is a safe sanctuary and how much we enjoy being at home together.


Digital World Devices Drive Me Crazy

Digital World Devices Drive Me Crazy

We are living in a digital world.  On the one hand, we can find out how to do anything quickly. But passwords and system up-grades rule our lives.  For many seniors, this digital world is hard to navigate.

Living in a Digital World

We are living in a digital world. Electronic circuits were miniaturized in the late 1950′ with the invention of the micro chip.  The digital world has been growing since then.   Despite almost 7 decades to adjust, I still have trouble with digital devices.  I have learned how to deal with new digital devices so that, at least, I am not intimidated.  I always do 6 things when using a digital device that I have not used before.

Do the digital changes in the world some times frustrate  you?  Do my 6 steps to dealing with the digital world work for you?


Old school technology was usually pretty complicated.  But, I was used to it so it didn’t intimidate me.  Think about a typewriter.  There was a complicated machine.  After rolling one sheet of paper into the machine, that sheet had to be centered and Typewriters are more complicated than digital world machinessquared using two or three different levers.  Then the paper had to be advanced by hitting a lever to leave a top margin.  A tab key was hit to indent for a paragraph.  Shift keys and shift lock keys were used to set capitals.  Ink for printing was held on cloth roll.  Changing that roll was a complicated, messy process.   Multiple copies called for carbon paper which meant another complicated, messy process.  This Smith-Corona Electra was top of the line.  If a person could use a type writer, a cell phone or keyboard should be easy.

Drink Vending Machines

A coke machine was another complicated machine. After dropping your change into the slot, there were various ways to get your drink. All of them involved pulling a bottle out of a mechanism.  If your pull was not the right strength or speed, you often lost your change.  Selecting the proper number for your drink, in an automatic digital world drink machines have no moving parts.machine was tricky.  A wrong selection number would deliver the wrong drink.  The drinks in these machines hung up about 1/2 the time.  The digital machines are actually easier to use and more reliable.  There is a huge variety of drink combinations to choose from.  If you pick the wrong drink, hitting the “back icon” starts the process over.  There are no moving parts to the digital drink machines of today.  Digital machines are intimidating, but more efficient than manual models.

At the Counter

Remember the good old days when you spoke to a clerk, receptionist  or server at the doctor’s office or a fast food restaurant?  It was easy to ask questions, find a rest  Digital world menus eliminate staffroom or place a very specific order.  Not anymore.  Digital is much more efficient.  Digital devices have allowed many businesses to cut back on staff.  Where a server was needed at each cash register in a fast food restaurant to take orders, that function can now be eliminated.  Where a receptionist  was needed to check to make an appointment, record intake information and maintain the appointment schedule, a touch pad now does all the work.  Most of these digital pad are intuitive, but I still find them intimidating.  There are always major delays if a pad stops functioning because there is not enough staff to pick up the slack.

Dealing with the Digital

  1. Tell yourself that if a 3 year old use digital things, you can, too.  My 3 year old granddaughter often said, “Papa, push this picture.”
  2. Know your information before you start.  Pausing as you use a digital machine can sometimes cause it to time out.  For me, the stress of choosing an icon and deciding what information is needed is too much.
  3. Make your choices slowly.  Carefully look at the choices for each entry.  Pushing the wrong icon can take you to a completely new place in the system.
  4. Make sure of your aim as you push each icon.  Pushing the wrong icon can take you to a completely new place in the system.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  If staff can be found, they can help.  The people behind you that your a delaying will probably also help.
  6. Make sure that you complete the process.  Not finishing the process can sometimes mean that you must start over.  Others cannot use the device until you have completed your session.

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Distant Family and Senior Health Issues

Distant Family and Senior Health Issues

Over the years, many seniors move away from siblings, children and their extended family.  Distance grows because of work, financial, housing or lifestyle choices.  As seniors, we encounter health issues for the first time.  Distant family and senior health issues combine to create concerns new and complications.  However, these are concerns that cannot be ignored despite the miles.

Distant Family and Senior Health Issues

My wife and I are on the west coast.  Our family, at least my side, are on the east coast.  We only see each other once every couple of years.  Because of the of the distance, we keep up relationships with texts and FaceTime.  Because my oldest sister has been sick for awhile, we decided to visit her and have a little vacation on Cape Cod at the same time.  Senior health issues seem are frequently the reason for travel with family members are far apart. Over the years, we have compiled some senior travel tips.  We attempted to use them all for this cross country excursion.

Discount Fares

With just a week for the trip, we decided to fly. senior health issues necessitate travel to family members Because we bought the cheapest tickets we had to pay for everything.  Assigned seating was $12 each for every flight.  A carry on was $30 each way.  Despite the extras, we had cheap flights because we did not need to carry much with us.  With planning, we have found that discounts fares are great.  An unexpected benefit of the cheap tickets was that our row was not full on any of the flights.

Small Airports

We fly out of our regional airport.  It means an extra, short flight to a major airport.  Regional airports cost a bit more.  But, they make flying much easier.

The TSA lines are short.  There is a great restaurant on site.  It’s not necessary to be at the airport hours in advance.  Because the airport is close to home, there is no driving time involved.  Usually, someone is able to give us a ride so there is no cost involved for parking the car.  The inconvenience of an extra flight is far outweighed by how much easier the departure process is at a regional airport.  From our point of view, when senior health is involved, things should be as easy as possible.

Travel Light

Inexpensive tickets mean carrying on only one personal item each.  This can be a Travel if senior health issues are the reasonback-pack, computer bag, or a purse.  A carry-on bag can be up to $30.  A full size suitcase is $50.  We have found that one carry-on between us and two backpacks are adequate for short trips.  I usually don’t carry toiletries because they are inexpensive to buy where we are staying.  Everything that needs to be presented at the TSA checkpoint is kept in one backpack for easy access.  The backpacks are light and easy to manage in the airport.

Rental Cars

We get the cheapest rental car possible with cruise control and air conditioning.  This is particularly true if our destination is not far from the airport.  It is often very inexpensive to rent a car from an off site agency because they are not paying the airport transportation tax.  We have found that an Uber to and from an off site rental agency can save up to $25/ day on the car rental.  However, the convenience of renting a car at the airport is nice.  Reserving a rental car online does not require payment so changing pick up times is usually not a problem.


My wife and I like our privacy.  We don’t like having to be “on all the time. As well, we don’t like making other family feel like they have to entertain us.  So, we almost always stay in a hotel when visiting family.  We aren’t extravigent, but we do try to choose accommodations that are comfortable, near to fun things to do and in nice settings.

Staying on the Cape made dealing with health issues easier.

Traveling during the off-season helps.  We choose a hotel on the ocean,  close to night life and not too far from my sister.   Price is always a consideration, but comfort and proximity usually win out over price.

A Reason to Travel

I find the older I get, the more I want to stay put.  Family illness is not the best reason to decide to travel, but it is a reason.  For us, traveling means encounters with the world beyond our backyard.  That’s fun.  We don’t like the security lines when we fly.  We aren’t happy with the traffic in some cities.  Sometimes, weather frustrates our plans.  But, traveling keeps us learning and keeps us feeling young…. even though we aren’t.  Our trip to Cape Cod from California brought me to my sister.  That was wonderful.  But it gave us a chance to play in a different part of the country.  We’re going to do it again.  I hope you will.



Pets 4 You

Pets 4 You

Are you thinking about pets 4 you.  A pet can add joy to life.  Taking care of a pet creates a routine in life.  Even personal safety is a reason to think about a pet.

Why Pets 4 You?

  Sage Learns a New Trick

“For elderly pet owners, ………  pets can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity and help them learn.” This is what Barbara Ballinger wrote in her article called “The Healing Power of Pets for Elderly People” published at

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Physical Therapy – Embarrassingly Effective

Physical Therapy – Embarrassingly Effective

That time you lifted too much weight 40 years ago has come back to haunt you.  Your shoulder aches after a weekend of playing with grandchildren. For some reason, your coordination is off.  After a couple of visits to your doctor, you are referred for physical therapy.   When facing outpatient physical therapy seniors may be nervous and embarrassed. If you are like me, I get over being nervous, but the embarrassment seems to linger.

During Outpatient physical therapy seniors improveDuring Outpatient Physical Therapy Seniors Improve

American Senior Communities, in a blog posted on March, 2014, states: “Physical therapy can help seniors retain their independence, whether they are managing a long-term illness or just want to improve their general health and mobility.The goal of physical therapy is to help restore and improve functionality, reduce pain and increase mobility for better strength and balance.”

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Lunch at John Steinbeck’s House

Lunch at John Steinbeck’s House

I am not sure why, but as senior citizens, my wife and I have become more spontaneous.  Today, for example, we just decided to have lunch with John Steinbeck.  Well, not exactly with John.   We ate in the living room of his boyhood home.

 What’s Your John Steinbeck House?

Most towns have an interesting place or event nearby.  One, in our town, happens to be the Steinbeck House.  Although I have lived in the area for over 20 years, I had never been in the house.  What are the Steinbeck Houses near you?  They are the interesting places that people from out of town travel to see… the interesting places that you just don’t visit?


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