The Light of Looking Better

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Energy-efficient bulbs zap life from the everyday

"Looking better" does get our attention. But it's the lighting, stupid (not you), that can make or break our appearance. Only a few-including Rep. Michele Bachmann-protest the so-called energy efficients for making us, our clothes and furnishings look rather, well, lifeless.

To save lighting energy positively, sharply reduce the excess wattage that has so unhealthfully become the exorbitant norm. If fluorescents must sometimes be used, the warm white tubes and bulbs give off some life-giving rays. The cool whites take it away.

The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House redecorators recently installed obligatory banks and banks of the cool whites, which made the boomers and seniors gathered there look rather weary and wan. Ironically, we were there for expert information on how best to get older.

Don't get me wrong, kudos galore for these roundtable forums initiated by State Sen. Liz Krueger and her chief aide, Alice Fisher, in 2010. The information from various experts in the field of aging was just invaluable, and every official and wannabe should pick up this torch-pronto! For information about 2012's final forum in March, call 212-490-9535.

Now if only some 20/20-visioned philanthropists would fund the replacement of those cool white tubes with warm whites, this wonderful old neighborhood house would instantly become aesthetically neighborly. That white blight should be banned. Incidentally, white walls also accent the negative, unlike friendly, flattering, warm earth tones. Yup, all of this will make us look better.

Back to the recent roundtable forum called "Planning Ahead: Boomers and Seniors Living in the 21st Century," where thirtysomething Council Member Jessica Lappin dropped by.

Now, Lappin heads the City Council's Committee on Aging and hopes to be the Manhattan borough president. I wished she'd stayed longer and spoken about lifelong family importance. If only she'd repeated her tweet this paper's editor found fit to print: "Really miss my boys today. First day back after a long weekend is always hard."

Ah, mama Jessica, now think of the boomer and senior women and men whose sons and daughters are almost always away. Even some mental health professionals tell them, "Just be glad they see or call you at all." So join my Families Forever movement, Jessica, where the generations stay vitally connected-forever.

Incidentally, do go and see The Iron Lady. It shows how difficult elderhood can be, even for world-renowned and financially secure people like Margaret Thatcher (Brooke Astor was not immune, either). And be most aware of how Thatcher's Africa-based son has little time for her, even now. Like most parents of adults (grandparents, elder aunts, uncles and cousins too), she doesn't protest this heartbreaking,socially acceptable indifference.

If ever a screenwriter deserved an Oscar, it's for The Iron Lady for bringing all-too-commonplace preventable elder life woes out of the closet.

And how we need films, lyrics and forums to overcome our age apartheid system, which undergirds so many of these miseries. It would help inordinately to have more celebs like Stephen Colbert-when his mother fell ill, his show did not go on! Bravo! And amen to Cardinal Dolan for not forgetting his mother since becoming the world's most likable priest.

Ah, but I do not forget the many mid- and late-life people without children: An intergenerational interdependent culture is one absolute must.

To be continued most surely.

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