Last Week’s Links

Last Week's Links

Big Changes Coming to Medicare Part D Plans

AARP reports on the changes coming to Medicare drug plans as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: “The new law makes other changes to the program’s Part D drug benefits, including putting a limit on out-of-pocket payments for insulin and making vital vaccines free.”

Why a ‘silver gap year’ can be a golden opportunity, and how to start planning your own

Laura Martin describes the “silver” or “golden” gap year: “often an extended break as opposed to a full year. Nearly a quarter of retirees had taken a year to go travelling in their retirement or would consider doing so, according to 2019 research from retirement accommodation provider Inspired Villages.”

I’m Retiring. Shouldn’t I Be Celebrating?

Michèle Dawson Haber has been planning for years to retire from her job as a labor advocate before age 65. But now, at age 56, she has reached the moment:

I feel on the cusp of loss, despite being certain that this is what I want. Sure, I’ll miss the work and my colleagues, but the anxiety I feel is bigger than that. I know I need to stop moping and pirouette into my blessed new life, but first, I want to figure out what it is I’m losing.

She’s afraid retirement might mean the loss of purpose or the loss of youth. But observing her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, makes Laura realize that her retirement won’t mean the loss of self: “I don’t need to worry about holding onto youth, being productive, or staying relevant for others, because that has nothing to do with who I am.”

How America’s ageism hurts, shortens lives of elderly

The Harvard Gazette features an excerpt from the book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live by Harvard alumna Becca Levy. A social psychologist, Levy tested “the impact of cultural age stereotypes on the health and lives of older people”:

In study after study I conducted, I found that older people with more positive perceptions of aging performed better physically and cognitively than those with more negative perceptions; they were more likely to recover from severe disability, they remembered better, they walked faster, and they even lived longer.

She describes the purpose of her book this way: “In this book, I will show you how priming, or the activation of age stereotypes without awareness, works, what it says about the unconscious nature of our stereotypes, and how we can strengthen our ideas about aging.”

Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?

“Balance training is an important but often-neglected skill, one that impacts both our longevity and our quality of life, beginning around age 40,” writes Hilary Achauer in this article for the New York Times. She describes some exercises to improve balance.

Yoga versus democracy? What survey data says about spiritual Americans’ political behavior

According to Evan Stewart, assistant professor of sociology at UMass Boston, and Jaime Kucinskas, associate professor of sociology at Hamilton College:

Today – the rise of a politically potent religious right over the past 50 years notwithstanding – fewer Americans identify with formal religions. Gallup found that 47% of Americans reported church membership in 2020, down from 70% in the 1990s; nearly a quarter of Americans have no religious affiliation.

At the same time, “other kinds of meaningful practice” and new secular rituals are on the rise. These sociologists studied whether the new focus on mindfulness and self-care is making Americans more self-centered. Here they discuss their findings, which are published in the journal American Sociological Review.

E. Bryant Crutchfield, 85, Dies; Gave the World the Trapper Keeper

Few objects evoke Gen X or millennial childhood as powerfully as the Trapper Keeper, essentially a large binder for your folders. Mead, Mr. Crutchfield’s employer, introduced it nationally in 1981, and by the end of the decade the company estimated that half of all middle and high school students in the United States had one.

I never had one of these myself (although I did sort of covet one), but I bought a few for my child. I understand they’ve been reintroduced in this year’s crop of school supplies, in some sort of ’80s nostalgia movement.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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