Tag: dating

STDs and the Single Baby Boomer

My last blog was meant to be informational and not to ruin your sex life, but I hope you single Baby Boomers heeded the warning.  Here are more health concerns for you to think about, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

HIV/AIDS

In 2014 people aged 50 and over accounted for 17% (7,391) of an estimated 44,073 HIV diagnoses in the United States. The largest number of the 7,391 infected, 44%, was in the 50-54 age group.  African Americans in that group accounted for an estimated 43%, whites 37%, and Hispanics/Latinos 16%.  Among people aged 50 and over, 40% were diagnosed with AIDS at the time of HIV diagnosis since they were diagnosed late in the course of the infection.

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26.

hiv

 

Older people in the U.S. are more likely than younger people to be diagnosed after the infection has progressed resulting in treatment starting later and the possibility or more immune-system damage.  Late diagnoses occur when health care providers don’t test older patients for the HIV infection, older people don’t consider themselves to be at risk or mistake HIV symptoms for those of normal aging.

 

 

Studies show that many Baby Boomers infected with the virus decades ago, do not perceive they are at risk, and have never been screened.  Since single Baby Boomers and those older are sexually active, including those living with HIV, they have the same HIV risk factors as younger people.  They also may lack of knowledge about HIV and how to prevent it.  Older people also face some unique issues.  Women no longer worry about becoming pregnant and are less likely to use a condom and to practice safe sex.  As with all STD’s, age-related thinning and dryness of vaginal tissue raises their risk for HIV infection.  Although they visit doctors more frequently, they’re less likely than younger people to discuss their sexual habits or drug use with them.  Doctors often don’t ask older patients about these issues.  Since single Baby Boomers may already face isolation due to illness or loss of family and friends, the stigma of having HIV/AIDS may negatively affect people’s quality of life, self-image, and behaviors and prevent them from seeking HIV care and disclosing their HIV status.

 

 

Aging with HIV presents special challenges for preventing other diseases because both age and HIV increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, low bone density, and certain cancers.  Older HIV patients and their physicians need to maximize prevention efforts against these conditions, remain vigilant for early signs of illness, and be careful about interactions between HIV medications and those used to treat common age-related conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and obesity.

 

 

The CDC and its partners are working to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods, and improve surveillance among older people in the U.S.  This will be accomplished through support and technical assistance to health departments and community-based organizations to deliver effective evidence-based prevention for antiretroviral therapy adherence for older Americans.  Starting in 2012 the CDC awarded at least $330 million to health departments each year.  In 2015 $343.7 million was given to direct resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need and to prioritize the HIV prevention strategies that will have the greatest impact.  They’ve also implemented the following programs that aid Baby Boomers: Let’s Stop HIV Together (approximately 25% of campaign participants are aged 50 and older), Standard Care which encourages primary care physicians to screen patients of all ages for HIV infection, and Prevention IS Care, which provides continuing education and materials for physicians to address the complex issues of those living with HIV infection.

 

The information above is from the CDC blog “HIV Among People Aged 50 and Over” at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/olderamericans/index.html.

 

hivHepatitis C

In the U.S. hepatitis C (HCV) chronically infects an estimated 3.2 million.  Approximately 75% are Baby Boomers.  National prevalence data show that people born between 1946-1965 are five times more likely than other adults to be infected.  It’s a leading cause of liver cancer, liver transplants, and accounts for 73% of all hepatitis C associated mortality.  HCV-associated morbidity and mortality increased more than 50% from 1999-2007 for Baby Boomers with hepatitis C.  A high percentage (45%-85%) of people with hepatitis C don’t know that they are infected.

 

 

One-time testing of those born from 1945-1965 is estimated to identify 800,000 infections and with linkage to care and treatment avert more than 120,000 HCV-related deaths.  This strategy is estimated to save $1.5-$7.1 billion in liver disease-related costs. Testing based solely on elevated ALT levels, which measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood, is estimated to miss 50% of chronic infections.  ALT is found mainly in the liver, but also in smaller amounts in the kidneys, heart, muscles, and pancreas.

 

 

New therapies, including interferon-free regimens, can halt disease progression, cure most infected with hepatitis, increase the effectiveness, and reduce the duration of therapy for many patients.  Those who are chronically infected require clinical preventive services which include regular medical monitoring, hepatitis A and B vaccinations, behavior changes like alcohol reduction/cessation, and achieving and maintaining a healthy BMI to improve their health outcomes.

Information is taken from the CDC Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection and HCV-Related Chronic Disease (MMWR 1998;47(RR19).

 

 

The CDC Know More Hepatitis website offers more information and help, including a new online Hepatitis Risk Assessment tool to help people determine their risk for viral hepatitis.  New funding will focus on groups that are disproportionately affected such as Asian-American Pacific Islander communities who have the highest rates of hepatitis B, injection drug users, and individuals born from 1945–1965. These efforts align with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, which was released in May 2011.  See more at http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2012/heptestingrecspressrelease2012.html “CDC Announces First Ever National Hepatitis Testing Day and Proposes that All Baby Boomers Be Tested Once for Hepatitis C”.

 

feet-in-bed

 

Don’t keep your head in the sand.  If you’re too embarrassed to go to you long-time family doctor for testing, go to the health department.  If your HIV test is positive, all 50 states require the testing site to report the results to your state health department so that public health officials can monitor what’s happening with the HIV epidemic in your city and because federal and state funding for HIV/AIDS services is often targeted to areas where the epidemic is strongest.  Your state health department will remove all of your personal information from your test results and send the information to the CDC.  They don’t share this information with anyone, including insurance companies.  However, many states and some cities have partner-notification laws.  This means that if you test positive for HIV, you or your healthcare provider may be legally obligated to tell your sex or needle-sharing partner(s). If you’re HIV-positive and don’t tell your partner(s), in some states, you can be charged with a crime.  Some health departments require healthcare providers to report the names of your sex and needle-sharing partners if they know that information even if you refuse to report it.  Some states also have a “duty to warn” law that requires clinic staff to notify a third party if they know they have a significant risk of exposure to HIV from a patient the staff member knows is infected.  The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program requires health departments receiving money from them to show “good faith” efforts to notify the marriage partners of a patient with HIV/AIDS.  The AIDS.gov website https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/your-legal-rights/legal-disclosure/ offers information on this and many other HIV/AIDS related issues.

 

 

Many states have regulations that require laboratories to report all anti-HCV positive results to local health departments. Although there are limitations to the use of anti-HCV positive laboratory reports to conduct surveillance for hepatitis C infections, these reports can provide information to state and local health departments so they can identify HCV-infected persons who need counseling and medical follow-up.  Also determining the frequency and characteristics of persons reported as anti-HCV-positive can describe who and where infected persons are being identified, help in developing minimum estimates of infection burden, identify gaps in current testing practices and direct and evaluate prevention activities.  See “Guidelines For Viral Hepatitis Surveillance And Case Management” at http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/surveillanceguidelines.htm.

 

 

This may disturb you, but don’t you owe it to your partners to let them know that they have been infected or at least give government agencies the information they need to get funding for education, prevention, and cures.  You can see by the statistics that you’re not alone and having HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C is often not your fault.  After all, wouldn’t you want someone to tell you?

 

Continue the adventure safely!

 

Linda Lea

STDs and the Single Baby Boomer

Do single Baby Boomers have a double standard, one for their children and grandchildren and another for themselves?  Do you tell them to practice safe sex and then get caught up in the moment or are too embarrassed or afraid of losing your partner to insist upon using a condom and getting tested for STDs.

 

 

A sexually transmitted disease (STD), also known as sexually transmitted infection (STI) and venereal disease (VD), is usually passed from one person to another through vaginal, anal or oral sex. This doesn’t mean sex is the only way STDs can be transmitted. Depending on the STD, and there are over 20, the infection may also be transmitted through shared needles, blood transfusions, non-sexual skin-to-skin contact, shared bedding or towels just to name a few.  Common STD symptoms include rashes, pain during sex or urination, abnormal discharge, sores, bumps, or blisters or may have no symptoms.  Some can lie dormant for years, according to the Mayo Clinic, and symptoms are so common many people have no idea they’re infected. They may pass it on to partners without knowing it and may suffer internal damage while the STD remains untreated.

 

skull

 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STDs such as untreated syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis, and Human Papilloma Virus can have severe consequences. Even common diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause problems if undiagnosed for long periods of time.  STDs can cause infertility, certain types of cancer, serious whole-body illness and death.  For more information on this go to the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Learning Center at http://healthtools.aarp.org/learning-center/featured/sexually-transmitted-diseases?lcStart=1.

 

 

Eric Nagourney writing in the New York Times asked the question “Why Are Boomers Getting S.T.D.s?”, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/booming/baby-boomers-at-risk-for-sexually-transmitted-disease.html?_r=1.  He reported that in 2012 in the medical journal Student BMJ, researchers noted a rise in the number of adults over 50 seeking treatment for STDs including the virus that causes AIDS.  In 2011, the most recent numbers available, the CDC identified in people 45-64 years of age over 12,000 cases of gonorrhea, about 2,600 cases of syphilis and more than 22,000 cases of chlamydia.

'I know you're having a virtual affair - the computer's got a sexually transmitted virus'

All Baby boomers need to be aware of physical changes that may increase the risk of infection.  As women age, the Student BMJ researchers noted, the lining of the vagina thins, vaginal pH changes and there can be less lubrication so tiny abrasions which cause entry points for viruses are more likely.  Age tends to make people more susceptible to disease since our immune systems weaken.  Other aging-related health issues which can complicate matters are heart disease, liver damage or diabetes said Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S in his 2014 article for Psychology Today, “Baby Boomers Gone Wild! Seniors and STDs: Why are the numbers of STDs skyrocketing in seniors?” at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-and-sex-in-the-digital-age/201403/baby-boomers-gone-wild-seniors-and-stds. Since STDs often go untreated, the odds of passing them along to another unsuspecting soul increase.  Add to this that the body is quietly fighting an STD so opportunistic infections can attack and/or worsen. Finally, when a single Baby Boomer visits their healthcare professional with possible age-typical aches and pains a test for STD is often not ordered even if the patient says they’re sexually active.  Most insurance and Medicare offer free STD screenings and low-cost treatment, but only about 5% of those eligible chose to utilize it.

 

29-seniors-stds-front

 

STD rates are rising for seniors in the US and the UK.  This increase is more prevalent in areas with retirement communities.  For example, Arizona’s Pima and Maricopa counties, reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia rose 87% from 2005 to 2009 for ages 55 and older.  Central Florida saw a 71% increase during that time and South Florida a 60% rise.  It’s doubtful this number has decreased since publicity warning people of the dangers hasn’t increased.  The frat house and swinging single set have gone back to their old habits, but now since pregnancy isn’t an issue they forget about practicing safe sex.

 

sex-chart

 

With the availability of Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Hormone Replacement for women, there’s no reason why single Baby Boomers can’t enjoy sex for many years.  After all, there are many benefits to sex besides the obvious.  In “Baby Boomers, Sex and STDs”, Dr. Sharon Orrange MD at https://www.sharecare.com/health/sex-and-relationships/article/sexually-transmitted-diseases-and-baby-boomers writes, “Sex can help relieve stress, boosts immunity, releases the brain’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, increases self-esteem and, let’s face it, can just plain feel good. In men, it also improves prostate health.”  Seventy-one percent of men and over 50% of women report being sexually active.  If you’re in this group, more power to you, but remember to be safe.  Men often assert their preferences in the bedroom and want to forego condoms.  Condoms are still the best line of defense for preventing STDs.  You also need to go on the offense and tell your partner that you both need to be tested.  It may not be the perfect date, but you could go together to get the tests.   You shouldn’t have to be reminded that if your partner and you aren’t monogamous no amount of testing will protect you.  Educate not just your children and grandchildren, but your same age friends about the repercussions of their risky behavior.

 

condom1

 

In my next blog, I’ll tackle two of the most dangerous STDs, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.  They’re often not considered by our generation as a threat, but they can have devastating consequences and are more prevalent than we like to think.

Continue the adventure safely!

 

Linda Lea

 

Single Boomer Men Want to Know: Where Are All the “Good” Women?

At some time in their life most female Baby Boomers have asked the question-Where  are all the “good” men?  We came up with the answer, they’re either married or gay.  There may have been some truth there, but as we aged we realized our idea of the ideal man was unrealistic.  Most men aren’t the Prince Charming we read about in fairy tales, but there are some wonderful ones out there.  Men have asked the same question about women in their youth.  Even though they may have wanted a Victoria’s Secret Model, they found those models didn’t want to marry them, but the girl next door did.  Now about 50% of those marriages and a greater percentage of second marriages have ended due divorce or their spouses have died and they’re looking for another mate.  They find single Baby Boomer women or the often preferred, younger woman, isn’t interested in having a relationship with them.

 

 

If you read any of my previous blogs about dating, you know I put my profile on a couple of dating sites.  After the initial rush of catfish, married men, and men who may have been very nice, but not of interest to me, the emails stopped.  I forgot about closing my account and then a few weeks ago a man contacted me asking if I would write back since his response rate was “abysmal”.  From his profile and pictures, he seemed like an intelligent, self-sufficient, financially independent, and good looking man.  There was a problem, though.  He was separated, not single.  He wrote that his soon-to-be-ex-wife lived in a distant state and he wanted a relationship, but would be happy to have a dance partner until that happened.  It was a sweet offer and many women my age would’ve jumped at it, but there are those who don’t want to get into a new relationship for a variety of reasons.  Here are the ones I’ve found to be most common.

  1. They don’t want a man to tell them what to do. This could be in everyday life when it comes to family, household, financial, travel, or any other common decisions where a couple needs to be in agreement.  Single Baby Boomer women have often been alone for several years and are used to making decisions based on their wants and needs and don’t want to go back to asking permission or even take someone else’s wishes into account.  Men may think that’s selfish, but mature women are now ready to put themselves first.

 

  1. Single Baby Boomer women don’t want to take care of an old man.  They may not be spring chickens either, but the majority of women outlive men and they’ve either lived or seen the future of caring for a man who can no longer do or even want to do the things they enjoyed when they were younger.  They don’t want to be responsible for anyone else, even a pet.

 

  1. They’re not financially dependent on men. They’ve our own savings, pensions, and investments.

 

  1. They don’t have time.  Friends, family, work, and other activities fill up their days.  The time they have left is often enjoyed in their peaceful home retreat where they can recharge their batteries.

 

  1. Sixteen million Boomers, more than 25 percent of men and women are single, so there are many singles with whom they can spend their time in pursuit of their interests.

 

  1. Mature women don’t want to take the chance a man will complicate their life with their family, especially their children. If they brought a man into their lives when their children were young, they learned this lesson already.

 

  1. Both single Boomer women and men have had their hearts broken, but women usually take longer to heal or don’t want to take the chance it could happen again. Men move on more quickly after a spouse’s death or a divorce.

 

These reasons may sound harsh and insensitive, but most older ladies enjoy the company of a man if it’s on their terms.  They appreciate their companionship and advice on many matters, but don’t feel the pressure to marry like they did in their youth.  They’ve earned this freedom and now relish it.

 

single baby boomer women

 

So what’s man to do?  Yes, there are still “good” single women looking for “good” single men, but with age has come the wisdom to spot the red flags.  A major flag goes up if the man is still married, even if he’s separated from his wife. Although, women know even divorced men go back to their wives, they want them to be divorced for an extended period of time before they start dating them.  Likewise, if he’s a recent widower, he needs to have time to grieve.

 

On The Patricia Raskin Show on The Voice America Channel, the host interviewed Barbara Kennedy author of “Baby Boomer Men Looking for Love – The Last Dance” who said most relationship books are written by men for women not by women for men.  During the interview she shared the following information from her book:

  • Men know within 15 seconds upon meeting a woman if there’s any possibility a relationship may work.  If they want it to work she advises men to be clear if they just want to date or are interested in a long-term relationship.  Then they should believe what women say and do.  If she says she doesn’t want a long-term relationship, believe her.

 

  • More males lie about their age on the internet than females.  Women want authenticity and honesty.

 

  • Men need to do the work on themselves physically, personally, and emotionally before they look for that “good “woman.  Today’s mature ladies want healthy men with good grooming who dress well.

 

  • Men are looking for happiness and peace, just like women.  They need to get over past grudges and hurts, so they don’t respond negatively if a new woman pushes that button without knowing about it.

 

  • Kennedy also warns not to try to fix her.   She isn’t your dead or ex-wife.  Embrace her differences and forget how other women in your life did things.

 

  • She advises to “Cast a wider net and be available.” Single Boomer men should talk to women who aren’t married while waiting in line at airports, at clubs, the gym, church etc.

 

  • Barbara also suggests that men make a list of the attributes they want in a “good” match and cross off what they can get along without.

 

  • She recommends cyber researching women before a date to see if they’re married.

 

  • According to her, “Intercourse without intimacy is dead sex.”  Both parties need to agree upon a pace that fit their mutual needs.  She feels that empty sex is more painful for women than men.  Single female Boomers have changed since the 70s and are more reserved and concerned about safety.

 

In a Huffington Post article “Baby Boomer Men Are Desperate for Single Women! Below… The Secret Your Dr. Won’t Tell You!!”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kanegis/dating-after-50_b_4692525.html,  the author David Kanegis says, “As a male Baby Boomer I’m looking for vitality, vivaciousness, excitement and a certain joie de vivre that so often disappears as we get older…Do we want a woman to be attractive? Of course.  Don’t you want a man to be attractive? However, attractive is a relative term. I’m not going to be disingenuous and say that a chemical reaction isn’t important. It is! But remember, chemical reactions come in all styles, shapes and sizes.  Furthermore, I believe that just because we age, we don’t lose the longings of our youth.”

He says he has a secret magic potion for his “good” woman and here it is.

“Ingredients:

1 cup caring

1/2 cup sharing personal news, trials and tribulations. (Let’s face it; guys usually aren’t as communicative or chatty as gals. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.)

1 1/2 cup intellectual curiosity

2 cups scintillating conversation

0 cups kvetching- (please check dictionary if term is unfamiliar)

1 cup pampering

1 cup humor

1/3 cup dark chocolate (This is for you since I see it listed in every woman’s singles ad.)

1 cup exercise

Willingness to watch reruns of The Three Stooges and The A – Team

Removal of opera and sarcasm from your vocabulary

Learning the difference between a home run, a soccer goal and a touchdown

Directions:  Take all ingredients, add some of your own and feel free to delete any of those listed. Mix together in any order and then: Be Yourself!  Feel free to change quantities or substitute ingredients at your discretion. It’s your life!”

 

 

If you’re a single male Baby Boomer, maybe you have the answer so please share.  Single female Boomers may also want to add their ideas.  The law of attraction may have different bylaws as we age, but if both sexes want the same thing they’re more likely to find the person with whom they can spend time or the rest of their lives.  The old saying about kissing a lot of frogs may still apply, so men don’t give up.  Your princess may be out there, just don’t plan on her looking like a Victoria’s Secret Model or a being a willing housewife anymore.  She may have spread her wings for a long time and doesn’t want to give up her freedom.

 

Continue the adventure!

 

Linda Lea

Single Baby Boomers Protect Yourself-Part 2

Photo credit: University of Denver via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Even though statistics show that as we age the possibility of being a victim of most violent crime decreases, we can still be the object of certain types of crimes that can injure us short-term or for the rest of our lives.  I always say that the most valuable thing in my house is me, so I make sure that I’m prepared for most threats.  I offer these suggestions gleaned from multiple sources, a self-defense class, and my own experience.

 

 

As an educator,  I was trained how to safely control students who became violent at school.  The instructor told me I’d never use the techniques, because of my short stature.  That was a way to protect the student, other students, and myself from harm.  It wasn’t meant to be used to keep me safe in the outside world.  Out there I can use whatever I’ve available to fend off an attacker and that’s what I plan to do.  To this point, I’ve never had to, but I want to be prepared.  I know my keys can be a great weapon if used to jab at a vulnerable part of the body.  Attached to my keys, I now have a cat face with sharp ears made from an extra strength plastic that would do even more damage.  I also have pepper spray that was advertised to be as strong as that used by law enforcement.  I’ve yet to try it out, but I keep it in my car and can attach it to my keys.  One thing to note about pepper spray is that it doesn’t work as well if it’s old.  It must have shot out away from my grandson’s hand  and face when he used it years ago without my permission.  When I tried the spray a few days ago, it dripped on my hand and caused a minor burn.  In a shooting for distance contest, it would’ve come in last.  The directions instructed me to release the spray away from my face, which should be a no brainer, but in the heat of battle or on a windy day, it could happen.  When your adrenaline starts pumping, all bets are off on how you’ll react.  Sandra Bullock’s movie, “Miss Congeniality” gave all of us valuable tips when as her talent she used the “S.I.N.G. Method” to disable her partner- Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNJwxJXr2jc.  There are other delicate body parts you can strike.  Larry Jordan, author of “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Nasty Fighting Techniques for Any Self-Defense Situation”,  who’s a former member of the U.S. Army Rangers and Special Forces and a master-level martial arts instructor recommends other vital targets, including the top center of the skull, eyes, temples, ears, windpipe, knees, base of the skull, and spine.

 

 

In order to be able to accomplish this, you need to be physically fit.  Even if you’re a young Baby Boomer, lack of exercise or physical impairments can hamper this, so both cardiovascular and strength training is essential.  In an earlier blog, https://singleboomerlife.com/2015/11/exercise-can-help-you-age-gracefully, I addressed this.  The take away is, you need to do whatever your fitness level allows.  Any kind of physical exercise is helpful, even if it’s just walking, chair exercises or lifting small weights.  I took a class at the local college on self-defense with women of all ages and saw that some older women were afraid to even try to stop an attacker, because they were worried about hurting themselves.  The instructor wasn’t encouraging them to do anything that would injure them, but they seemed so timid.  I wondered if they’re aware of what could happen to them.  A friend of mine told of a 73-year-old woman who was repeatedly molested in her own home.  Just because we aren’t the nubile beauties we used to be, it doesn’t mean we couldn’t be raped.  Remember rape is about power, not sex.  In this case the young men were after money from their family store.  They’d studied her husband’s and her routine and knew they lived in a rural area without cell service.  After beating her husband, they went after her.  The husband was able to get a gun while their attention was focused on his wife and shoot at them.  When they tried to return fire, the gun’s trigger fell out and they fled.  The couple survived, but the fear and scars remain.  Now imagine you’re a single living alone.  No one would be around to come to your aid and instead of only physical and sexual abuse, you’re dead.  Now you realize that at any age you need to be cautious, prepared, and armed with the tools you need to fight back or get away.

 

 

If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Don’t look down at your phone or use headphones when walking.  You won’t hear or see anyone threatening near you.  Be present in the moment and show you can be assertive and handle yourself.  If your eyes are down and you’re shoulders are slumped, you look vulnerable.  Make eye contact so they know you see them and then look confident.  I often smile at everyone.  I figure who’s going to attack someone who looks like their beloved grandmother?  If you have an uneasy feeling in an elevator, leave.  You’ll have more room to escape.  This is of vital importance if you’re alone.

 

 

In the past few years youths have discovered a type of hit and run assault called “The Knockout Game”.  It’s a random act of violence in which teens push over an unsuspecting victim on a dare or as part of a gang ritual.  It happens all over the world and has resulted in serious injuries and death.  See http://www.today.com/news/knockout-game-teens-attack-innocent-people-just-fun-2D11648773/ .  The perpetrators run away after the crime and have even been known to film it to post online.  Remember, avoid dark places, alleys, parking lots, and stair wells, and always be conscious of your surroundings.

 

 

If you’ve the choice to flee rather than fight, you may want to take it.  Always be aware of your flight options no matter where you are.  Know the layout and the location of all the light switches in your home and work place.  Whether you’re walking in your hometown or an unfamiliar city, keep in mind where you can run to escape, so you don’t head into a dead end.  Always run to a populated area to enlist the help of others.  Shout “Get Back” rather than screaming.  People equate yelling or screaming with excitement and fun.  If at all possible, don’t leave the attack area with the perpetrator.  You may get hurt, but you’re more likely to be heard or seen where there are people than if you’re driven to a remote area.

 

If you’re in the car:

  • keep your doors locked and don’t roll down the window for anyone.
  • Before getting in, look in the car and under it. An attacker could be waiting.
  • Make sure your car is in good working order and has enough gas to get to a populated area.
  • Avoid parking in isolated areas. If you’re uncomfortable, ask a store employee or security guard to escort you to your car.
  • If you’re being followed, drive to the nearest open business or other well-lit, crowded area. Use your cell phone, if you have one, to call the police.
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers or accept a ride from a stranger.

If you taking buses and subways:

  • Use well-lit, busy stops.
  • If you must get off at a little-used stop, try to arrange for someone to meet you.

In all threatening situations you’ve many choices to make in a brief period of time, so think about your security and escape plan ahead of time.

 

 

When I attended a Rape Aggression Defense, R.A.D., class at my local college, I learned some of the legal rights we all have if we’re in a threatening situation.  We’ve the right to defend ourselves with as much force as necessary to ensure our safety if we’re in danger of being assaulted or detained against  our will, but keep these things from the manual in mind.

  1. “The defensive actions must be required in order to extract oneself from the situation.
  2. The defensive actions and subsequent force being used must be objectively reasonable under the circumstances.
  3. An individual must be protecting themselves from imminent harm or injury, sexual assault, and /or unlawful detention and abduction.
  4. The force used in defense must be responding to ongoing or presently imminent threat.”

If you’re in the position to help others, remember the same rules as above apply if you try to defend them.  In many situations it might be better to call for police assistance and note the details of the attacker’s physical characteristics, vehicle, direction of travel, etc.  Your local and state laws may differ, so be sure to become familiar with them.  The class also gave us some hands-on techniques to escape assault situations.  If you take this class, you can take a refresher free of charge if you have the signed manual.

 

 

We may not want to admit we’re aging, but it’s inevitable.  Even if we don’t have debilitating physical conditions, we’re more likely than younger people or those in a relationship to be responsible for the care of older family and friends.   Elder abuse can take place at home by relatives or in a nursing home by professional caregivers.  It can take many forms such as, verbal abuse, physical harm, financial loss, sexual abuse or neglect by someone you trust.  Elder abuse is a crime.  If someone you know is being abused or if you need help, contact your local or State Adult Protective Services programs for help. Call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800- 677-1116 or visit http://www.eldercare.gov/  to find a program near you.  If needed, a lawyer can assist you in any legal action.  You can find a lawyer who specializes in elder law by contacting the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at https://www.naela.org/ .  If you can’t afford an attorney, ask about “pro bono” or reduced cost assistance.  For more information on how to protect yourself or others or for contact information, go to https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/crime-and-older-people#street/.   To become aware of what to watch for with those who can’t care for themselves, go to  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEutdrrp4XQ/ .  This is a YouTube video from The University of California TV titled “Forensic Markers of Elder Abuse” by Dr. Laura Mosqueda, Director of Geriatrics.  It’s meant for health care and social work professionals, but can be helpful to everyone.

 

 

There are many other ways you can protect yourself and others.  I’ll be posting them on my Facebook Page “Single Boomer Life” all week.  Please visit it and post your comments and suggestions there or on this website.

 

Continue the adventure safely!

 

Linda Lea

Catfish-Catch, Report, and Release

Catfish-Catch, Report, and Release

Are you catfish bait?

    I planned to be finished with writing about dating last week, but my online dating experiment netted me two more catfish.  Apparently, if you’re successful, intelligent, and self-sufficient, catfish catch your scent.  If you’re a Baby Boomer and seem lonely, you’re even more desirable.  Catfish seem to think that you’re not going to do a little investigation and figure out whose identity they’re using.  One of the catfish that contacted me had a well written profile, but the messages I got didn’t match the profile’s writing style.  Also, the photo he posted from his home in Hawaii looked like Magnum P.I. with a little more gray hair.  As soon as he thought that the hook was set, he asked for my personal email.  Red Flag!  I refused and blocked him.

 

The next one gave me more information including the street name and city where his surgical practice was located.  He also said he was Jewish.  After searching online with this limited amount of information, I found a likely candidate who’s an erectile dysfunction surgeon specializing in penial implants.  I responded telling him that I’d found his practice’s site on the internet, but wouldn’t give him my email, because I’d been the target of a catfish.  He answered saying that he didn’t want a complicated relationship.  When I blocked him, the online dating site asked why.  I told them that this was a well-known public figure and the grammar style in the profile and messages didn’t match his level of education.  I was happy to hear that they blocked him and took his profile off the site.  You can’t fool a retired educator.  Poor grammar is like finger nails on a chalkboard to teachers.

 

Have you had similar catfish experiences?   Dr. Phil aired an episode where both older and younger women spent the entire interview crying over the money they sent catfish.   According to Google, the MTV series “Catfish: The TV Show” follows the producers, Yaniv “Nev” Schulman and Max Joseph, of the 2010 documentary film “Catfish” around the country finding  couples who formed an online relationship, but never met in person.  Nev was the victim of a 40-year-old female catfish in the film.  You’d never think that an intelligent, good looking guy would fall for this scheme.  In 2012 Manti Te’o, who played for Notre Dame and now is a San Diego Charger linebacker, was also tricked into falling in love with a man pretending to be a woman online.  In an ongoing news story, he was very publically humiliated by a catfish.  No matter your social status, age, gender, or sexual preference, you can be a victim.

 

Thriving businesses exist in Ghana and other African countries where both men and women in internet cafes search for Americans, pretend to be successful heart throbs, and start relationships online.  Once you’re hooked, they ask for money to travel to the U.S. or take care of medical bills.  According to the Embassy of the United States-Accra-Ghana website, “The “419 scammer” is the type of catfish that you do not want to fall victim to.  To start, they are almost impossible to pinpoint to one person.  These scammers often work in groups, sharing ideas, photos, poems, identities, and even you, the victim.”  The other name for this fraud is the Advanced Fee Fraud (AFF) which is named after the section of the Nigerian penal code which addresses fraud schemes.  For years people have received emails or letters pleading for help in recovering multi-million dollar windfalls.  The victims are asked multiple times to send fees to process the transaction.  Forget about getting any or your money back.  It’s at the bottom of the lake with the bottom feeders.

The embassy advises that you should be on alert if:

  • You met a friend/fiancé online
  • You’ve never met face to face
  • Your correspondent professed love at warp speed
  • Your friend/fiancé is plagued with medical problems requiring loans from you
  • You’ve sent large sums for visas or plane tickets but the person cannot seem to make it out of Ghana
  • When your friend does try to leave the country, h/she is detained by immigration officials demanding payment or bribes
  • Your correspondent consistently uses lower case “i’s” and/or grammar not in-keeping with their supposed life station or education level

For more information on catfish and 419 scams contact http://ghana.usembassy.gov/  or report the scam on www.ic3.gov, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

 

When it comes to dating someone new, you have to decide either to fish or cut bait.  If you hook anything that looks or sounds like a catfish, my advice is to cut the line.

Continue your adventure safely.

Linda Lea

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on catfish and 419 scams contact Embassy of the United States-Accra-Ghana website http://ghana.usembassy.gov/  or report the scam on http://www.ic3.gov,  the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

 

Google bio on catfish the TV series

"What's Love Got To Do With It"

“What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

You must understand

Though the touch of your hand

Makes my pulse react

That it’s only the thrill

Of boy meeting girl

Opposites attract

It’s physical

Only logical

You must try to ignore

That it means more than that

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it

What’s love but a second hand emotion

What’s love got to do, got to do with it

Who needs a heart

When a heart can be broken

From the song recorded by Tina Turner and written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle

    Are you an infatuation junkie?  Could you be addicted to the exciting misery of falling in love, but not ready for the commitment of a long-term relationship?  Believe me, you’re not alone.  You fall in lust and then the thrill is gone.  This doesn’t just happen to the young.   Baby Boomers are susceptible and this could be the reason you’re a single.  Of course, this is not the only reason why we choose to go solo, but it’s an area to explore.

 

Deborah Blum, in “The Plunge of Pleasure: Like all roller-coaster rides, dopamine highs have their dangers” on https://www.psychologytoday.com/ reported, “If serotonin is the Zen-master among neurotransmitter, dopamine is Pollyanna, responsible for the highs of infatuation, new love, joy, self-confidence, and motivation. But like all roller-coaster rides, dopamine highs have their dangers.”  Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., said, “My prediction is that dopamine is an essential part of infatuation,” She scanned the brains of infatuated lovers searching for the dopamine drive that is associated with the rush of motivation, euphoria, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite.  Research into the body’s reaction to dopamine is a fascinating topic of study that has been the subject of much investigation.

 

Pharmaceutical companies, hoping to cash in on its effects, manufacture their own synthetic brands which are sold as the prescription drugs Wellbutrin, its generic form, bupropion and Zyban.  The first two are used to treat major depression, S.A.D., seasonal affective disorder, and in tandem with other drugs, other psychological conditions.   Zyban is prescribed for help with smoking cessation.  Knowing this may put your need for the thrill of infatuation into perspective.  These prescription drugs do have side effects, so can we equate this with the naturally created dopamine that the body produces when we’re infatuated.  If so, does infatuation have side effects?

 

Did you experience side effects the last time you thought you were hopelessly in love?  Most people like these feelings and enjoy the exhilarating sensation associated with falling in love.  After all, who wouldn’t appreciate these?  Almost everyone wants to lose weight, feel euphoric, and be more motivated.  Sleeplessness is less useful, but if you want to stay up half the night talking to your new sweetie then you might be grateful  for that too.  I find that I can get the same feelings when I’m getting ready to go on a long anticipated vacation even if I’m going alone.  If that’s the case, can we get this giddy sensation without fear of a devastating breakup?

 

“Dopamine, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” jokes George Koob, Ph.D., a professor of neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.  “Today’s gig is that dopamine is a kind of everyman’s neurotransmitter because it does everything. And the fact is, it doesn’t.”  Lasting love is more than having a special someone with whom to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  It has to be based on honesty, trust, mutual attraction, and all of the components that we expect in a lifetime relationship.  This type of commitment is difficult and not everyone wants it or is suited for this lifestyle.  You get some wonderful benefits from giving up your single status, but you also lose opportunities to make your own choices on things that matter to you most.  In the end only you can make that decision.

 

If you decide to search for the one and only person with whom you can happily spend the rest of your life, then I wish you the best for this Valentine’s Day.  If not, then you can watch “The Good Wife” with me.  That woman really can’t decide if she wants to be single or married, but the conflict is exciting if you’re just part of the audience and not a participant in the drama.

Spoiler Alert!  We should find out what she decides this year.  The series is ending and there are only 9 episodes left.

If you’re a football fan, I hope you had an exhilarating experience watching the Super Bowl.  If your team won, your dopamine receptors were probably working overtime.  Just watch out for the drop in levels if you have a partner and their team lost.  Studies have found that there’s a rise in domestic violence if you’re with a disappointed fan.

 

Continue your adventure!

Linda Lea

 

 

Dating Confessions of a Single Baby Boomer

Dating Confessions of a Single Baby Boomer

I’ve played the dating game and it’s truly a game of chance.  You don’t know which cards you’ll be dealt in the looks and personality department.  Although you might change some of those cards with diet, exercise and a good plastic surgeon and put yourself out there, there’s still that element of chance that you may or may not find your soulmate.  As we age, the game is more of a crap shoot, but there are winners.  I’m not a gambler.  I know I’m mixing games, but I do know that you have to decide whether to depend on chance or get out there and play the hand you’re dealt.

Thousands of literary pieces are available on the subject of dating if you decide to play the game.  I admit I haven’t read them all, but there’s generally a common thread.  I can recommend, ”Dating After 40: Create Your Ideal Relationship Kit” by Rosalind Sedacca, CCT & Amy Sherman, LMHC which includes the book, “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60!” plus a quiz, a journal, ebooks, and a coaching seminar.  You can also get a free ebook, “Smart Dating Advice for Women Over 40: Answers to Your Most-Asked Questions” at http://www.bummedoutboomer.com/, so you can get an idea if this publication is really for you.

However, that’s not exactly what I’m addressing today.  Here are my thoughts on how we handle what happens when a relationship goes wrong.  I feel that when you break up with a partner you experience the 5 stages as grief with a twist.  I’m using a male pronoun here, but this could apply to any gender.

  1. Denial-No one could leave someone as loving and caring as me. He’ll be back when he realizes what he lost.

 

  1. Anger-How can he be so stupid? I’m awesome.  Then thoughts of untraceable revenge plots start to form in my tortured mind.

 

  1. Bargaining- Sure we can still be friends. Maybe if I stick around long enough to listen to your problems you’ll realize what a mistake you made.

 

  1. Depression-What’s wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enough?  Why can’t I quit crying?

 

  1. Acceptance-He’s never coming back. I’ll get on with my life without him.  I need to cut off all contact.  (This isn’t possible if he’s the other parent of a minor child.)

Once you’ve completed the cycle, you’ll need to decide whether you want to date.  Taking a break from dating is a healthy idea or you may fall into the rebound pit and walk around with the walking wounded looking for someone to take the place of your lost love.  When you do pull yourself out of the mire here are some warning signs for people to avoid.  Remember, even though I’m using ‘he’, I’m referring to either a man or a woman.  Women are alleged to be the deadlier of the species.

Avoid dating candidates who are:

  • married, separated, divorced numerous times, recently divorced or widowed. The first 3 need no explanation and the second 2 need time to heal.

 

  • caretakers of children or their family members, unless you want to take on that responsibility too.

 

  • emotionally, mentally, or physically ill. Also, stay away from a person recovering from addictions.   You may think you can save or help him, but you can get in way over your head before you know it.

 

  • stalkers who know too much about you before the date. Looking you up on Facebook may be fine.  I suggest you do the same and check https://www.nsopw.gov/  to see if he’s a sex offender.  If he knows too much about your personal life, then don’t engage with him online or in any other way.

 

  • only willing to email or talk on the phone. In order to really get to know him you need to spend time together.  What you see on your screen or hear on the phone can give you a totally different picture of how the person acts or even looks in real life.  How many of you were shocked when you actually saw the person?  It’s all too common for an individual to post Photoshopped photos or one of him when he was younger.

 

  • living farther away than you want to go for a date. If he’s from another country, he’s probably thinking rich American and the possibility of citizenship.  If he’s not closer than you both care to drive, then how will you really get to know him?  Sometimes you can weed out the insincere by suggesting that he comes to your location, but not your home.  You usually never hear from him again.  Anyone on the internet could also be a catfish, “Someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”-definition taken from http://www.urbandictionary.com/.

 

  • tattooed with the name or face of a previous lover. They’re probably never going to get over that one and you can’t compete with a ghost.

 

  • much younger than you. Men fall for this more often than women, but everyone is susceptible.  After all, it’s flattering, but in the end he may want the parental figure he never had or a sugar daddy or mommy.

 

  • insisting you to come to his house or hotel room or wants to come to yours. This is really a no brainer.  You don’t want to be alone with a virtual stranger.  Pick a crowded location and make sure he doesn’t follow you home.  Likewise, if you meet someone on a trip remember that after you leave the romantic atmosphere of that foreign locale, the dream may be over for him.  Giving him an email address is probably the safest way to stay in contact unless he’s a hacker.

I ran an experiment with a supposedly free dating site.  After filling out an extremely short profile, I got a message in about 3 minutes from a man in another country.   I immediately blocked him.  The same day I received 3 other messages from men in the U.S..  During the next 5 days I got 6 more messages and 3 flirts.  Some were older than me and some younger.  Some said they wanted marriage and others were interested in sex.  Relocating wasn’t a problem for a few.  Most of their profiles were very short or nonexistent.  I’m not going to subscribe, but it was a thought-provoking test to see the type of man who responded and how many would reach out based on a Smartphone photo and very basic information.

Yes, I once was a hopeless romantic, but I’ve learned that I have to avoid unnecessary risks when dating.  I’ll save my risk-taking for the things on my Bucket List.  Finding your soulmate may be on yours, but be careful out there and guard your body and your heart.  They’re fragile and worth saving for the right person.

Continue your adventure!

Linda Lea