Owen Houghton

    Dr. Owen Houghton is a retired geriatric care consultant who continues to volunteer with aging advice. He focuses on issues of aging well and finds that writing a monthly "Age-Wise" column helps him take his own advice to keep his mind alert as an active elder. A former Dean of Students at Franklin Pierce College and avid golfer, he coached the golf team for 23 years. He shares caregiving for his wife with Alzheimer's disease with the staff at Summerhill. 

    Have you ever driven by the Keene State campus and seen the multi-colored flowers “planted” by the Arch? If not, check them out on Saturday, Sept. 14, when the Western New Hampshire Walk to End Alzheimer’s kicks off to provide critical hope.

    Did you ever have one of those moments when your perspective on life changed? Not for better or for worse, but just different? Since Age-Wise has come to be recognized as presenting realistic “boots on the ground” views of aging, here’s a new one for me.

    “To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.”

    February is the month with President’s Day, or is it Presidents’ Day? Singular or plural? Whose day is being celebrated and why? Like seemingly everything else in this life, change keeps happening and I have to adjust — but with this one this year I have a growing problem.

    This “new year” message was written on Christmas eve, while all the world was supposed to be in a joyous holiday mood. But there was a dark cloud of depression, anxiety, even fear pervading the usual seasonal good spirit. What will 2019 bring, I mused?

    “Be Prepared ... the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise.”

    As a parent and grandparent, I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact on kids of the divisiveness and negativity which surrounds us, both globally and locally. What are kids learning about respect and right and wrong? Does societal influence affect personal behavior and academic ac…

    Ever thought about why the latest holiday on Sept. 3, the first Monday of the month, is called Labor Day? It obviously has many connotations for various folks — since my wife was a maternity nurse, you can imagine what our thoughts were.

    Since my wife was diagnosed in 2010 with Alzheimer’s Disease, I have periodically used Age-Wise as a means of educating my readers to the variable stages of this incurable disease as we as a family are experiencing it.

    OK, readers, bear with me as I chew on a dilemma facing numerous older folks. Do I spend the money at my age to repair or replace a tooth or two when finances are tight, remaining years are unknown, and my attractiveness is not a big issue?

    As I look back on columns for the New Year over the past 20 years, it is easy to see that the theme often focused on the spiritual dimensions of the holiday time from Thanksgiving through Christmas and other celebrations of seasonal peace and good will.

    As I walk with the multitudes at Keene State College on Saturday, Sept. 16, in the annual Alzheimer’s Walk, I will be thinking about my dear wife of 57 years. She will be lounging in her favorite chair in the Memory Unit at Summerhill in Peterborough.

    When I was a teenager, I got a hold of a paperback adventure story about hero Nick Romano with a mantra “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse!” The message of the novel, “Knock on Any Door”, later made into a film with Humphrey Bogart, was tempting!

    As the spouse of a victim of Alzheimer’s disease, I joined more than 500 folks at Keene State several Saturday mornings ago for a walk to help end Alzheimer’s disease. We were all given “twirly flowers” in colors designating our relationship to the disease: yellow = I am a caregiver; blue =I…

    On April 21, I shared a birthday with Queen Elizabeth II. While I am 11 years younger than Her Majesty, I was reminded by many friends who greeted me on Facebook that I was in my 80th year. So I am proud to be an older American and celebrate May as Older Americans Month.

    I got lots of feedback from last month’s column on the transition process leading to placement of my wife in a memory care unit. From calls, emails, letters and conversation, it was obvious that “Age-Wise” had hit a nerve and raised some important questions.

    Every year at this time I encourage holiday conversations between the generations on aging issues that affect the whole family. We tend to put off hard planning discussions: What about long-term health care, financial and legal matters, living arrangements, advanced directives, final arrange…

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