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February 22, 2022


Hi there, 

Death is on my mind this week. Not only because of the subject of this week’s newsletter, but also because my best friend Lonnie just died in Arizona, thousands of miles away—too far to wish her goodbye in person. I’m an only child, and she’s as close to a sister as I ever had or will have. She is the first close friend I’ve lost, but I’m sure she won’t be the last. That’s the penalty for living a long life.

We met on the March to the Pentagon in 1967 and became instant BFFs. We spent our twenties and thirties leading a Sex and the City lifestyle in a Manhattan that was still inexpensive enough for a working girl to afford a decent apartment. We went clubbing, bar-hopping, and partying when we weren’t demonstrating against the Vietnam War or marching for equal rights. She was the kindest, smartest, funniest friend I ever had.

Lonnie and I were single and carefree in a way that young women with demanding careers no longer get to be today. We had boring jobs and, while waiting for a man to rescue us, were killing time in the most fabulous way possible in the most exciting city in the world. I will miss those days and that city and especially Lonnie as long as I live.

I’m Erica Manfred, Geezer Geek, Snarky Senior, and author of I’m Old so Why Aren’t I Wise? I moved to Florida alone in my trusty Ford Focus seven years ago from upstate New York and haven’t regretted it. I’ve always written about my life, and now that I’m old, aging and ageism are what I care about most. I’m writing this newsletter as part of the event platform Life Experienced. Each week, I’ll be exploring what matters to us later in life, from finding community to nuts-and-bolts stuff like figuring out our phones. I’ll also be interviewing inspiring seniors. Know someone we should feature? Email us at or join us on Facebook.  

How to talk to your grown kids about your death

Most articles about how to talk about death are directed at adult children who don’t know how to bring up the topic with their elderly parents. But it’s just as hard for those elderly parents to talk about death with their adult children who may be in denial. Neither generation really wants to face the reality that death is inevitable.

Bringing it up is crucial. Do your children know what your final wishes are? The financial side can be easier to discuss than the “pulling the plug” issue, which is a real hot-button topic. But your children need to know what kind of life-saving measures you want—or don’t want—when the time comes. If you don’t discuss it, you will be burdening them with an agonizing decision. They need to know how you want to die, as clearly and unequivocally as possible. There are living wills that spell out different scenarios and how you wish them handled.

But a living will may not be enough. My mother told me many times that she did not wish her life artificially extended. But then her kidneys failed while she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and, despite her living will, her doctor wanted to put her on dialysis. I’m glad I knew her wishes and refused the treatment, knowing she wouldn’t have wanted it. She died peacefully a few weeks later. 

Here are some ways to start the dialogue:

  • Watch a movie or TV show together that deals with the issue. This article suggests a few films that might jumpstart the conversation. Or read this inspiring book by surgeon Atul Gawande where he discusses the medicalization of death. 
  • Use The Conversation Project’s online starter kit. After her mother’s death, journalist Ellen Goodman founded The Conversation Project with the goal of making end-of-life discussions easier and more productive. 
  • Make sure you have a living will and health care proxy. If one of your children is your health care proxy, make sure they’re aware of this and have a copy of the document. If you have more than one child who wants the responsibility, discuss with them who will make decisions so they are on the same page. Siblings fighting over the final wishes of a parent on their deathbed is an ugly scenario that is to be avoided at all costs. 
  • If you don’t want to be resuscitated, include a DNR (do not resuscitate) order. Be aware that the medical establishment’s default is to save life, so your health care proxy may need to be assertive about your desire not to undergo heroic measures. Unless, of course, you DO want heroic measures. Make it clear either way.  
  • Visit your primary care doctor with the child who is your health care proxy. Here is some guidance on important documents they will need. It’s much preferable for your adult child to be familiar with your doctor and participate in any discussions about your end-of-life wishes together so there’s no misunderstanding when the time comes. Plus, your children should know who is in charge of your care.

Life Experienced exclusive events


Low-impact workout
Wednesday, February 23
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET

Get moving and grooving with exercise physiologist Velma Garnes. Velma will lead a 30-minute workout to get your heart rate up—without hurting your joints. With a warm-up, fun cardio session, and stretching, this workout is the perfect Wednesday pick-me-up for all fitness levels!



Easy chicken dinner
Thursday, February 24
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET

Join Valerie from Cranberry Walk and learn how to prepare an easy, healthy, and delicious weeknight chicken dinner. 


Missed an event? Watch the replays:

Dance fitness party
Quick and easy cooking


These exclusive events are brought to you by Life Experienced and are hosted by our ambassadors.

Partner spotlight

Bill and Linda Hamaker, certified laughter yoga master trainers and the founders of Let's Laugh Today, will show you tools for coping in these challenging times and teach you how to bring more laughter into your life and more life into your laughter! Laughter yoga combines guided laughter exercises with breathing exercises to bring more oxygen to the body's cells. Any age and any level of physical ability can do these simple exercises either seated or standing. Each playful laughter session will be different, but you will always feel GREAT afterwards! See for free events or email

What to watch

For a fun distraction from real life, I recommend Inventing Anna, which I binge-watched on Netflix. Everyone I know is talking about it. There is nothing more entertaining than watching the rich and powerful be taken in by a con artist—especially if she’s a mere slip of a girl with a weird German/Russian accent, an imperious manner, and a certainty that the world owes her a living. Anna Sorokin—then calling herself Anna Delvey—arrived in New York City in 2013 with the tall tale that she was a German heiress who was waiting for her trust fund dollars from daddy. In the meantime, she scammed a lot of rich and not-rich-but-merely-gullible people. Her antics became legendary when New York Magazine profiled her.

The series follows the reporter who wrote the story and became obsessed with Anna. Everyone overacts, and it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Surprisingly, most of it really happened. For all of the show’s faults—and there are many—Shonda Rhimes, the legendary producer, knows how to tell a tale that will get you hooked. 

Become a partner

Does your organization reach a community of older adults? Get in touch with us for information on amplifying your events and activities on the platform and expanding the Life Experienced service to your network. There is no cost to partnering. Get in touch with us here:

That’s it! Thanks for reading. And if you want to chime in with your two cents on what this newsletter should include, email us at

Until next time, 

Events are more fun with friends

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