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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Surveying the Senior Landscape with Lisa Stockdale

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Thank you for reading this blog and listening to Senior Agenda. A great deal of research and thought go into each post and program.  We are working to survey the senior landscape in an effort to provide you with relevant information and raise awareness about senior issues and concerns.  It is reassuring to know that you care.

In the coming days, I will be offering a weekly commentary called "Surveying the Senior Landscape with Lisa Stockdale."  In other words, I will be offering my opinion.  If there is a particular topic you would like to see discussed, please let me know.  My ears are always open.  I welcome your comments, criticisms and maybe even the occasional amen.  Stay tuned.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jimmie Sue Swilling's Miracle

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Every now and then we just need to be reminded that good people, places and things still exist.  We live in a troubled time where uncertainly, turmoil and violence seem to rule the day. Taking the high road is often seen as ineffective or self-defeating.  Operating in love is perceived as weakness.  If you take the time to listen, people assume you have nothing to say or contribute.  If you lift your voice as an advocate, folks characterize you as a trouble maker.  Listen to this episode of Senior Agenda to be encouraged.  Listen here.  Feel free to tell us what you think.  You can make a comment here or email us at  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Senior Scams Exposed and Professional Advice Offered

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Seniors are often targeted because they have resources, strong credit ratings, live alone and are generally too trusting. Types of scams discussed on Senior Agenda included the grandparent scam, the contractor scam, identity theft, sweepstakes scams, tax scams, money transfer scams and more. The panel of professionals included a representative from the Ohio Attorney General's Office and two detectives from the Columbus City Police Department.  They were able to provide a wide array of advice both in terms of how to avoid the scams and also what to do if you suspect you might be a target or victim.  

Listen to Senior Agenda - Scams against Seniors here.  To learn more about scams against seniors in general visit this Federal Bureau of Investigation website.

Members of the community including neighbors, church members and especially bank tellers were encouraged to get involved and report suspected scams against seniors to the authorities.  Seniors were encouraged to take action the minute they suspect something is amiss.  Call your local police department for more information and advice. Columbus City Police Department Detective Jacqueline Fofana directed residents of Columbus to call 614-645-2045.  

We are reminded of the familiar adage, "If it sounds to good to be true, it is."  

There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way - It Matters to Seniors

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One of my dearest friends lovingly calls me Jiminy Cricket. I couldn't be the beautiful Blue Fairy or even the cute puppet whose only desire is to be loved.  Nope - I have to be the munchkin green cricket with a big mouth and lots of unsolicited advice. Now that I think about it, I can see why she calls me Jiminy Cricket.  Anyway, today I am wishing that I could make the words of the song - When You Wish Upon a Star - sung by Jiminy in Walt Disney's Pinocchio truth.

When you wish upon a star.
Makes no difference who you are.
Anything your heart desires.
Will come to you.

Regrettably, I am wiser than Jiminy and I know that it does make a difference who you are.  In fact, all of the qualifiers that we use to identify ourselves like age, race, religion, gender, national origin, and so on make a difference. I also know that we cannot look to wishful, magical, mystical solutions as we seek peace, justice, understanding and truth.  It isn't enough to wish it so.  We have to work to make it so.  The work is taxing and can be unforgiving at times.  The really disenchanting realization is that not every one wants peace, justice, understanding or truth.  Some folks are easily pacified and others just don't care.  Still others seem to be in pursuit of oppositional concepts like war, injustice, confusion and deceit. And what is it that folks desire?  At the most fundamental level, I am guessing that we desire to be free and safe. But many are not free and most are not safe.  I am not feeling too much like Jiminy right about now.   

But wait, Jiminy also says the following: 

"There's two ways to do anything.  The right way and the wrong way.  If you want to be right, do things the right way.  Because if you do things the wrong way, that's the foolish way.  And only fools do the things the foolish way, which is the wrong way - right!"  

Right!!! There is a right and a wrong way. These days everyone wants to straddle the fence.  No one wants to say what is right or wrong because that is too much like right.  It is easier to pretend to be somewhere in the middle or to claim to be neutral. Besides, no one wants to risk offending anyone.  Even if someone is wrong. Now I am starting to sound like Jiminy Cricket - right! 

When your heart is in your dreams.
No request is too extreme.

My heart is in my dreams so let me tell you what I am wishing for today:  

  • To stop elder abuse, exploitation and neglect.  
  • To provide better healthcare and housing options for seniors.
  • To raise awareness and demand a cure for dementia and Alzheimer's. 
  • To honor and protect the elderly. 
  • To celebrate aging instead of practicing ageism.  
  • To stop scams against seniors and to catch and punish those who prey on seniors. 
  • To understand the aging process. 
  • To refuse to allow seniors to live in poverty - or be homeless.  
  • To listen to seniors and allow their voices to be heard.  
  • To stop Medicare and Medicaid fraud. 
  • To protect pensions and retirements funds.  
  • To make Medicare more transparent.  
  • To ensure that seniors get the same aggressive healthcare treatment as their younger counter-parts.   
These are my requests and I know they are not too extreme.  Please stand with us and work beside us as we drive Senior Agenda.  Get involved. Volunteer.  Make a difference.  Raise your voices.  Make demands of your politicians.  Donate your time and resources.  Be watchful and helpful and trustworthy.  Do right by our seniors and elderly.  Let our conscience be our guide.  It worked for Pinocchio.  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Million Miles and A Trillion Tears Later - A Kidney is Found

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For more than a year now, Larry Swilling has been walking the streets of South Carolina wearing a sandwich board sign indicating that he needed a kidney for his wife of 58 years - Jimmie Sue. Their story caught national attention and hundreds of people inquired about making a living kidney donation. Larry was interviewed on Senior Agenda and dozens of our own listeners and followers inquired about being the donor.  Time and again the would-be donors were disqualified. The number of potential donors seemed to be shrinking.  Larry believed anyway.   The family grew weary as they watched their parents struggle.  Larry believed anyway.  People made fun of Larry and called him unkind names and made disrespectful remarks as he walked the streets in search of a kidney.  He believed anyway.  Jimmie Sue's health continued to decline and the prospect of finding a kidney seemed to be getting more and more dismal.  Larry believed anyway.

Tomorrow in Charleston, Jimmie Sue Swilling will receive a kidney.  A kidney that it might seem Larry wished into existence, except we all know that what he did was to believe.  Don't ever underestimate the power of love.  Don't ever underestimate the power of faith.  Don't ever underestimate the power of God.  Please continue to pray that all goes well tomorrow.


Jimmie Sue is reportedly doing well following yesterday's surgery.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Larry Swilling Doesn't Need to Beg for a Kidney for his Wife Anymore

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This was our report in July:

Larry and Jimmie Sue Swilling of Anderson, South Carolina are hoping for a miracle and you can help. Jimmie Sue needs a kidney soon. We were able to speak with Larry on the air on 7/18/2013 and he reports that his wife is getting weaker and weaker.  They are looking for a healthy individual with a kidney to spare and type 0 + blood type.  Larry continues to work nine hour shifts in order to keep their medical insurance in place and to cover the more than $4000 in monthly medication cost. The operation for the donor will be covered by their insurance.  

We are committed to following this story until a donor is found and a donation is made.  Look at older posts to learn more about this family and facts about making a living donation.  Follow the link below to hear the most recent interview with Larry and learn how to get tested locally. Let's work together to keep love alive.  

Listen to the complete interview with Larry on Senior Agenda.

This is our report today: 

A donor has been found.  A match has been made.  Jimmie Sue Swilling is about to receive a new kidney.  I just got off the phone with Larry and the surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday - September 11, 2013.  The family is already in Charleston at the Medical Center and we will report more when we know it.  

Don't ever underestimate the power of prayer and faith.  We serve a mighty God and now we are asking you all to pray for yet another miracle.  Please pray that all goes well on Wednesday.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Winners of Senior Agenda's Grandparents Day Writing Contest Announced

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry and liked the contest.  Winners will be invited to participate in our first Senior Agenda of 2014 which will air live on January 9th at 10:00am on  Visa gift card prizes will be awarded at that time.  Please do not forget to honor your own grandparents today as we celebrate Nation Grandparents Day.  We believe the winning entries speak for themselves.  

1st Place goes to Angie Shroyer who wrote this:  

My grandmother, Evaline, is an absolute saint.  She would give anyone the clothes off her back if asked.  I enjoyed spending every summer with her as a child.  I remember her making each one of her grandchildren's birthdays special by throwing huge parties for each one...15 of us I believe.  She is top chef in my book, and will not let you leave her home without eating a 4 course meal. During difficult times growing up, she brought us through without question.  She helped me as I struggled working full time and being a new mom.  Every day she encouraged me, praised me and prayed with me.  She makes each one of her great grandchildren feel just as special and loved.  She is one of the most positive and uplifting people I have ever come across in my entire life.  She is most definitely my hero and I am so thankful to be her granddaughter.

2nd Place goes to Brenda Copeland who wrote this:  

We would spend a lot of time with my father's parents.  When I was 7, my dad passed away.  After that, my grandparents would come and get me and my brothers every weekend.  If it wasn't for them doing that we would not know my dad's side of the family.  I am truly blessed for the commitment they made.  We would have missed out on the loving, caring and huge family that we have.  My great-grandparents had 12 children, 26 grandchildren and countless great grandchildren and more.  I knew we had a big family, but everyone was so close.  We make it a point to get together in the summer and we have a huge Christmas gathering every year.  I am now 45 and my grandmother passed away in April.  I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with her before her passing. She was my biggest supporter and was my best friend all throughout my life.  I love you Grandmother Bonnie!!!

3rd Place goes to Colleen Miller Edge who wrote this:

My grandpa Maynard was the most amazing man I've ever known. He was silly, funny, kind. handsome, loving, smart, hard working, and just a wonderful person.  Growing up, we lived only a mile away from him and my grandma so I saw them almost every day.  My favorite memories with my grandpa are from traveling around the family farm on the back of my grandpa's 3-wheeler.  He used to tote me around as we drove to "China."  This was the area at the very back of their property and once we got to the back fence, he would describe how different it looked on the other side of the fence because China was so far away! Haha! He was just always so playful and always doing everything he could to show his love for his family.  It will be nine years this December since he passed away and I still miss him every single day. I can still hear his voice and would give almost anything to be able to see him just once more.  The topic of this contest is "Why I Love My Grandparents." I love my grandpa because he showed what unconditional, genuine love really was.  He was everything that a grandparent is supposed to be.  I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with him. 

Love Can Stand the Test of Time and So Can Janna Yeshanova

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These days folks are leaving Russia primarily for economic reasons, although more and more are growing weary at life under Vladimir Putin's rule.  Janna Yeshanova left due to the threat of Jewish persecution and violence against Soviet Jews following the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the late 1980's.  She chronicled her journey from Russia to the United States in her book Love Is Never Past Tense.  

Love Is Never Past Tense is a love story.  It is a love story that pivots on the emotions of a man and a woman, a mother and a daughter, a people and their motherland.   It is an emotional roller-coaster of young love, idealism, relations, political discord, exodus, reunion and true love.  It will break you heart, then warm it, then do it all over again.  The book is a work of fiction based on Janna's own experiences.  One cannot be sure where she took poetic license but something tells me there is more autobiography here than fiction. Everyone knows that real life makes for better intrigue and more depth anyway.  Love Is Never Past Tense has both.  It will leave you with a renewed hope that anything is possible.  It is available in both English and Russian. To learn more about the book or to purchase a copy visit this website.  You can also purchase a Kindle Edition for just $3.99 and read other reviews at Amazon. 

About the author... 

To learn more about author Janna Yeshanova, listen to Senior Agenda at on Oct 10th, 2013. During the interview, Janna comments on a variety of topics including the Jewish community as a global family, life and opportunity in America and the power of love.  

Janna is the founder and principal of Life-Spark, LLC.  Today Janna uses her life lessons and talent to help inspire and motivate others as a dynamic and powerful life coach.  She is a high-end organizational trainer, development professional and motivational speaker.  To learn more visit  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Homelessness Is Especially Brutal for Seniors

This video wasn't meant to highlight the fact that homelessness among seniors is on the rise in this country but it does.  It is difficult to guess the ages of the seniors depicted here because living on the streets and in shelters causes premature aging.  While we typically define seniors as 65+, in the context of homeless seniors we are talking about those ages 50+.  

Homelessness is an especially brutal proposition for our elders because they experience increased vulnerability and health risks. Can you imagine living on the streets or in a shelter and also suffering from age-related health conditions like incontinence, diabetes, severe arthritis, loss of balance, dementia or Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease, and vision or hearing impairment?  Can you imagine needing daily medications that you cannot afford, retain, or house?  

According to Dr. Tom Byrne, a research assistant professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, about 28% of all homeless adults were age 50 or older in 2011.  That is up from 23% in 2007.  The number is expected to continue to rise as the baby boomers age given the difficult economy and the effects of yesteryear's recession on retirements, pensions and savings.  

Solutions are multifaceted.  To learn more about long-term solutions, visit the Homelessness Resource Center.  To volunteer for the Good Neighbors Picnic in Columbus, Ohio on September 28th, click here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last Call for National Grandparent's Day Writing Contest - Deadline Sept 7th at Midnight

As you know, we celebrate seniors and we take every opportunity to encourage our followers and listeners to do the same.  So in honor of National Grandparents Day we are sponsoring a "Why I Love My Grandparents" writing contest.  Take a moment to write a paragraph about what makes one of your grandparents so special or memorable and post it on the blog or facebook.  The deadline for submission is September 7th at midnight and the winner will be announced on Grandparents Day - Sept 8th.  The 1st place winner will win a $75 Visa gift card and an invitation to be a guest on Senior Agenda.  2nd place will win a $50 Visa gift card and 3rd place will win a $25 Visa gift card

Entries will be judged based on content and sincerity. We have been having issues with the comments section of the blog but if you can post your paragraph below in the comments section that will be appreciated. You can also post your paragraph as a comment on facebook and we will see to it that all entries get consideration. You can also share the post on your own facebook.  Ask your children to participate and post on their behalves if they are too young for social media. Everyone is welcome to participate regardless of age. Let's work together and celebrate our grandparents.  

Grandparents play a unique role in the lives of their grandchildren. They generally represent stability in the face of hardship or change. They are instrumental in handing down habits of the heart and faith. They work as watchdogs and advocates.  They warm our hearts and spoil our souls.    

"Every time a child is born, a grandparent is born too."  

Click on the comments directly below to add your entry.  

WAR - What Is It Good for? Lessons from an ex-Marine Who Served.

Ed Kuehnle and his 23-year old son Eddie in the studio prior to their interview on Senior Agenda.

The same year Edwin Starr introduced us to "War" - the anti-Vietnam protest song that defined his career, Ed Kuehnle enlisted in the Marines out of a desire to serve his country and protect those threatened by communism. These days Ed and his son Eddie promote ideas in song that reflect many of the prevailing sentiments in Edwin's song from 1969.   They are also mindful to pay tribute to all of the men and women who have and continue to put their lives on the line for our country through military service.  

During the interview, Ed recalled his life-changing experiences in Vietnam with emphasis on notions of brotherhood, fear, weariness, guilt, and the compelling desire to return home.  He provided heart-warming details of his homecoming and then painful confessions of the years of struggle or aftermath that followed.  He also spoke of peace with the hope that it is achievable.  

His 23-year old son, Eddie had some insightful contributions of his own.  In fact, he offered words of kindness and wisdom that one might expect from a much older soul. He paid tribute to his father and spoke of lessons from his father including tolerance, respect, gratitude and, of course, an appreciation and love of music.  

Listen to the complete interview including performances of "Til the Last Shots Fired" and a rendition of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"  here.   

As we anxiously await decisions about the direction our country will be taking in response to the Syrian government's actions against their own people, this edition of Senior Agenda makes for thought-provoking discussion and reflection.  

Complete interview with Ed and Eddie Kuehnle on Senior Agenda.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Our First R Rated Post - The Fruitcake Lady

Senior Agenda's Pick for National Assisted Living Week - The Abbingtons

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The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) recently announced "Homemade Happiness" as the theme for the 2013 National Assisted Living Week which will be celebrated from September 8-14 this year. According to the NCAL, the theme celebrates "the bond created by staff, residents and families as they build warm, welcoming and vibrant homes for residents."  Visit the NCAL website to learn more.

With this theme in mind, we would like to recognize the Abbington Assisted Living communities in Powell, Pickerington, and Upper Arlington as Senior Agenda's pick for National Assisted Living week.  Visit their website to learn more.  These are small, single story, inviting communities with all inclusive pricing and most importantly - kind and caring staffs. They were recently approved for the Medicaid-waiver program which means they are now in position to provide homes for those who are and are not able to private pay.  They also pride themselves on specially tailored wellness programs which include falls prevention programs and more.

We interviewed key members within the organization recently on Senior Agenda including the Founder, President and an Activities Director.  Click here to hear that interview.