Our Thoughts

From Serving Iowa Elders for Over 20 Years

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Coin Collecting: Part Five

Today we’re going to highlight a very special coin in the Iowa senior citizen’s collection – his Liberty Five Dollar Gold Coin. The value of these coins is very high for several reasons. First of all, the coin contains gold (almost a quarter of an ounce) which gives it a much higher value than coins made with less desirable material. Secondly, the $5 denomination of coin is no longer in circulation nor is it reproduced today. Similar to other posts, we haven’t taken any coins to an appraiser, but these coins are worth over $300 in most instances. Additionally, this coin is in very good condition whereas most of the $5 Liberty coins are worn down from circulation. These coins were circulated for 70 years, starting in 1839 and ending in 1908. The date on this coin is 1880.

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Coin Collecting: Part Four

Today we’re highlighting another special coin in the Iowa Senior Citizen’s collection, a Shield Nickel. The year on the nickel is 1872, which is printed on the reverse face side of the coin. The shield nickel is the first 5 cent coin to be called a “nickel” since it was made out of nickel and copper. 5 cent pieces before the shield nickel were called half-dimes and were made out of silver. For a complete history of the shield nickel, check out this article.


Collecting: Russian Submarine Clock

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The Iowa Senior Citizen also has this old Russian Submarine clock and we’re not exactly sure what its origin is. After doing some research we found out what the text on the face of the clock reads. The text on the top face reads КРАСНЫЙ ОКТЯбРЬ which translates to “Red October” and the bottom reads СдЕдАНО В СССР. This Translates to “Made in USSR”. If anybody knows any information about the clock, comment below!


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Remember those old Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland movies of the1930’s and 40’s? They solved their community problem by staging a “show.” They sang and danced into a happy, if improbable, ending. Quartet has a similar simple, feel-good, magical, happily-ever-after plot. Only with a geriatric twist.

The setting is stately retirement home in the English countryside needing an influx of funds for its survival. The residents are former operatic and classical musicians. The “harmonious” balance in relationships among the residents is disrupted by the arrival of a former opera diva, who has issues with her own aging and an ex-husband also residing there. Let’s get Diva to join our gala event so we can raise enough money to rescue our Victorian home. In the process, Diva learns her remaining life lessons.

My reaction to this film is unfairly sarcastic. If you are looking for a great story, you should pass this by. However, it is just the right film for a cold, rainy day and a cup of hot cocoa. The scenery is delightful and the pacing is measured and, for the most part, calm. Diva is played by Maggie Smith who can’t be on screen without riveting your attention. All the characters are very credible and enjoyable, particularly the flirtatious Irish tenor and Cissy, the occasionally disoriented. I loved the phrase: “Cissy’s gone walkabout.”

From a geriatric perspective, an important message is stated early in the film, when staff points out a fellow resident, a famous conductor, and Diva sniffs “I know who he was.” These characters have lost their identities as royalty in their field. As many work-focused retirees discover, work place identity fades. Retirement provides the opportunity to define oneself in more universal terms. The characters in Quartet conclude that they have no time left for regrets, quarrels, or competition. They learn to give of themselves and to enjoy each other in whatever time they have.Q

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An Introduction to Elder Concerns, L.C. Blogging Styles and Formats

As any reader will soon notice, Mary Alice and I (Pamela) have different opinions, writing styles, reading habits, and movie and television watching norms.  Our strengths and weaknesses are different and we feel that we work together and complement each other well.  Our likes and dislikes in the work environment are also very different.  All of these differences will show up as we begin to really put time and energy into this blog site.  Hopefully you as the reader will like seeing the differences between us and our unique perspectives on the world in which we live and how that impacts our lives as we grow older.  We enjoy working with each other and with the clients that we serve.  We also enjoy other activities in life and will share those enjoyments with you in these posts.  I also predict that you will be able to read about our disappointments in the services, systems, and opportunities available to seniors and how we hope that these negative aspects of being a senior can be changed for the better.  Stay tuned for our blogs as we hope to be informative, uplifting, and/or thought-provoking about life as a senior in Iowa.

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Elder Concerns, L.C. Presents elderinterests.wordpress.com

Elder Concerns, L.C. is a small, private, geriatric care agency located in Des Moines, IA which has provided master’s level social work case management of Iowa seniors for 20 years.  Elder Concerns, L.C. is owned an operated by a single individual, Mary Alice Butler, a master’s level licensed social worker who has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to making life better for Iowa seniors.  She also employs another master’s level social worker, Pamela Nelson-Grotrian who has worked with her approximately 16 years of the 20 years she has been operating Elder Concerns, L.C.

To celebrate our 20 years in business, we are attempting to utilize digital media to help seniors and their families navigate the myriad of needs, concerns, interests, and services that confront them for the first time in their lives.  Being a senior can be wonderful.  It can also, like any other life stage, be a bit overwhelming.  It is too bad that there is no road map to life’s questions.  We would all like to feel like we know where we are going throughout life.  But, needless to say, life is not that easily figured out.  Being an elder is the same as any other “stage” in life.  As you’ve never been there before, everything is new, nothing is familiar, and the choices either seem endless or appear as if you have entered a dead end street.  We at Elder Concerns, L.C. haven’t entered the stage of life called “elderly,” “senior,” or “aged” but we have traveled along the paths of some remarkable seniors in our 20 years of business serving the elderly and we would like to share our thoughts, feelings, knowledge, and insights with you.  We feel that we have much to share with today’s seniors, their friends, and their families and we hope that you, our readers, get some tidbit of knowledge or slice or wisdom (or just laugh at our screw-ups) from our experiences and opinions.

We are planning to have this blog contain many different types of articles.  We want to share concrete services that we know exist.  We want to share advice about searching for help and services for seniors.  We want to state that being a senior does not need to be all “concerns and worries” and as such will share ideas about activities and opportunities unique to elders.  We plan to share our favorite books and movies.  We plan to talk about opportunities for personal growth as a senior and how best to watch for scams of all types.  We are excited about this blog and hope that you become “interested” in elder topics and join us regularly.

We also want to say that this is our first time blogging online; that even as we are experienced working with seniors, this is the first time that we’ve ventured into web development.  We have a website that has remained static for years.  We plan to link this blog page to our website and begin to shape our website into something that reflects the current ability of computer media to talk about our business.  Thus, we hope that you forgive our technological blunders as we attempt to get our views to you.

For those interested in who we are and what our business is..our website is www.elderconcerns.com