Q: I've always been proud of my hair, even as it started to turn gray with age. Other women always compliment me on how great it looks.
Now, I'm feeling like my healthy mane has abandoned me. My hair is thinner, and I'm self-conscious about it looking stringy or my scalp showing through.
What can I do to make it look better?
A: Learn how to care for your hair's changing needs.
Unfortunately, there's no definitive fix for hair loss. Although there are various medications and surgical options aimed to alleviate this problem, these solutions are often unreliable or undesirable — not to mention expensive!
To adjust for your new hair thickness, consider changing your style. Shorter hair is popular with many seniors, as it can look much healthier and require less maintenance.
Also reconsider your hair products and styling regimen. Moisturizing products will soothe your scalp and hair. Avoid damaging it with harsh chemicals and heat treatments.
Pay more attention to your diet and what you put into your body. Hair loss is closely associated with vitamin and protein deficiencies; eating a balanced diet will give you more control over your hair's health. A diet high in excess sodium has been found to lead to hair loss.
Although most people see their hair change with age, there are many other factors at play. Rule out other options with a diagnosis.
At your next medical checkup, ask your doctor about your overall health and the cause of your hair woes. Although hair loss is common with aging, your problems could also be due to a scalp or hormonal condition.
Additionally, ask about the side effects of any other medications you take. You can discuss your options with your doctor.
Avoid stress when possible, as it can also factor into your health on many different levels.
Work on the things you can change, work with the ones you can't. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Q: I love my grandchildren, but sometimes it feels like we're speaking completely different languages!
My granddaughter, in particular, uses a lot of words and slang I've never heard of and don't like. I don't understand half of the things she says.
What can I do?
A: Instead of chafing at the communication barrier, embrace change.
Through the ages, older generations have always loved to complain about the ways younger people are mutilating their language.
In a long history of complaints, we see people like Jonathan Swift, who lamented about the decline of English in 1712, say "that its daily Improvements are by no means in proportion to its daily Corruptions ... it offends against every Part of Grammar."
Other entities that have been accused of corrupting English include the Norman Conquest in 1066 (responsible for Latin etymologies of most of our academic words); the borrowing of words from other languages (like the word "language" itself); Shakespeare (coiner of words like "critic," "lackluster," and "lonely"); the printing press; and many more.
Language isn't static over time, and you have likely seen many changes in your own lifetime. For example, do you use the word "davenport" or "couch" for a certain piece of furniture?
Find a way to bridge the gap. The next time your granddaughter says something you don't understand, ask her about it!
Many younger people are eager for a chance to talk and be asked questions by their elders, making them feel like they can contribute to a conversation.
Afterward, you can impress your grandchildren with your newfound knowledge. They're very likely to find it hilarious.
Whenever you can, try to communicate with language that speaks to the person you're talking to. It's a great way to deepen your bonds. — Doug
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.