Someone once said that the younger generations can’t decide whether they should treat older men like the Pope or like Gabby Hayes.

Those of us reaching into the advanced years have solid numbers of crotchety old coots among our contemporaries. But it’s in advanced age that most of every society’s wisdom emerges. 

Wisdom is a rare and highly regarded commodity, but it doesn’t come automatically with age. Sociologists and psychologists around the world have studied the concept of wisdom and worked to discover the circumstances that foster it.

Questions and Answers

Q:  My friend just got a new Medicare prescription drug plan and I think I want the same one, but I was told I can’t sign up until October.  Why did he get to change but I can’t?


A:  If your friend is enrolled in the low-income subsidy program, Extra Help, he or she would be allowed to change drug plans throughout the year.  Additionally, there are several special circumstances that can create a “special enrollment period” for someone on Medicare which allows them to change or add a prescription drug plan (Part D) outside of open enrollment.  Essentially, special circumstances are actions/events that impact whether an eligible individual can continue getting their prescriptions in the way they have been.  So for instance, changes in where someone lives, loss of spousal coverage due to death or divorce, or changes in coverage received through employer, or union, drug plans are all examples of such special circumstances, and there are other situations which also qualify.

In the last couple months I have had the privilege and heartbreak of honoring two different senior volunteers at their respective funerals. One served in Benton Harbor and the other in Niles, so beyond seeing each other at monthly meetings, they likely didn’t know each other well. But they had much in common. They both lived their lives to the fullest and never stopped generously sharing their lives with others.

Foster Grandpa Larry Davis, known to everyone as Papa Davis, came into the Foster Grandparent Program in July of 2013. He volunteered 30 hours a week in the Benton Harbor Area Schools, mentoring students in 3rd grade for a time, and then in kindergarten. Before that he had been a school bus driver and knew everyone in his neighborhood and community. In the summers, his volunteer service was with the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor.

Questions and Answers

Q:  I would like my mother to go to adult daycare.  Are there any programs that help pay for this?

Last week I attended a regional conference for our senior volunteer programs. (It was held in beautiful downtown Indianapolis, which I hope to get back to soon, by the way!)

The conference held many sessions specific to technical issues related to funding and regulations, as well as recruitment and volunteer management.

Questions and Answers

Q:  Does anyone provide discounted dental services for people over 60?


Flowers, chocolates, special dinner…how did you celebrate Mother’s Day?  We might be a somewhat untraditional family when it comes to Mother’s Day. I like my flowers growing outside; chocolate is not a passion for me (don’t judge me!); and I prefer a steak on the grill over a restaurant meal any day. I don’t need a card or any other token of my children’s love. I’m fortunate to live near my adult children, and to realize their love on a daily basis.