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When Life Hands You Lemons or How to Transition Into Retirement

March 12, 2020
Life and Lemonade Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

Really? Lemonade is all you can make when life hands you lemons? What about lemon cream pie or these days lemon hand soap so you can protect yourself from Coronavirus.

I recently got slapped up the side of my head with a box of lemons in the form of an offer from my main job to put me on a reduced number of hours and move me out of my very nice 2-bedroom apartment into a much more cramped and roommate-less 1-bedroom along with a significant cut in pay.

Uh, no! No can do. Lemonade alert!

Handicap parking Photo by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash
Photo by Robert Ruggiero on Unsplash

If you have seen any of my latest blog entries you will know that I have had some health problems that have impacted my ability to work, specifically I have to have a walker to walk and since I am an onsite manager for a senior building sometimes that means I need to do a lot of walking and standing.

My current employer has been more than fair to me by keeping me on payroll and allowing me to work in a modified way for well over a year, so I have no room to complain but Dayum! I was humming along thinking I was back to work full-time but evidently not.

The good news is that I am already doing 99.9% of the job and just need to kick it into gear to cover the rest and God knows the additional walking will be good for me, but what this did do was hit me upside the head with the realization that someday in the possibly rather near future, I might want to work less. What a concept for someone who has spent the last fifteen years working at least 3 jobs at the same time.

So How Do I Transition Into Retirement?

Retirement Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

And the biggest slap in the head? Where do I go from here and how do I pay for it?

I have always been a hard worker, my sister says workaholic but it takes one to know one and since her daughters are the same way, as was our mother it obviously runs in the family.

So how do you disentangle yourself from work and still afford to live in a country where the typical social security check is a guarantee of living below the poverty level? Do I have to really move to Mexico as I have threatened for years?

For right now that doesn’t seem to be where I am headed. But where do I go where I won’t be totally alone, where I can live quietly but with an internet connection, delivery from Amazon and Instacart, close to my family but still for a cheap-ass price? In California? Am I crazy?

RV Living Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

My sister doesn’t think so. Her plan is for all of us, she and her husband, her brother-in-law and me to live on one piece of property (the retirement compound if you will) separate but close by either with a big house or more likely land with 5th wheels (one of which they just purchased which is a whole other story). Can this work? I think so, but how do we go from here to there when we don’t have any concrete details yet?

What comes first in our quest to make lemonade or my preference lemon pie?

First knowledge-seeking, then planning. Right now I am reading all I can about living the RV life but I haven’t gotten far yet. However, I will be sharing my discoveries with you and would love to hear any stories you have about how to transition into retirement as well.


Indulgent Aging Through the Eyes of Stroke

April 25, 2019
Living After a Stroke

It has been a long time since I have posted here. On December 27th, 2018 I had a small stroke and considering I made the extremely stupid decision to “sleep it off” and didn’t call the paramedics until the following morning, I was extraordinarily lucky.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

So much so, that one of my doctors told me that I should buy lotto tickets, take a trip to Vegas and do anything else that I could to capitalize on my luck because most people with my health condition didn’t make it to the hospital alive let alone with very little damage.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Good Luck or Bad?

So I feel lucky and then my luck got even weirder. While they were removing the blood clot in my brain, they found an aneurysm. And then as a side effect of the blood thinners that they put me on, they discovered that I was losing blood in my urine because I had a large kidney stone that I never knew I had. Both now require surgery, but surgery after stroke and juggling blood thinners is a very difficult thing.

So the question is, is this good luck they found all this stuff or not?

Photo by sharon wright on Unsplash

And how do I write about what has been both an amazing and harrowing experience in my life in a blog called “Indulgent Aging”?

Owen Beard on Upsplash

Awesome People

I was talking with the awesome ambulance crew who transported me from Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank to Kaiser’s Sunset Hospital in Los Angeles about that and one of them mentioned that “Of course it was Indulgent Aging since you have ten people surrounding you just ready to do whatever you need to take care of you!”

They were the best and I actually had the head of the crew, James Brown, cracking up in the back of the ambulance when I told him this story:

Picture this only in black and gray and you will see what I saw under the TV

High on the wall in my room there was a television that I never watched but it was in my line of sight and I wasn’t doing much of anything at the time, so I stared at it a lot.

Underneath the television was what looked like the statue of a man with two penises peeing. Now that really confused me. I couldn’t understand why they would put that statue in a Catholic hospital with a crucifix on the opposite wall. I puzzled over that for the longest time.

Photo by luka lojk on Unsplash

Then my sister and brother-in-law came to visit me and I knew they were so worried about me but happy to see that I seemed more coherent than they expected because of my stroke until I started to entertain them with my questions about the two dick statue under the television.

Photo by Mpumelelo Macu on Unsplash

The looks on their faces were priceless. They thought I was totally blowing out another brain cell or three because they could see what I couldn’t namely that the “statue” was the television cord wrapped with a twisty!

Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

Laughter: Truly the Best Medicine

My mom always told me that you have to find the humor in life or it was just too hard to live. She was so right. And two of the main things that have allowed me to survive this experience have been the wonderful people who have helped me and the crazy stuff that keeps me laughing.

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

So thank you James Brown and crew, thank you to the wonderful doctors and nurses who took care of me in the early days of this stroke adventure at Saint Joe’s and Kaiser and thank you God for my mom who showed me how to laugh through an indulgent life!


Regrets…I Have A Few

October 30, 2018
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I would like to be able to say that I look back at my life and have no regrets but that would not be a true statement. I doubt if it would be for most people. So what regrets do I have and do I still have time to rectify those?

Regrets Number One: Fakers

I wish I had spent less time loving people who were not capable of giving the same kind of love in return. It’s not that I think love should be selfish, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with having expectations of the people that you are in acknowledged relationships with. And sometimes people just don’t have the capacities that you think they should.

Regrets and Stripes Photo by Bas de Korte on Unsplash

Photo by Bas de Korte on Unsplash

I remember someone telling me one time that the best thing he ever learned was at a seminar on relationships. The teacher said that there are three different types of people in life, the givers, the takers, and the fakers and the most dangerous ones were the fakers because they made you think they were givers. I have run into several fakers in my life (ironically one of them was the guy that told me this story) and I knew it, but kept thinking that they would grow out of it and into genuine givers or maybe I just wanted to delude myself. Anyway, just so you know, I have let them all loose from my life over the years and not one of them have changed their stripes into genuine givers. So let the fakers go!

Regrets Number Two: Enjoyable Work

Business Regrets rawpixel-574844-unsplash

Business Regrets rawpixel-574844-unsplash

I wish I had known and pursued what I wanted to do professionally much earlier in my life. Unfortunately, wisdom and courage do not always hit you at the same time. I spent much of my life very competently running other people’s businesses all the while wanting to be running my own. It took my 60th birthday to kickstart that process. Both of my parents died in their early 60’s and that birthday pushed me into panic mode when I realized that I might have very little time left to accomplish the things I had always wanted to do. Don’t wait to do what you love!

Regrets Number Three: Get Healthy Younger

No Regrets Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

I know. No one wants to think about healthy eating and exercise when they are twenty! Maybe not at any age. But it gets harder as you age. Not to say it is impossible, but it is more painful!. If you train your body to be somewhat athletic when you are younger I would think it would be easier to continue the tradition as you age. What was optional when you are young becomes mandatory when you are older. So do it now! At whatever age you are, if you stop moving you die. The personal trainer that comes to our building twice a month has assured me that you can become fit at any age and I believe that to be true. Now I just need to do it!

Humor Life

Headbanging, Imagine Dragons, and Pot, Now That’s Indulgent Aging!

October 23, 2018
Photo by Rick Proctor on Unsplash

Indulgent Music Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash

Photo by Hector Bermudez on Unsplash

About 15 years ago I was at a gas station pumping gas and a very good-looking “older” man pulled up to the pump on the opposite side of me. He was gray-haired and driving a convertible Mercedes and I could hear his Rolling Stones music blaring all the way over on my side of the pump.

I remember my first thought was, “How cute! He likes rock and roll at his age!” (Okay, I was younger and dumber then!) My second thought was, “Duh! How old do you think Mick Jagger is!” (I learn quickly!)

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Indulgent Misconceptions or…..

My point is that we can have such misconceptions of others based on their looks, clothes, and age. It’s sad really because it can keep us from connecting with other human beings who might actually light up our lives.

I must confess I have had the opposite experience as well. I once went on a date with a guy who at first glance did not look like my type.  I would not want someone to judge me that way so I  gave myself time to talk to him. He did not improve with exposure and there was no second date but at least I gave him a chance.

Indulgent Look
Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

The Indulgent Little Old Lady Look

But back to my title. I am now 62 years old. I think I look a little younger, but not much. I haven’t quite reached the white-haired old lady look and really, I’m not sure I ever will.

Holy jeans rock! I like my holy jeans. I wear whatever feels comfortable to me. I carry my “luggage” in a backpack and the coolest roll-up bag ever and I have a tendency to cuss like a foul-mouthed sailor.

Indulgent Living
Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash

Not Anyone’s Stereotype

This weekend I went out of town, and as I sat at a light waiting for the longest, slowest train I have ever experienced I was doing a gentle headbang to an Imagine Dragon song and happened to look to my right and saw an interesting medical marijuana place that I wanted to visit.

And I laughed. I am not anyone’s stereotype of an old lady. I doubt very much that I ever will be and I am so happy about that! So what do you do that breaks your stereotype?

Life Practicalities of Living

So You Won The Lotto. Now What?

October 9, 2018
Driving and Lotto Dreaming

Yesterday I was driving home from one of my chillax trips to Ventura and letting my thoughts tumble all over the place in my head. I started thinking about what I would do if I won the Lotto, which would be a total miracle since I don’t even but the tickets. I realized that I didn’t have even the haziest idea of what I would do if money were no object. That worried me because it seemed to me that showed a lamentable lack of imagination! How could I focus on getting what I want if I don’t know what that is?

Can you see why I don’t spend a lot of time driving? A loosed brain is a scary brain! Just kidding. I actually love my driving time between here and Ventura because I do think of wild things that I don’t have time to think of while I am working.

Hitting the Lotto Target


The Wonders of Creative Lotto Thinking

Back to the topic. Do you know what you would do if you won the lotto? Besides buy a bunch of toys? When you think about winning does it make you happy? I know these sound like silly questions especially when you don’t buy a lotto ticket but to me, they went to the heart of what I want to do with my life in the next 25 years. If I can’t see the target clearly how do I get what I want?

Creative Lotto Thinking

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I really believe that clearly defining what you want can enable you to plan how to get there, whether you win the lotto or not. This is a technique that I have used in my own life many times. It helps me focus, plan and then nimbly side-step all of the above if something else terrific opens up along the way.

Perfect Lotto Home


What Do You Dream Of?

The good news for me on my drive home was that what I am doing on the work front still made sense and made me happy even with the lotto win. The bad news is the personal stuff was a lot murkier. First instinct, buy a house. But where and do I want to live alone or drag my roommate along with me? Do I move closer to my family? But they are in flux as well. Where DO I want to live? What does that look like? Big house, small house? Beach, forest or city? Maybe a Hobbit House would be the perfect place. Ha! I just realized that I need more than one place to live and I can do that since I WON the lotto 🙂

Lotto Journey

Photo by Miss Zhang on Unsplash

Who Do You Dream Of?

Who will be with you on your Lotto journey through life? Do you have friends around you? Family? A travel companion? A lover, husband, significant other? And if you have a limited number of the above what do you do to expand that?

Tasting Life

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

What Does Your Life Taste Like?

What do you do every day in your new life? Do you travel? Remember you are free to do whatever you want now. What is that? What is the flavor to your days? Do you work? Do you lay on the beach and get burned, oops I mean tanned?

Lotto Living

Photo by Bruno Wolff on Unsplash

Completely Crazed (Thanks Lotto!)

Have I made you completely crazy yet? Welcome to my brain on drive! But there is a method to my madness. I really believe that life can open up wonderful adventures for us if we take the time to look for them. If we find some idea that is wild and wacky that makes us smile and sigh, we can have those things, even without winning the lotto. Dream, taste, feel the things you want and then look for them by putting one foot in front of the other!

Health Life Practicalities of Living

Are You Age Caged?

October 2, 2018
Bird in a cage. Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Sometimes we put birds and animals in cages for their own safety. Have you been doing the same thing to yourself?

Life & Death

I was talking to a neighbor of mine the other day. She is a fun-loving lady in her 70’s who has had three boyfriends since I moved here. She loved to go out with them and dance and socialize.

She also loves to drive and would get in the car with them and drive them all over the place, to Northern California, Idaho, Palm Springs, whatever place took their fancy.

She had a great time with each of them, the only problem is that they were all in their late 80s and 90s and they all died on her.

After the last gentleman passed away, I noticed that she was kind of depressed and not going out as she used to, so I asked her when she was going to find another boyfriend.

She was emphatic when she said, “Never!” Now, I’m not stupid and I understand that she liked these men and was sad when they died, but I told her the problem is that she is caging herself in to save herself from suffering and in the meantime, she is still not a happy camper. I have watched while she not only suffers but her health has declined as well.

Safe cage or prison?

Photo by Jose Fontano on Unsplash

Engagement or Safety

My question is, don’t you think it’s better to keep engaging and having fun where you can instead of dying slowly and carefully alone and “safe” in your apartment?

Don’t get me wrong, I am a horrible example of someone who is emotionally connected. I enjoy my own company a lot and I work like a demon for not much money. So I am not a social butterfly or even a social caterpillar.

All excuses I know, since living life to the fullest requires effort and extension. And I am tired and without patience.

However, I am also older and I feel the cage closing in on me. Things I used to be fearless about now cause me anxiety and I know if I don’t challenge those things it will only get worse.

Age Caged on the beach

Photo by James & Carol Lee on Unsplash

Challenging the Cage

How do we go about challenging the cage? I think it is different for everyone. But you can start by picking one thing that you are afraid of and then DO IT!  Or do something that is a baby step up to doing it. If you can’t set up an online dating profile maybe you can start by looking a man or woman in the eye and saying, “Hello!”

If you can’t drive on the freeway in rush hour traffic, go somewhere where the freeways are less crowded and try it there.

Or if you really want to go balls to the walls do what this lady did:  Jane Stern wrote this book, Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself by Becoming an EMT to share how becoming a volunteer EMT saved her from  being “virtually immobilized by fear and anxiety.” I have not read the book yet since I just purchased it yesterday and from the book blurb I think this option is not for everyone, but I expect to learn some good things from the reading it!

Out of the cage, free as a bird.

Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

The Bottom Line

This is probably what I should have named my blog! But the bottom line is that there really is a large, exciting world out there and all of us, myself included, need to make the effort to join in, to be part of something that makes us smile, touches our heart or just gets our pulses racing. Use it or lose it, folks!

Life Practicalities of Living

New Motherhood at Any Age

September 26, 2018
Relaxed Baby

I bet you didn’t think you were going to find an article about new motherhood on an indulgent aging site, but how could I not write about this after reading about Brigette Nielsen becoming a mom at 54 after ten years of trying?

Brigette Nielson and Mattia Dessi

Brigette Nielson and Mattia Dessi

First of all, she looks fabulous and her husband is fifteen years younger than her. She’s my hero! Secondly, where did she get the patience for motherhood at 54? Now granted, she has money (and that younger husband) which means she can afford help if he is not so inclined. She is obviously in great shape but I still think it takes a special kind of person to want to have a baby at this age.

Motherhood and Dadhood

Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash

Desire and Relevance

Does that mean that you shouldn’t do it if you don’t have the advantages that she has? I don’t know. I do know that desire doesn’t end at 50 or 80, desire for many things including sex, love, family and being relevant.

I was talking to one of my tenants the other day. He is a good-looking, charming man who has obviously had a good time in his life. His conversation with me though was about how he felt like he had missed the boat. His voice was filled with wistfulness and humor and he said that he watched others in the building visiting with their children and grandchildren and he wondered why he had never had any of his own.

Motherhood and Fatherhood

Photo by Fernando Pelaez Cubas on Unsplash

I told him that there were still women out there who would be interested in providing him with children and he said, “Good God, no!” but the wistfulness was still there.

Motherhood and Grandparenting

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Lawful Parenting Age

There is no law that I know of that limits the age of when you can start (or re-start) a family. As a matter of fact, even if you are too old or physically incapable of carrying a baby you can participate in parenting through adoption and foster parenting.

When I started doing some research for this article, I found this fascinating. You can foster a child in most places as long as you are at least 21 years of age. Some states allow it as young as 18. But there is no upper age range.  One article I read said that people in their 80’s sometimes make the best foster parents, nor do you have to be part of a couple to foster kids. You can even foster kids from the US while living in other countries. Wow! Who knew?

You also do not need to be wealthy or a stay-at-home Mom/Dad. There are options for help with childcare costs if you need to work. There is a particular need for foster parents for special needs children.

Motherhood and Passion

Photo by Ian Schneider on UnsplashPhoto

Passion and Needs

Being older does not mean being less passionate or less relevant. If you have a passion for family, if you have a passion to help others, don’t be afraid to explore your options. You may find that there is a new life just waiting for you to discover it!

Humor Life

A Small Taste of Karma

September 19, 2018
Karma & Budha

This weekend I am writing this story while hiding out in Oxnard. Why you ask? Have you ever gone deer-in-the-headlight when someone invites you to something you wouldn’t go to if they tortured you? And then lied your ass off about the plans that you have for the weekend? Yep, that’s what I did.

Deer in The Headlights
Photo by Haley Phelps on Unsplash

I have an unusual situation in my life since as an onsite manager of my building, every time I walk out the door I have the potential to run right into the person who invited me. So here I am at the Best Western Oxnard Inn.

Irony or Karma? Colorful Colorado
Photo by Kait Herzog on Unsplash

Irony or Karma?

Irony: “A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.”

I’ve been coming to Oxnard/Ventura for years as my getaway from the stress of life, so even though this weekend was short on planning and budget, I was looking forward to time away to read and write in peace.

To be fair, the room is nice. It’s clean, has everything that I need, the staff has been friendly and efficient and I knew in advance that I would not have a view. But the area around the hotel is not the best.

First irony? I watched them build this hotel years ago and I remember thinking every time I drove by it, “I would never stay there.” Unfortunately, I didn’t place the name or the location with the hotel of my not-dreams when I booked it.

Upside Down Karma
Photo by Dollar Gill on Unsplash

Upsides and Downside

After I unloaded my stuff into my room, I broke out my Mac Book Pro and started to plug it in, until the charging cable fell apart in my hand and shot sparks out of the outlet.

Well all righty then, I can roll with this. I’ll just go to Office Depot and buy a new one since I can’t Amazon Prime it like I would at home.

Apple, Apple, Apple! I have a total love-hate relationship with you! $95 for a new charger! WTH? The lowest price I could find was $78 at Target.

Downside: I am tired and disgruntled, it’s almost 9 pm and I haven’t had my dinner. Sigh, I get in my car and head across town to Target. I was going to stop for dinner first but figured I would never get to Target if I did.

Upside: the moon was AMAZING! I so wanted to get a picture but really photography is not something I am that great at.

Downside: I am not paying that much for the stupid charger. I am too pissed to do so.

Upside: Target has the cutest little Acer Chromebook on sale. Yep, I bought it! My sister is laughing right now if she is reading this. And yes, Sis I will give you my older small Acer. You will love it!

Karma at the beach

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

So What’s The Point?

Is your foot tapping waiting for me to get there? The point is that I think Karma can be a state of mind. It seemed in some ways like everything I expected was being turned on its head. My first thought was it is Karma for blowing off that horrible invite.

I didn’t do it to be mean. Like my friend said, “Life is too short to do things that you hate.” And everything that happened after that had upsides and downsides. I had fun buying my new computer. I had pizza for dinner while I people watched at Target. Every person that I interacted with made me giggle inside because they were funny or interesting for one reason or another. And the desk chair in my room was the bomb! (I actually just ordered one like it for my home office!)

After running the gauntlet of last night, I have a new story, a new laptop and still have time to relax and see new things. Karma depends on your perspective and the view seems to be better if you take the high road.

Humor Life

Flex Your Muscle (Car)!

July 20, 2018
66 Shelby Mustang Muscle Car

When I was in high school, I had the distinct pleasure of hanging with a bunch of car jocks and their muscle cars, I even married one, the jock, not the car.

I had several friends who were Chevy dudes, one that liked his Dodge, one with a Corvette and then there was me, with a stock ’66 Mustang that my dad gave me for my 16th birthday.

I got shit from every one of those guys about my little Ford Mustang, also known by the acronym, “Found On The Road Dead”! But I was always the first one that they called when they found themselves broke down on the side of the road in their high-powered rigs. God, it was fun!

66 Chevelle SS Muscle Car

66 Chevelle SS Muscle Car

My parents wanted me to be a cheerleader and hang out with the football team, but that was my brother’s world and I have always been a rebel. Not to mention the biggest pervert I knew in high school was a football jock (no, not my brother!)

The guys I hung out with were edge of the crowd kind of guys. Smart but not too interested in school. They could quote car and gun magazine stats like no tomorrow, but I don’t remember any of them being on the honor roll, sorry guys if I missed one of you there.

60 Corvette Fuelie Muscle Car

60 Corvette Fuelie Muscle Car

But they were good guys. They watched out for me and made sure no one messed with me. They wouldn’t let me drink to excess because they said I was crazy enough as it was, and it probably left more for them!



I miss them and the camaraderie. Guys are usually pretty straight-forward with what they like and want and talk about and I like that. I have never been very much of a girlfriend magnet. Women can sometimes tend to be hmmm, how do I put this politely,……a little high maintenance? Men on the other hand, only seem to want you to baby them when they are sick!



But in the meantime, back to the topic that started this all:

What Is Your Favorite Muscle Car?

I think this would be mine. I love the growly sound a Mustang makes and I dare say they are not all “Found On The Road Dead”!



Of course if you were a brand new class of women drivers in Saudi Arabia, you might have a completely different idea of what you want to drive….or not. According to Margherita Stancati from The Wall Street Journal, “Ms. Weheba aspires to become one of Saudi Arabia’s first female drifters.

“Everyone suggested I get the yellow Q2,” she said, referring to a mini-SUV from the German auto maker. Ms. Weheba, who wears her long, highlighted hair uncovered, dismisses the Q2 as “cute.”

“Do I look like a yellow Q2 kind of girl?” she said.

As soon as the Saudi king last September announced plans to let women drive, Sahar Nasief knew what she wanted: a Mustang convertible.

“It’s always been my dream car,” said Ms. Nasief, 64, who learned how to drive decades ago as a student in the U.S.”

Well I say, you go girls!



I have one more story to share with you about women and cars courtesy of a friend of mine who just sent it to me in an email. Take a moment to read it. I promise you that it is worth it!

Life News

AARP Launches “Disrupt Dementia”

July 8, 2018
Fighting Dementia

My mom died in her early 60s due to complications of Alzheimer’s. She was a fierce woman, even in her dementia. My sister, God bless her, took on the care of my mom once it became obvious that she could no longer be left alone. She found her a well-kept home and moved her in.

I found out after she died that people with Alzheimer’s lose their inhibitions, basically all the layers that we learn to hide behind that civilize us. So, my mom, whose first cuss word I heard her use was “Hell’s Bell’s” cussed like a sailor, kicked other tenants of the home and got caught throwing her leg over the fence to escape on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, one of the other things I didn’t learn until she died was that Alzheimer’s patients forget how to swallow. You have to be very careful how they eat because the food that they swallow incorrectly can get into their lungs and cause pneumonia, which is the complication that my mom died from. I felt guilty for years about that, that somehow I should have known and taken better care of her. But this was before the days of Google and information was not as accessible as it is today.

This is one of the reasons that I wanted to post this press release. Information is power and with these kinds of numbers, we need to be paying attention to a cure or an effective treatment.

A Mission of Empowerment

With nearly 10 million new cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease occurring each year and no cure, AARP recently launched a new campaign, “Disrupt Dementia.” The campaign aims to help drive new diagnostics and treatments for dementias while providing education, support and hope for patients and family caregivers impacted by the physical, emotional and financial stress of dementia.

The centerpiece of the campaign is AARP’s new $60 million investment in the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), the first and largest venture fund focused on discovering and developing effective new drugs for treating dementia. AARP also helped secure the participation of UnitedHealth Group and Quest Diagnostics, which have invested $10 million and $5 million respectively – totaling $75 million to the DDF’s fight against a condition that has not seen a new approved treatment in 15 years.

“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, but dementia takes that privilege away from millions of Americans and people around the world,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “The statistics are staggering, and the numbers continue to climb each year. By 2030, there are projected to be 82 million people suffering from dementia and despite decades of research costing billions of dollars, there is still no cure and few ways to treat symptoms of dementia. With today’s investment in the DDF, AARP and our partners have committed to helping find innovative solutions that can reverse the trend of this health crisis and champion brain health.”

Poor Treament Options

A newly released AARP survey of U.S. physicians shows that doctors are also frustrated with the limited tools available to diagnose and treat dementia for their patients. One in three U.S. physicians surveyed say they feel that current dementia treatment options are poor, and nearly half of physicians strongly agree that there needs to be more diagnostic tools and research for dementia. In fact, most physicians (62 percent) say a lack of diagnostic tools is the greatest impediment to effective treatment. Moreover, there is not significant optimism among physicians for progress anytime soon. Only 10 percent say they are extremely or very optimistic that effective treatment protocols will emerge in the next five years.

The last Alzheimer’s drug was approved more than a decade and a half ago and only brings temporary relief of disease symptoms. Since that time, more than 400 clinical trials have failed. Highly touted research focusing on eliminating plaques and tangles has, unfortunately, not produced safe, effective treatments, and some companies have abandoned their efforts in the face of long odds. Because of this, nearly half of the physicians in the new AARP survey say dementia is a hopeless diagnosis.

Latest Data

And the brain health crisis doesn’t just affect dementia sufferers, but also their friends, family and loved ones. The latest data shows that the impact of dementia on both patients and family caregivers will only continue to grow, as the number of people with the disease in the U.S. is estimated to reach 14 million by 2050, according to research conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association. It is estimated that family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid assistance in 2017 alone, a contribution valued at $232.1 billion nationally.

To draw attention to the experiences of patients and family caregivers and to spark bold new solutions for the world’s brain health crisis, AARP initiated a conversation during national Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. On June 25, AARP hosted an event in New York City featuring a group of experts in the medical, business and technology sectors as well as notable celebrity guests, including acclaimed journalist and author Katie Couric as the event emcee, and award-winning actress Jane Krakowski, who shared her own personal experience as a dementia caregiver. Following remarks by Jenkins, the experts and advocates who spoke at the event included Kate Bingham, the SV managing partner of the Dementia Discovery Fund; UnitedHealthcare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Pronovost; and technology and personal finance reporter and expert, Natali Morris. Key learnings, tips and content for family caregivers are shared at

Family and Caregivers

For many, the battle isn’t professional but personal.

“After my family’s personal experience with dementia, I echo AARP’s concerns about this looming health crisis and I applaud the campaign to Disrupt Dementia,” said Jane Krakowski. “The chance to stop the impact of this heartbreaking disease could be nothing short of life-changing for so many people, and AARP’s mission to spread education and understanding of the disease has the power to be truly transformative.”

While research is underway to find treatments and a cure, AARP offers resources and tools on its website for the 16.1 million Americans who care for people living with dementia. The organization continuously works to improve the communities in which people with dementia and their caregivers live, by working with leaders and local governments across the U.S. to adopt “age-friendly” guidelines and develop resources. AARP also founded the Global Council on Brain Health to help people strengthen their brain health and minimize their risk of dementia. And AARP is part of the National Advisory Council for Dementia Friendly America.

To access information available to family caregivers, visit: To join the conversation on social media, use AARP’s official campaign hashtag, #DisruptDementia. AARP also urges people to share memories of loved ones impacted by dementia or Alzheimer’s on Twitter and Instagram at #HowIRemember.