Tag Archives: Baby boomer

Unstressing at the Airport, One Dog at a Time

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class (Click here for website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com)

May 30, 2015, 11:30am: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Joslyn Adult Center, “Health and Fitness Expo,” 210 N. Chapel Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801
June 13, 2015, 2:00pm, Author Talk & Book Signing, Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
September 18, 2015, 2:30pm: Lecture: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years,” Mira Costa College LIFE Program (Learning is for Everyone), 1 Barnard Dr., Oceanside, CA 92056

Now, on to my blog:

Sofie & Me at LAX 5-1-15I love dogs of all stripes, colors and persuasions. Tell me off, and if you’re a human, I’ll be right back at ya. Tell me off, and if you’re a dog, I’ll beg for more.

Whenever I see a dog anywhere, I’m drawn involuntarily as if beckoned while in a trance, powerless to resist. Just to be able to look at them, pet them, hang out with them is a privilege and calms me immediately. So, imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I was part of the craziness that is Los Angeles International Airport.

I was waiting to board an airplane for a flight to visit my family. I had already navigated parking, walking to the terminal, checking in, and making my way to the gate.

I found a place to sit in a crowded area and with great difficulty was trying to relax and read. I glanced up for a moment and saw a big, curly dog walking toward me followed by a few humans. Naturally, I sprung out of my seat to investigate.

I was greeted by Sofie, a Golden Doodle (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix) resplendent in a red cape, who was next to her owner. I was all over Sofie–calm, patient Sofie. Other passengers sidled up to make her acquaintance. Sofie nonchalantly tolerated her admirers— just another day’s work.

Heidi Huebner, who was part of Sofie’s entourage, explained that the PUP (Pets Unstressing Passengers) Program at LAX has been operating since April, 2013.  For years, dogs have been used elsewhere in such duty providing stress relief and comfort to people at hospitals, homes for seniors, schools, and other similar facilities (I used to be a pet therapy team with my dog at a local hospital.)  Now, dogs are doing it at airports, those high stress generators.

The dog/owner volunteer teams are trained and then registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. Heidi added that similar programs are now at 26 airports throughout the nation. To volunteer at the PUP Program and other VIP (Volunteer Information Professionals) Programs at Los Angeles International Airport, visit their website at: www.lawa.org/vip.

Now, I’m just wondering where the human Sofies are trained and registered?  I need a few of those in my life.

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Filed under active seniors, aging successfully, Baby boomers, healthy aging, longevity, older adults, reinvention, therapy dogs

Lee Gale Gruen’s book has been published!

Final Book Cover

My memoir: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, has been published!  It’s just in time for Father’s Day gifts, as it’s a father/daughter bonding book with a twist; we were both seniors at the time. I can’t believe it!  I first started thinking about writing the book 9 years ago.  BTW the book’s font is a little larger for aging eyes.  I am scheduled to give several author talk/book signing events over the next few months.  They are listed under “Appearances” on my website:  AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com.  I will be discussing the contents of my book, why I wrote it, how I got a publisher, anecdotes about my new “second” career as an actress, and how I have reinvented myself in my senior years.  The book can be purchased on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, my publisher’s website: authormikeink.com, and can be ordered through local book stores.

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Why Baby Boomers and Seniors are Important to Society

This is an article I wrote which was published in the letters-to-the-editor section of a small, local newspaper and also in the retirement newsletter from my former employer, Los Angeles County: After retiring from my 37-year career as a Probation Officer, I heard about a local program which offered classes for seniors. I was soon enrolled in an acting class, an endeavor I had never pursued in my life. Within a short time, my father, recently widowed, came to class with me. For 3 years we attended weekly, performing in our class showcases twice a year onstage in front of a live audience. It brought joy and purpose to our lives. It helped my father stay happy, healthy and active rather than being a burden on his family and society. It changed my life completely, launching me into an acting career.
I came to realize how vital and valuable senior programs are. I advocate for them whenever possible as I am proof of their benefits. Senior community programs fill the gap for seniors that employment or child rearing used to occupy. They give seniors a purpose, empowering them to take better care of themselves and thus have fewer medical problems. Without a sense of purpose, seniors feel alienated, depressed, and worthless.
The funding for senior programs is being cut because times are hard and the economy is bad. The argument that giving money to senior programs takes money from education of our children is specious. One should have nothing to do with the other. If senior community programs are lumped under a bundle called education, and that argument persists, then transfer them to a new and separately funded category called something like: The Department of Senior Enrichment. Government agencies are looking for ways to save money. Senior programs seem like a perfect target. Why not? What’s so important about senior community programs anyway?
Let’s take a look at what seniors (that includes Baby Boomers) contribute to society. They are not just elderly people to be put out to pasture. Seniors offer many things. They pass down the family and societal history. They are caretakers. They are role models. They are the guardians of wisdom and experience, of the sensibility of society—society’s stewards. Just take a look at most of the members in the Senate and House of Representatives—our own California governor.
SOCIAL: Many seniors are at a point in their lives where they are able and willing to give back to the community. They constitute the bulk of volunteers at places like hospitals, parks, museums, schools, police departments, etc. Many of our institutions cannot afford to hire enough staff. They couldn’t function without volunteers. Seniors have the time, interest and enthusiasm.
ECONOMIC: Seniors form a huge demographic. They control vast amounts of wealth which translates into purchasing power of significant amounts of goods and services.
POLITICAL: Seniors form a huge voting block. They are a demographic which should be pursued and courted by businesses and politicians, not ignored.
Let’s remember to support our senior programs and not relinquish so easily something we may never be able to reclaim. Seniors have a major impact on our society socially, economically and politically. Just as we spend time, energy, and resources on our children, we must spend the same on our seniors.

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