A year after her daughter gave birth, Paula began writing about grandparenting for the Times. Her column, Generation Grandparent, appears four to six times a year. It has explored topics from digital grandparenting to the increasing numbers of grandparents per child and grandparents’ influx into delivery rooms.
We were standing in line at the ferry dock in Provincetown, Mass., on a glorious, crystalline day last summer that made saying goodbye a bit harder than usual.
“End of an era,” said my daughter Emma, bound home to Brooklyn after our annual summer stay in a rented house on the Outer Cape.
This is not what Ida Adams thought life would be like at 62.
She had planned to continue working as a housekeeper at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore until she turned 65. After retiring, she and her husband, Andre, also 62, thought they might travel a little — “get up and go whenever we felt like it.”
Since 2009, Paula has written the New Old Age, a column about aging and caregiving that appears twice monthly, online and in the print Science Times. It draws on research findings from major journals, interviews with expert sources and the experiences of elders themselves. The New Old Age has explored an array of topics pertinent to older adults: ageism, senior living options, health issues from alcohol abuse to vaccination, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, employment discrimination, the effects of COVID-19, end of life issues.
Susan Hartt describes herself as an incorrigible optimist, drawn to change and challenge. After a long, successful career in marketing and public relations, she had reason to feel financially confident in her older years.
But three years ago, a bank foreclosed on her modest house in Hamden, Conn. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious in my life,” she recalled.
Ms. Hartt, 79, had encountered a combination of adversities. After a late-life divorce she called “amicable and equitable,” she had no retirement plan; it had seemed unnecessary because her husband had a “substantial” 401(k). Successive jobs had grown less lucrative, and her freelance work dried up during the recession.
Kathy Koehler had made elaborate plans to meet her first grandchild. Her daughter, who was expecting a baby last March, lived in London, and Ms. Koehler intended to fly there from her home in Ann Arbor, Mich.
She had collected a small stash of blankets, toys and clothes to tuck into her suitcase, and reserved a bed-and-breakfast near her daughter’s flat for the month of April.
“I’d be there every day and help out and get to know this little guy,” said Ms. Koehler, who’s 63. “I could not wait.”
That trip never took place, of course. Nor did her daughter make a planned visit home in October to introduce her new son, Elya, to the rest of the family. Covid-19 intervened.